Holler Lakes & Birds~

There are several lakes surrounding The Holler that provide wonderful places to hike, picnic and birdwatch.

This osprey was vigilant,

intently watching the lake for her next meal (despite the feather stuck on her beak.)

Bald eagles are congregating in greater numbers around Holler lakes,

which thrills me to no end, because they were almost wiped out locally, and I went decades without seeing them here.

Brewer’s Blackbirds are common at The Holler. They are very friendly birds and often eat out of my son’s hands.

Ring necked ducks were on the lake in force,

resting from migration.

The area around The Holler burned extensively in 2007, destroying 1000’s of homes and extensive habitat. You can see the progress of regrowth and the burned trees on the horizon.

Cheers to you from beautiful, burning, California, my native state~

Belfast Alainn~

Belfast is beautiful!

Like Dublin, Belfast has scores of fascinating, historic old pubs to crawl. One of the most famous is The Crown built in 1827. The art deco interior has ten snugs, which are private mahogany booths with doors, surrounded by stained glass and hand made tiles.

Belfast City Hall has an array of striking stained glass windows depicting important events in Irish history. This glass is dedicated to the two million souls who suffered and died in the Irish potato famine.

City Hall itself is an architectural gem. Built in 1898, it has a gorgeous grand staircase,

replete with a stunning interior dome and rotunda.

Belfast is a very fun city to explore, full of vibrant street art, interesting shops,

and, as cannot be emphasized enough, wonderful pubs! Kelly’s is another classic pub. It is the oldest licensed pub in Belfast, built in 1720.

Kelly’s is lovely inside and out, and full of some of your soon to be newest best friends!

Cheers to you from soulful Belfast~

Hollerites~

We have the best neighbors at The Holler,

the kind with feathers.

They are the most populous of all The Hollerites,

and they make the most congenial neighbors.

At the first sign of conflict,

they just fly away,

and land somewhere quieter.

I try and emulate them,

leaving crowds behind,

and seeking my own quiet spaces.

The only problem is I can’t fly! 

Cheers to you from the feathered Hollerites~

(Note: I did this post with the new Gutenberg editor which was kind of fun. Can you detect any differences?)

Dublin’s Fair City~


Is really so pretty!

The historic old pubs are lovely,

and fun to explore,

on a good, old-fashioned Irish pub-crawl.

You are guaranteed to make friends because the people are warm, friendly, and often just a tad tipsy!

Dublin is a vibrant, colorful city,

justifiably proud,

of its artistic and literary history.

I am still home at The Holler, but it’s cheers to you from beautiful Dublin~

Yellowlegs Salton Sea~


Greater Yellowlegs migrate between South and North America.

They are striking birds,

who stride across deep lagoons,

with their distinctive,

high-stepping strut.

Long legs,

enable them to hunt in deeper lagoons,

capturing the fish and insects they survive on.

Cheers to you from the stunning Yellowlegs at The Salton Sea~

Witches Woods~


In Oban Scotland, The Dunollie Woodland Trail, will lead you into The Witches Woods.

The deeper you go into the forest, the older it becomes.

The trees in the forest were twisted over time into witch-like shapes by the actions of fierce coastal winds.

Some of the oaks are over 400 years old.

The Witches Woods surround Dunollie Castle,

which was once home to the most powerful clan in Western Scotland, the MacDougalls.

The remains of the castle and the old manor house can be toured.

I was first scheduled to visit Oban about 30 years ago, but The Queen was doing a walk about, so our plans were changed. I am happy to have finally visited this charming town and the gorgeous Hebrides.

We are home at The Holler now, but it is cheers and BOO to you from misty Oban’s Witches Woods~

Icelandic Birds~


Icelandic waters are teeming with over 300 species of fish, and many marine mammals, but they have only a handful of terrestrial wild animals including reindeer, mink and arctic fox, and 85 species of birds.

The Northern Fulmar is a pelagic bird, meaning they spend their lives at sea, and are capable of diving several meters in pursuit of prey.

They resemble albatross, and have tubular beaks for processing sea water like other pelagic birds, including albatross and petrels.

Very handsome Tufted Ducks are common breeders all over Iceland. This is a female.

Ocean swimming Greylag Geese breed in Iceland, Finland and Scandinavia, and winter in the British Isles.

The Northern Common Sea Eider is the producer of eider-down which is harvested in Iceland by special eider farmers.

Black Headed Gulls are common in Iceland.

This one is a juvenile.

Adaptable Starlings first settled in Iceland in the 1940’s, and now can be seen nesting in Akureyri and Reykjavik.

Cheers to you from beautiful Iceland and her very hardy birds~