Picture of the Week 5 – Scare and Intimidate

Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo)Deutsch: Uhu

[View all Pictures of the Week 2012]

One of my favorite birds at Nashville Zoo is this Eurasian Eagle Owl.

His name is Archimedes. He is one of the education animals at the zoo and he appears regularly on stage as part of the education animal shows and in the zoo’s outreach programs.

In this picture Archimedes showed his full beauty in a defensive posture as he sighted a young Lynx cub near by.

For more owl images go to http://www.sperka.biz/eeowl.

About Eurasian Eagle Owls

The Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo) is a very large and powerful bird. It is often referred to as the world’s largest owl, although Blakiston’s Fish Owl is slightly heavier on average and the Great Grey Owl is slightly longer on average.

The Eagle Owl has a wingspan of 138–200 cm (55–79 in) and measures 58–75 cm (23–30 in) in heights. Females weigh 1.75-4.5 kg (3.9-10 lbs) and males weigh 1.5-3.2 kg (3.3-7 lbs). In comparison, the Great Horned Owl, roughly the Eagle Owl’s ecological equivalent in North America, weighs around 1.4 kg (3.1 lbs). The great size, ear tufts and orange eyes make this a distinctive species.

Eagle Owls are distributed sparsely through a wide range of habitats. They have been found in habitats as diverse as Northern coniferous forests to the edge of vast deserts. Rocky areas seem to be favored, with cliffs and mountains abutting woodland usually containing the largest numbers of these owls.

A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper – Invitation to the February Gallery Crawl

Many people think that the life of a zookeeper is pure bliss and that they are hugging animals all day.  Not quite 🙂

In this special event, during the Nashville First Saturday Gallery Crawl, Christian will show images documenting “A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper” to give some insights into animal care at Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.

In special presentations Connie Philipp – Director of Animal Collections at Nashville Zoo – will talk about the keepers and their work. Some of the Zookeepers featured in the pictures will be present at the event to answer your questions and talk about their days! (The presentations will be at 6:15pm, 7:00pm and 7:45pm at the Christian Sperka Photography Gallery). There will also be some special guests from Nashville Zoo – with feathers, fur and scales!

Invitation to the February Gallery Crawl

When: Saturday, February 4, 2012 from 6p.m. to 9p.m.
Where: Christian Sperka Photography / Animal Art Photography Gallery at the Arcade [Downtown Nashville in the block between Church and Union Streets and 4th and 5th Avenues]

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And the winners are …

Emily Helms, Keith Pruitt and Steve Brenner. Congratulations!

All winners will receive a 11″x14″ animal art print of their choice.

Not Camera Shy! – Picture of the Year 2011

184 people have voted and the clear winner (with 24 votes) is the picture of the week 23 (A Clouded Leopard cub at Nashville Zoo at Grassmere trying to touch a camera during a news media introduction – Title: Not Camera Shy!).

On second place is the picture of the week 49 (A Orangutan baby holding on to its mum – Title: Hold On! / 11 votes)

On third place is the picture of the week 35 (A Lioness cleaning her cub after a big giraffe meal – Title: Wash! / 10 votes)

Thanks to everyone who voted and helped selecting the picture of the year 2011.

The picture of the year image is available as a print (4″x6″ or 8″x10″) in the Nashville Zoo gift shop or online at www.sperka.biz/poty2011.

If you would like to review all pictures of the week 2011 got www.sperka.biz/potw2011.

For the pictures of the week 2012 go to www.sperka.biz/potw2012.

Picture of the Week 4 – Evening Patrol!

[View all Pictures of the Week 2012]

Leopards are my favorite species of cats!

Since 2002 I am supporting a leopard conservation project in South Africa. It is called the Munyawana Leopard Project.

This week’s picture is of one of the female project leopards walking the boundries of her territory at dusk.

If you like to know more about this project and the organisation which runs the project go to www.panthera.org/programs/leopard/munyawana-leopard-project.

If you like to see more of my pictures taken for the project go to www.sperka.biz/mlp.

For more leopard images from my various trips to southern Africa go to www.sperka.biz/leopard.

About Leopards:

The Leopard (Panthera pardus) is the smallest of the four “big cats” in the genus Panthera, the other three being the tiger, lion, and jaguar. It was once distributed across eastern and southern Asia and Africa, from Siberia to South Africa, but its range of distribution has decreased radically because of hunting and loss of habitat. It is now chiefly found in sub-Saharan Africa; there are also fragmented populations in the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, Indochina, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China. Because of its declining range and population, it is listed as a “Near Threatened” species on the IUCN Red List.

Compared to the other “big cats”, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. Both leopards and jaguars that are melanistic (completely black or very dark) are known as black panthers. The species’ success in the wild is in part due to its opportunistic hunting behavior, its adaptability to habitats, its ability to run at speeds approaching 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph), its unequaled ability to climb trees even when carrying a heavy carcass, and its notorious ability for stealth.

A Rare and Wild Guest at Nashville Zoo at Grassmere

I took these pictures yesterday around 11:45 a.m. at the Nashville Zoo, Tennessee, USA.

This Bold Eagle stayed for a short time near the Giraffe exhibit and then flew on in a westerly direction.

This was the first official sighting of a Bald Eagle at Nashville Zoo at Grassmere.

A beautiful and rare sighting in the midst of a city on a gloomy day.

If you wish to order a print of this image go to www.sperka.biz/baldeagle

Have a good weekend!


ONLY ONE DAY LEFT – Vote for your Picture of the Year 2011 and win an Art Print

PLEASE VOTE FOR THE PICTURE OF THE YEAR 2011 by sending an email to INFO@SPERKA.COM. Thanks you.

Select from  http://www.sperka.biz/potw2011.

Same procedure as last year 🙂 Please select your Picture of the Year 2011 from all my Pictures of the Week in 2011. You can review the pictures at http://www.sperka.biz/potw2011. Then either send me an email, a blog message or a facebook message with your choice of image.  The voting process is open until the end 20th of January 2012.

I will draw two winners from the group of people who voted for the winner image (with the most votes). I will also draw one winner from all people who voted regardless for which image. All three winners will get one Christian Sperka Art Print (11″x14″) with an image of their choice for free.


Green Hills News Today

Today a two page article about me and my work has been published in the Green Hills News and seven other local newspapers in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

If you would like to read the article go to pages 20 and 21 of the online version of the paper at http://www.gcanews.com/newsJan19_2012.pdf

The article was written by Brenda Batey, Social Editor for The News.

A Brave Frog

This small Dyeing Poison Arrow Frog ventured on to the head of the most venomous snake at Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. The Bushmaster (a venomous pit viper) was not disturbed by the extra weight on his head and the little one escaped unharmed 🙂 .

This picture was taken in the Unseen New World at Nashville Zoo at Grassmere , Tennessee, USA.

A Brave Frog – by Christian Sperka

Picture of the Week 3 – Determined!

This small Lion cub was playing very determinedly with the piece of wood.
The picture was taken at The Bronx Zoo in New York.

[View all Pictures of the Week 2012]

Determined by Christian Sperka

For more Lion pictures got to
www.sperka.biz/lion (for African Lion)
www.sperka.biz/lion2 (for African Lion in zoos)
www.sperka.biz/lion3 (for Asiatic Lion)

[If you would like to order a print of this images online click here] 

About lions:

Lions (Panthera leo) are one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera. With some males exceeding 250 kg (550 lb) in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger. Wild Lions currently exist in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia with an endangered remnant population in Gir Forest National Park in India, having disappeared from North Africa and Southwest Asia in historic times.

Lions are a vulnerable species, having seen large, possibly irreversible, population decline over the past two decades in its African range. Lion populations are untenable outside designated reserves and national parks. Although the cause of the decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are currently the greatest causes of concern. 

Lions live for ten to fourteen years in the wild, while in captivity they can live longer than twenty years. In the wild, males seldom live longer than ten years, as injuries sustained from fighting with rival males greatly reduce their longevity. Zoos are cooperating worldwide in breeding programs for the endangered Asiatic subspecies (See my pictures of the Asiatic Lions at the Zurich Zoo in Switzerland).

Lions at The Bronx Zoo in New York.

Picture of the Week 2 – View Point

Cheetahs are one of my favorite cats. In 2005 I had the opportunity to follow a Cheetah mom and her four cubs for three days. I got many beautiful shots from these days. This week’s picture was never published before. Enjoy it!

View Point – A Cheetah with her cubs resting on a termite hill looking for prey on Mziki Marsh – Phinda Private Game Reserve – South Africa.

For more Cheetah pictures got to www.sperka.biz/cheetah.

If you would like to order a print of this images online go to http://www.sperka.biz/potw2012/h2ba335ce#h2ba335ce

About Cheetahs:
The Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is a large-sized cat inhabiting most of Africa and parts of the Middle East.  It is the only cat with non-retractable claws (therefore cheetahs cannot climb vertical trees, although they are generally capable of reaching easily accessible branches). It achieves by far the fastest land speed of any living animal—up to 120 km/h (75 mph) in short bursts covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft), and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to over 100 km/h (62 mph) in three seconds.

The cheetah has unusually low genetic variability. It is thought that the species went through a prolonged period of inbreeding following a genetic bottleneck during the last ice age. The extinct genus Miracinonyx was extremely cheetah-like, but recent DNA analysis has shown that Miracinonyx (early to late Pleistocene epoch), found in North America and called the “North American cheetah” are not true cheetahs, instead being close relatives to the cougar.