Floribunda~

The flower is
the stem’s cry of beauty
to the universe.
-Vassilis Comporozos

Thimbleberry flower, Washington State.

These pink and red poppies

were also found bursting in bloom in Washington state.

We can’t grow peonies at The Holler, but I buy them in season,

to display in bouquets.

Holler white rose.

Holler sweet peas.

We had loads of blooms this year due to the wonderful rain.

Rhododendron Washington State.

Cheers to you from summer’s smiling flowers~

Memories of Mary~

(These herons were photographed in South America and South Africa).

“So heavy
is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,
always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings

open
and she turns
from the thick water,
from the black sticks

of the summer pond,
and slowly
rises into the air
and is gone.

Then, not for the first or the last time,
I take the deep breath
of happiness, and I think
how unlikely it is

that death is a hole in the ground,
how improbable
that ascension is not possible,
though everything seems so inert, so nailed

back into itself–
the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
the turtle,
the fallen gate.

And especially it is wonderful
that the summers are long
and the ponds so dark and so many,
and therefore it isn’t a miracle

but the common thing,
this decision,
this trailing of the long legs in the water,
this opening up of the heavy body

into a new life: see how the sudden
gray-blue sheets of her wings
strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing
takes her in.

Cheers to you from Mary Oliver’s Heavenly Herons~

Source: Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond,  Mary Oliver.


Parrot Portraits~

Every couple of years I visit Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary in Southern California and play with the birds. Meet the Superb Parrot native to Australia. This is the only bird featured in this post that is not designated endangered or vulnerable in the wild.

Every time I visit, I leave wanting to adopt one of their birds, like this Eclectus Parrot, native to the Solomon Islands.

Free Flight was established by an avian veterinarian to rescue and rehabilitate pet parrots. They have several highly endangered Hyacinth Macaws which are the largest of the Macaw species.

Friendly and outgoing Yellow Naped Amazons live in Mexico and Central America.

Pretty in Pink Moluccan Cockatoos are native to Indonesia.

Free Flight birds live in an open aviary and interact readily with the people who come to visit them.

African Grey Parrots from the Congo are famous talkers. Despite myths to the contrary, bird brains are intelligent brains. Parrot brains in particular are similar in several important ways to primate brains.

Blue and gold macaw are native to South America.

Cheers to you from the beautiful, happy and healthy parrots, at Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary~

For More on the non-profit sanctuary check out : https://www.freeflightbirds.org/about-free-flight

Peruvian Pelis~

Coquimbo Chile is a marine bird paradise!

It is home to the impressive Peruvian Pelican.

Peruvian Pelicans are twice the size of their northern cousins and stand up to five feet tall!

They somehow manage to look individually comical,

but sober as judges in a group.

These beauties were photographed in Coquimbo Chile, and on the Palomino and Ballestas Islands off the coast of Peru.

Cheers to you from the pretty as a picture Peruvian pelis~

Dear~

I found Bambi grazing on a lawn in Washington state!

He was surrounded by very watchful adults.

The adults were a bit wary of humans,

but Bambi was pure curiosity!

This adult had a massive yet cleanly healed scar that transversed her right side and formed a y flap crossing over her shoulder. This was a major injury that cut through lots of muscle. I wonder if a good samaritan veterinarian stitched her up?

Cheers to you from the peaceful, and very dear-deer~

Port Townsend’s Painted Ladies~

Port Townsend has to be one of the most charming towns we have visited.

It is a historic Victorian seaport on the edge of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.

Click to enlarge if you want to see the details of this amazing house and garden.

The town is bordered by the stunning Puget Sound and the Straight of Juan de Fuca.

It has panoramic views of the sound and the snowy Olympic Mountains.

This beauty with her Mansard roof is perched overlooking the water, with windows everywhere, to capture the views.

Port Townsend is full of art galleries and artists.

The residents have restored the town’s many painted ladies to surpass their former glory.

Bounded by seas and sounds, Port Townsend has wonderful restaurants, as well as fun pubs and cafes.

St Paul’s Episcopal Church is a gothic revival built in 1860.

Wandering the the old Victorian neighborhoods is a architectual browsers paradise.

Cheers to you from stunning and historic Port Townsend~

Hanging Out w/ Transients~

Here they are coming over to say, “Hello!”

These orcas are part of a transient pod that hunt mammals in the waters off the coast of northern Washington.

This area used to be the territory of healthy pods of resident, salmon eating orcas. Many of these resident whales are now starving because their principal food source, salmon, have declined dramatically.

Their territorial waters are being taken over by transient whales who hunt local seals and seal lions.

Resident salmon eating orcas, and transient mammal eating orcas have evolved separately, speak different languages (yes, whales have languages), and have different behaviors and social structures.

The starvation of the resident orcas of the pacific northwest is yet another environmental tragedy endangering the lives of wild species.

Above you see a mother and calf kissing each other.

Then Mama and baby both decide to do a upside-down-under-boat-swim, so close to the hull , you could almost lean over the boat rails and touch their glowing blue bellies. They did this twice!

Why do you think?

And the most amazing thing? A grey whale did the exact same thing on our next trip.

We took two reasonably priced trips out of different parts of Washington, one for a full day, and another for a half day. On both trips we were allowed to spend about twenty minutes watching the orcas from a distance of about two football fields away, usually in fog, rain and rough seas. It is quite difficult to get decent orca photos in these conditions, but these rules are important because they protect orcas from harassment. Despite the limitations, we thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend both trips.

There are a variety of other tours available which allow you to spend more up-close time with pacific northwest orcas, but they can be very expensive, and maybe more intrusive. One three day trip for photographers for example cost $2500.00 per person. You can also book tours out of British Columbia, which we did years ago. On the Canadian tours we were accompanied by a orca biologist and were able to spend more up close time with the more plentiful Canadian orcas for a reasonable fee.

If you want to see wild orcas, do your research, and select a company that will best meet your expectations.

Cheers to you from the gorgeous orcas of the pacific northwest~