Twigs & Twine~


Weavers, like this Red Bishop from Africa, are industrious and highly social birds. These photos were taken at The San Diego Safari Park aviaries, close to The Holler. There are now 400 or so of these beauties flying wild in Holler skies.
I bet they escaped from the park. Smart birdies.

Weavers belong to a family of birds named Ploceidae that weave incredibly intricate nests that hang from trees in groups or colonies. Holler orioles are weavers.


Buffalo Weavers, also from Africa, are charmingly gregarious, happy birds, that like to perch next to you to for a little chat!

Here they are discussing a leaf. What to do with it? Should they pick it up? They seem to think not. It is, obviously, an object worthy of much interest and discussion, but in the end, a useless thing to them.


They may have no use for leaves, but they are artistic masters of twigs and twine, and spend much of their time collecting both.


Cheers to you from the very busy, very happy weavers~
(Click on paired birds to see more detail.)

Putty-Cat~


I think I saw a putty-cat! I went to The San Diego Safari Park to practice with my new camera, but I got kinda distracted by these little guys. I think this one wanted to come home with me……or else he wanted to eat something right past my ear.

Meet the tiger cubs. One cub was brought to the park from The National Zoo after it was rejected by its mother and the other was confiscated at the San Diego/Mexican border by patrol agents when it was seven weeks old. One is a Bengal Tiger and the other a Sumatran. There are less than 400 Sumatran tigers left in the wild.

This wasn’t a fair test of my new RX10 camera because I had to shoot through-multi inch tempered scratched glass, but who cares, these guys were too amazing to pass up and I knew you would like to see them! I can show you some fair test shots later. Now, it’s tiger time.

The cubs are living in a 5.2 acre outdoor tiger habitat with a river running through it, a waterfall, grass, trees, multiple levels and hiding places, and real dirt to roll in. It cost $19.5 million dollars to build. The cubs are growing up together and thriving. Check out this video of the day they were introduced to each other which was filmed with no glass obstructions:

There are other tigers in the habitat too, like this guy, who likes his bone. Doggies get grumpy when you take their bone. I wouldn’t want to try taking this guy’s bone away! He seemed to think I might want to!

There are only 3,890 tigers left in the wild. In 1900 there were an estimated 100,000.

This past year is the first time there has been an actual modest increase in the wild tiger population since 1900, which proves that conservation efforts can work if they are supported.

It would be a worldwide disgrace if the only tigers left in the world lived in zoos.

Cheers to you from the earth’s last remaining magnificent tigers~

New Sony RX 10- IV~


Yesterday my new camera arrived and I have been practising with it, taking first photos around The Holler. (Click to enlarge the bees to see the details).


It is getting detail and is super fast, but will require more practice.

I was planning to use the camera mostly for landscapes, so I was pleasantly surprised with these first-attempt macros.


You can see some of the detail capability in this Datura or Moonflower. Moonflowers are night-blooming and belong to the nightshade family. They are poisonous and are pollinated at night by Sphinx and Hawk Moths. Native Americans used Moonflowers in sacred ceremonies as a hallucinogen.

These Night Blooming Cereus flowers were taken with my older, trusty HX400, which is still my go to bird and wildlife camera. The flowers grow on the tallest cactus in the world, Cereus Peruvians. Ours is over 30 feet tall! It’s flowers are as big as plates and open only at night. The tree generates tons of fruit called Peruvian Apples that are crunchy, sweet, and delicious!


Cheers to you from Sony’s views~

Parrot Fever~


Parrots prove that Mother Nature,

likes to rock the color quotient.

I think she has parrot fever,


and she gave it to me!


Do you think these cuties know how gorgeous they are?

The clue is in their eyes,

and their flirtatious dispositions!

Cheers to you and I hope you catch the parrot fever too~

French Old Wooden Treasures~


The Alsatian Museum in Strasbourg France is located in three adjoining homes built in the 1600’s.


All the homes have inner courtyards with multi-storied covered walkways.


We stayed in the Hotel Corbeau nearby that was similar in style and built in 1528.

The museum homes are filled with over 5000 artifacts depicting everyday life.

Hand carved and painted woodwork is especially charming as you see in this very cozy bed.

Flour mill spouts attest to the emphasis placed on artistry in everyday living.

Many homes of this era contained family businesses like this old pharmacy.


This typical traveling prayer case demonstrates both faithful devotion and an artistic sensibility.
Cheers to you from the old wooden treasures of France~

Dear Sierra~


This dear came up so close that I temporarily lost focus!


Deer clearly have the right of way in the High Sierra. The doggie seemed too stunned to bark!


Kind people, and dogs, yield to them, and they seemed to expect this from us, smart dears.


We could have easily touched them, but didn’t.


They fawns even nursed in front of us, but I spared you the photo because it was mostly fawn tushy!


They have such a pretty home,


and it is quite an honor to share it with them.

The photo below is Devil’s Postpile which was created about 100,000 years ago from lava flow and is made of basalt. Glaciers later carved and polished the stone towers which are up to 600 feet tall. Devil’s Postpile is a 798 acre National Monument established in 1911 that hopefully will remain a monument and protected. It is transected by both the Pacific Coast Trail and the John Muir Trail.

Cheers to you from the dear-deer in the Eastern Sierra~

Shy Guys~


Check out some of The Holler’s shy guys like this very skittish Yellow Breasted Chat.

Black Phoebe’s are some of my favorite birds.

They sleep under our porch roof all year and will not budge from the perch in winter. It’s too cold to move!


They are avid people watchers.

Acorn Woodpeckers are extremely shy at The Holler, and hard to capture, because they have large oak groves to select acorns from and rarely bother to visit the feeders.

They always seem to know where I am before I do!

Mockingbirds only visit the bird baths on very hot days.

This Scrub Jay is worse for wear. It looks like something, probably the Roadrunner, grabbed him by the neck.

But he got away and recovered, helped by copious quantities of Holler seeds.

Spotted Towhees are very rare Holler visitors.

And then of course we have very shy Squirrely who thinks he’s a bird.
Cheers to you from The Holler shy guys~