Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kirk's Dik-Dik

There are four species of dik-dik, a small antelope found in Africa: (1) Gunther's; (2) Kirk's; (3) Silver; and (4) Salt's. We happened to see Kirk's dik-dik, which grows to a height of 14 to 18 inches at the shoulder and weighs up to 15 pounds. It has a reddish/brown head, a trunk-like snout, a head-crest that stands erect on its head, large eyes with a white eye-ring, large ears and a gray to brown coat, with tan flanks and legs and whitish underparts. A bare black spot below the inside corner of the eye contains a gland that produces a dark secretion which they use to scent-mark their territories. The male has horns that slant backwards and are sharply ridged. They have good eyesight and can run up to 26 mph. 
Side profile of Kirk's dik-dik. Photo by Mark Edwards.
A male with his two small horns.
White undersides and horns. Photo by John Mirau.
Good view of scent gland below eye,  trunk-like snout, standing hair on crest of head. Photo by Mark Edwards.
Standing hair on crest of head on a female. Photo by Mark Edwards.
Eye with white eye-ring and a different angle on the snout. Photo by Mark Edwards.
Kirk's dik-dik is found from southern Somalia to central Tanzania and Namibia to southwestern Angola. We got pictures of them in Buffalo Springs NR and Serengeti NP and may have seen them in other places. They were also found on the grounds of the Serena Serengeti Lodge where we saw them right near our little cabins. They were extremely quick and moved around almost like a rodent. 
On the grounds of the Serena Serengeti Lodge. Photo by Esmee Tooke.
Photo by Mark Edwards
Photo by Michael Lewin.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Grant's Zebra

My last post was on the Grevy's zebra, one of three species of zebra. The other two zebra species are the mountain zebra and the plains zebra. The plains zebra has a number of subspecies, one of which is the Grant's zebra, the other zebra we saw on our trip to Kenya and Tanzania. The Grant's zebra is the most populous of all zebras.
I believe this big group of zebras was in Serengeti NP. Photo by Michael Lewin. 
Another very different landscape: in Ngorongoro Crater. Photo by Judy.
In the Serengeti. 
In a burned area of the Serengeti.
Another area of the Serengeti.
Ngorongoro Crater. 
Serengeti NP.
The Grant's zebra has vertical stripes in front, horizontal stripes on the back legs, and diagonal stripes on the rump and hind flanks. Some of the northern Grant's zebras do not have a mane. They grow as tall as four feet, seven inches (presumably at the shoulder), about eight inches shorter than the Grevy's zebra, and weigh as much as 660 pounds, about 330 pounds less than the Grevy's zebra.
We heard them bray on a number of occasions. It seemed like a warning to others that we were near. 
Mother and child in Buffalo Springs, also an area that had Grevy's zebras. Photo by Steven Shuel.
Mother and child in Ngorongoro Crater. Photo by Mark Edwards.
Youngster in Lake Nakuru National Park. The brown stripes will turn black as it gets older. Photo by Mark Edwards.
A youngster trying to nurse in the Serengeti. 
Photo by Michael Lewin
Photo by Michael Lewin
Photo by Esmee Tooke
Some of the Grant's zebras do not have manes, like this one in Lake Nakuru NP. 
By the time we finished our trip we were pretty blase about zebras. We saw so many of them. But as I come home and look at pictures again, some of the excitement is rekindled. They were a lot of fun to watch. So I share some of my favorite zebra pictures.
The transition of stripes in the hindquarters is very different from the Grevy's zebra. The stripes are more diagonal on the hindquarters. Photo by Steven Shuel.
Mother and child with Coke's hartebeest in Nairobi NP.
Youngster with impalas in Lake Nakuru NP. 
Photo by John Mirau
Note the stripes continue on down the tail.
The stripes continue on to the belly. Photo by Esmee Tooke.
Photo by Mark Edwards

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Grevy's Zebra

There are three species of zebra: the Grevy's, the plains and the mountain zebra. The Grevy's zebra is endangered with an estimated 2,500 of them left in the wild and 600 in captivity. They are only found in small pockets of Ethiopia and Kenya, with most of them living in northern Kenya. We saw them in Buffalo Springs National Reserve and Shaba National Reserve. 
Grevy's zebras in either Buffalo Springs or Shaba NR. Photo by Michael Lewin.
Photo by Steven Shuel
Photo by Steven Shuel
It is the largest wild member of the horse family. It can get to over five feet high at the shoulder and weigh almost 1,000 pounds. It is more mule-like than the other two species of zebra. It has a large head, long, narrow, elongated nostril openings, ears that are large, rounded and conical and a short, thick neck. It has a tall, erect mane and stripes that are narrow and close (although broader at the neck), extending to the hooves. However, unlike the other zebra species, the stripes do not extend to the belly or the area around the base of the tail. Foals are born with brown and white striping and the brown stripes darken as they grow older. 
I love the striping on the face and the large, rounded ears. Photo by Esmee Tooke.
The stiff, erect mane contains the stripes and the stripes continue under the jaw. The stripes are wider on the neck. Photo by Mark Edwards.
An almost mohawk looking mane on the head. The stripes on the crown of the head look like they were done by a tattoo artist. Photo by John Mirau.
Small, closely spaced stripes on the leg and much large bandwidth on the chest. Photo by Mark Edwards.
The intersection of the torso with the legs has some fun striping. Photo by Esmee Tooke. 
Another look at the transition from vertical stripes on the torso to horizontal stripes on the back legs. The inside of the rump is white and the tail has some spots, but not extensive stripes. Photo by Judy.
The stripes do not continue to the belly, they just fade into oblivion. Photo by Judy.
A solid black line continues a good distance down the tail and white inside the thighs. A thick black line goes down the back with a good sized white margin on either side. Photo by Judy.
It was named by the English naturalist Emile Oustalet in 1882, after Jules Grevy, the president of France, who was given one by the government of Abyssinia, which is the historical name for Ethiopia.  
Photo by Mark Edwards
Photo by Steven Shuel. Note the Grant's gazelles in the background.
We actually saw herds with both Grevy's and plains zebras together although I don't have any good pictures of them. The Grevy's zebras were one of my favorite animals from the trip. I love their striping and their big ears.
We always loved when we could get multiple animals in a picture.  A desert warthog is in the background. Photo by Michael Lewin. 
Steven Shuel captures not only the desert warthog, but the Grant's gazelles.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Stinking Rose: A Garlic Restaurant - Beverly Hills

A number of years ago when we were in San Francisco, we walked by The Stinking Rose and it really caught my attention. A menu was posted in the window and everything about it just oozed garlicky goodness. I wanted to eat there in the worst way, but we'd already eaten Chinese (in China Town) and I had to pass. But I did pick up a menu to take home and stared in the window for a few minutes at some of the dishes being served. 

I recently discovered that there is a Stinking Rose in Beverly Hills. Judy has a great nose and she can always tell when I've eaten garlic. We'll get into bed and I'll hear her sniff and then, without a miss, she'll say, "You've had garlic haven't you?" Of course, she doesn't like the smell of garlic (although she likes to eat it), so I have to be careful how often I eat it. Judy was in Louisville doing AP grading over the Father's Day weekend, and Sam was in town, so I decided it would be fun for the two of us to get together with Andrew for lunch. I Googled "unusual restaurants" in Los Angeles and the Stinking Rose came up as an option. What a PERFECT time to eat garlic - Judy's out of town!

The boys were game so we arrived about 11:30 a.m. to avoid the lunch crowd. I'm happy we did because by the time we left quite a few people were waiting to be seated and the place was packed. 

We ordered the Bagna Calda, which is garlic cloves roasted in olive oil and butter, with a little bit of anchovy mixed in, served in an iron skillet. They suggest spreading the garlic on the house-baked garlic rolls. I've tried counting the cloves of garlic in my photo of it and there are probably 40 or more cloves. Unbelievable. But what was amazing is that it was very soft, smashed easily with a fork, and with a little added salt made a heavenly spread on the garlic rolls. All of the biting garlic taste had been removed. I slathered it on very thickly and had at least three rolls. This was the highlight of the meal and the reason I'm salivating right now thinking about it. I will go back just to have this again. 
Bagna Calda
Garlic rolls - wonderful with Bagna Calda on them.
We got a roasted garlic baked brie which was a brie in a skillet, warmed up and melted, with garlic cloves on top and thinly sliced, crusty bread on the side to spread it on. The garlic in this dish was not as well cooked and still had a little bit of crunch and and little bit of the garlic bite to it. It was okay, but I would not order it again.
Roasted garlic baked brie.
The boys wanted garlic fries. They were nice, but I would have liked them more garlicky. 
Garlic fries
I got the garlic roasted prime rib that came with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. I'd read on Yelp that sometimes the prime rib is a little over-cooked, so I asked for a rib eye, I'd seen recommended. They didn't have that, so I requested the rarest piece of prime rib in the kitchen and I was amazed when they brought me out the rares piece of prime rib I've ever had - and it was great, some of the best prime rib I've ever eaten. It was great with a littlle salt, but it came with some nice au jus and creamy horseradish sauce, and they were nice additions to it as well. I would go back for the prime rib. 
Rare garlic roasted prime rib
Yukon gold mashed potatoes and creamed spinach
Andrew got the large Sizzling Iron Skillet with mussels and shrimp. It included an amazing amount of food. All three of us helped him and we still were not able to eat all of the mussels. It came with some nice melted butter and had roasted crushed garlic sprinkled over it. This is another dish I would order again.
Shrimp and mussels with melted butter and garlic
Sam got a dry-aged New York steak with the same sides I had. I've decided I'm not a big dry-aged steak fan. I've had it several times now and it just doesn't do anything for me, but Sam enjoyed it. 
Poor picture of dry-aged New York steak.
Judy got back the next day and although she could smell some garlic on me, I was amazed it was not overpowering because I had just eaten by far more garlic at a sitting than I ever have before. So I'm encouraged that I can go back and try the Bagna Calda again. I'm looking forward to that day.