Woody, Beep & Feathered Friends~

Woody Woodpecker is so shy!
He sits on the roof and watches the wild birds on the feeders but will never eat, so I have bought a special woodpecker nut mix in hopes of drawing him in. For now though, he just watches from afar.
Beep-Beep spends much of his days snooping at us through windows. Here he is watching me at my desk as I blog. This was shot through the window so there is some distortion. He was about a foot from my face.
The baby house finches are still caging meals from their parents.
Grosbeaks are new Holler residents.
Hawks always watch over everything, and have never yet gone after any of the birds.
Although they certainly like to watch them closely!
Cheers to you from The Holler’s Audubon garden.

Holler Bickersons~

I was a psychotherapist before I took early retirement, and among other things, I specialized in the group treatment of anger and violence.
So, it is with no small irony, that I present to you the untreatable Bickersons, who have moved in to the former peace and quiet of Hollerdom, turning it into a downright Hollerfest!
Man, do these birds bicker! This is one cranky lady Oriole, and she is certainly giving this guy a piece of her mind.
The guys, hang around drinking nectar, and soon they too, come to words.
When the ladies get involved, it’s hard to hear what anyone is saying with all the squawking going on!
At least they never resort to actual fighting. The hummingbirds could learn a thing or three about this, but they don’t seem open to feedback.
These birds started out so shy, but as you can see now, they are quite at home at The Holler!
Cheers to you from the beautiful, bickersome, but highly entertaining, Holler Hooded Orioles~

Holler Hummer Home~

This hummingbird has quite a long tongue for a tiny little creature doesn’t he?
It’s good to be home, because the Holler Hummer’s live here, and I missed them!
I counted 35 today, at our three, 40 ounce feeders.
Anna’s, Black Chinned, Allen’s and Rufous hummingbirds live at The Holler.
I read in an online hummingbird forum that people don’t believe that feeders get more than one or two birds each.
They should stop by The Holler around 6pm when each feeder is mobbed by more than 10 hummers.
Hummers have the largest brain to body mass of any bird in the world i.e., they are clever little buzzers.
These tiny birds can migrate 1000’s of miles.
But many call the Holler home year round.
Which is why, there is no place like home!
Cheers to you from the astonishing, numerous, and quite clever, Holler Hummers~

London Slow Food & Living Market~

London’t first slow food Sunday market features produce from 30 vendors and artisans selected for exceptional quality.
It is the only dedicated slow food market in London and is located on High Holborn Street.
Slow food refers to regionally produced, fresh, clean produce, which has been thoughtfully harvested using responsible practices.
The aim of the market is to foster connections, and a sense of community between small scale rural producers, and urban London dwellers.
There is amazing chocolate and lots of it!
The items for sale here are not mass produced. The food takes time and care to produce.
Obviously, it is much better for you, and tastes entirely better then the produce created by large scale agri-businesses so prevalent in the USA.
Fresh tomatoes burst with flavor like tomatoes should, and bread is prepared from scratch and tastes divine.
There are wonderful local artists with displays as well. All in all it makes for a most enjoyable, and tasty, Sunday stroll!
Cheers to you from London’s Slow Food Market~
For more about Slow Food in the USA, check out: https://www.slowfoodusa.org/about-us

London Town~

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Okay, I probably wasn’t supposed to take this pic, although I have been to London a few times, I have never been to Windsor, and the private gardens are pretty freaking amazing. I didn’t trespass. I just leaned really, really, far over the wall to get this pic. Gorgeous huh? You can see why foxes choose to live in certain London parks. They are smart as foxes!
London is of course, old, historic, beautiful. It has gravitas.
But it is also for the birds,
animals, gardens,
and the people who care for them!
Like the birdkeeper and his cottage. A refuge for the birdman and his exotic birds was first established in 1612.
I love a town that established a place for a keeper of the birds 400 hundred years ago.
Plus, there are all the flowers.
Which is the way to London Town?
To see the king in his golden crown.
One foot up and one foot down.
To see the Queen in her silken gown.
(Source: Unknown Nursery Rhyme).
Cheers to you from lovely London Town~

Our London Safari~

So you think one has to go to Africa to witness wild predator prey interactions? Ha, I say! Just go to central London. And, no I am not talking about the tube strike…..
Actually, we left Africa and flew to London on the first leg home to The Holler. We were looking forward to a spell of civilization and culture. But it seems, our safari was to continue in London. We checked into a hotel quite near the crowds and hustle of the British Museum, and I looked out our hotel window onto a city park, and this was the sight that greeted me!
There were four foxes in this family in the center of London. There were magpies too. Occasionally the foxes would snag a magpie which resulted in the magpies giving the foxes holy hell for hours. They would taunt and goad them.
I was supposed to be going to the British Museum with my hubby, but instead I sat for hours watching the foxes in the Duke of Bedford’s garden. No one was allowed to go in the garden, thank God, and my hotel window only opened about four inches, so there was considerable challenge getting these pics, but I was motivated! I live in Southern California and rarely get to see foxes so it is always a thrill.
It takes effort learning to hunt,
and can be quite exhausting.
Not to mention embarrassing, when the prey decides to become the predator!
And then there is mum to contend with. She can be such a nag….
But being almost a teenager, mum is starting to get an idea what she’s in for.
It’s nice to be a fox family in the Duke of Bedford’s garden,
if only there was a little more to eat.
Cheers to you from the London fox’s garden~

It’s Hard to Say Goodbye Africa~

You no longer run into rhino,
sleeping in waterholes,
visited by a friend.
There is no need to break for baby waterbuck,
crossing the road to mama,
protected by papa, and watched by a drifting hippo.
And of course you no longer see the elephant herds,
with all the happy babies.
Thank you for coming with me to Africa. I hope we can go back there someday.
Cheers to you from Africa’s wonderful wild creatures~

High Plains Kickers~

Look at this big gal! I wasn’t expecting to meet her! If you think she looks surprised, you should have seen Jim’s face. My first thought was that I was looking at Dr. Seus’s Grinch. You have to admit, she looks just like a friendlier version of the grinch…. except she isn’t green. And look at those eyelashes!
We have Holler Ostrich. Actually we don’t have any, but a fellow Hollerite has two. Personally, I don’t see the practicality of pet ostrich for us. I mean they can grow to nine feet, and weigh up to 320 pounds! And they can have attitudes. You can clearly see this guy’s attitude. Would you cross him? Apparently even lions don’t like to mess with ostrich and I can see why.
I think a 9 foot tall, 300 pound, attitudinal bird, that can run 43 mph, makes perfect sense in Africa, but less sense at The Holler. They aren’t your average canary after all. They can kill lions, and are the fastest two-legged creatures on earth!
Check out these female wild southern ostrich in Kruger. Aren’t they gorgeous? They are ballerina stepping, tutu wearing, high plains kickers! The Rockettes of South Africa! You go girls…..
And look how content they are. We saw two groups of ostriches. Females you are looking at here, and another group of males.
Contrary to common belief, ostrich do not hide their head in the sand when scared. Pliny the Elder just made that up around 73AD. But, as you can clearly see in this pic, they do hide their heads under their friend’s skirts. Some friends might consider this annoying, but this one seemed cool with it.
Anyhoo, seeing these incredible birds wild and free in Kruger was unexpected and a big thrill! The red necked northern ostrich at The Holler are endangered in the wild, so our neighbor gets my support for raising and caring for them, even though I would prefer to see them wild, free, and protected, in their native habitat.
Cheers to you from these spectacular, nine foot tall birds, with ‘tudes!