Deck the Halls!

DSC04237 Happy Holler Holidays to you! DSC04117 Frohlice Weihnachten~ DSC04125 Feliz Navidad~ DSC04232 Crăciun Fericit~ DSC04209 Joyeux Noel~ DSC03269 季節のご挨拶 DSC04189 हैप्पी छुट्टियाँ! DSC03228 Cheers & Seasons Greetings!
(Photos at the Ojai Valley Inn & Four Seasons Santa Barbara are intermixed)

California’s Wild Zebras & Elephant Kids~

DSC03899
What, you didn’t know California had wild Zebras? Well, don’t feel bad, neither did I, until I saw them grazing with the cows on the side of the road in Big Sur and nearly ran off the road!
DSC03884
Apparently William Randolph Hearst imported them long ago from Africa to roam around his castle with his cows.
DSC03897
It must have been good to be William Randolph Hearst.
DSC03788
These are definitely California elephant seal kids. They stole someone’s boogie board and there is no way they are giving it back! Probably ripped it off from some Southern California kid and boogied north on it. What, you didn’t know elephant seals boogie boarded? Don’t feel bad, neither did I.
DSC03843
Like many California kids, all they want to do is surf and sleep, and hang out at the beach.
DSC03671
This is exactly what I did when I was a California kid.
DSC03684
It’s good to be a Ellie kid!
Thank you for your patience with my elephant seal photos, this is the last of them! Cheers to you from Caly’s Zebras & Ellie Kids~

What to Expect When an Ellie’s Expecting~

DSC03627
Well, there can be some irritability.
DSC03501
This is what she is normally like.
DSC03785
But mood issues are not unexpected when she’s expecting.
DSC03777
She needs a break though, when she yells at the kids.
DSC03570
The guys don’t get they need to let her sleep.
DSC03754
She’s even testy with her female friends.
DSC03759
Jim was cautious with these hordes of attitudinal pregnant mamas.
I felt right at home. ;)
Cheers to you from the glorious, if occasionally moody, nothern elephant seals

Big Bulls: Big Battles (Ellie Families Pt. 1 of 3)

DSC03707
It must be good to be an elephant seal bull…..
DSC03816
weigh 5000 pounds,
DSC03820
own beach front property,
DSC03753
and have a harem.
DSC03705
Then again, maybe not so good,
DSC03841
you can’t win every battle,
DSC03592
and losing looks too painful!
DSC03694
It must be tough to be a bull….
DSC03803
and sometimes quite discouraging….
Cheers to you from the extraordinary elephant seal bulls at Big Sur California~

Caly’s Ellie’s~

DSC03797
Juvenile northern elephant seal Big Sur California. This little guy seemed happy to see me and vocalized and spun around, watched me and entertained the heck out me. Of course I fell head over heels for these guys.
DSC03702
Male northern elephant seal in full battle call. Their trumpeting battle calls can be heard from far away.
Heavy hunting reduced northern elephant seal populations to a worldwide low of less than fifty. Protection implemented by the US and Mexico have restored current populations to approximately 175,000. Although most northern elephant seals mate and give birth on offshore islands, 20,000 return annually to the Big Sur area on California’s coast.
DSC03647
In December mating season male’s battle violently for control of beaches and females, and gather harems.
DSC03652
Their battles definitely grab your attention and take place both on land and in the water.
DSC03665
Males weigh up to 5000 pounds and are up to 15 feet long.
DSC03851
The juveniles are adorable and curious little guys.
DSC03809
Mating agression is not the norm. Elephant seals are usually mellow creatures.
DSC03758
Please stay tuned for more photos of these remarkable colonies of fascinating animals that were nearly poached to extinction.
Cheers to you from the Caly’s magnificent ellies~

“Road Trippin……”

DSC03295 (1)
“with my favorite ally” up the central California coast. Lyrics: Anythony Kiedis
DSC03299
We are taking a short 4 day road trip to check out some of the few places where Northern elephant seals mate, fight and give birth in the US, on the central California coast about a 7 hour drive from The Holler.
DSC03233
On the way we stopped for the night in Ojai at a Hacienda Hotel built in the 1920’s.
DSC03217
It is a Wallace Neff paradise for people who enjoy Hacienda architecture.
DSC03252
The Christmas ligths make for an especially lovely scene.
DSC03277
We are now in Cambria California, on the southern edge of Big Sur.
DSC03403
Today we are searching elephant seals.
DSC03367
Gray whales are also migrating and sea otter live here.
DSC03365
Cheers to you during our elephant seal expedition in California’s Big Sur~

Red Tails & RAIN!!!

DSC09500
It is finally raining at The Holler even though we are still in the midst of the worst recorded drought in California history.
DSC09504
The rain isn’t nearly enough, but at least it will keep the hawks alive for awhile.
DSC03171 (1)
I am unable to adequately describe the hawks, I love them so.
DSC00369
Words fail, photos make due.
DSC04425
Hawks are my friends here.
DSC04547
So glad we moved to this iffy place, one of Southern California’s last remaining wild spaces.
DSC03739
The Holler is built on a mountain with an empty valley below. Hawks often fly at our eye level or below, allowing us to look down on them as they soar. Normally hawks fly high, above us all.
DSC03618
I suspect we all need to live this way, wild and free, and above it all.
Cheers to you from the indescribably free Holler Hawks~