The Holler Soars~

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Transcendent hawk.

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Soaring above us all.

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Watching everything,

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engaging nothing.
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Touching earth only for a bite,

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and then sailing up again,
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catching wind drafts with a friend.

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Forever, chasing rainbows.

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Cheers to you from The Holler and her hawks~

260 thoughts on “The Holler Soars~

  1. Brings back memories. I had a tawny brahminy kite once upon a time. He was such a lovable creature. Reared him when he fell out of a nest. I choke when I remember him. His mother still lives around here. Comes to visit us every single morning and wails to get our attention. Such magnificent birds, these raptors. Thanks, Cindy, beautiful pics.

    • Oh, your choking up with the memories of your kite makes me choke up. I so envy you finding and rearing a chick. This is a dream of mine. You must check out “H is for Hawk,” by Helen MacDonald. It is a tour de force book about her raising a goshawk in the UK, she says, “The hawk was everything I wanted to be: solitary, self-posessed, free from grief, and numb to the hurts of human life.”
      If you love raptors, good writing and thinking, this book will ensnare you.

      • Thanks, Cindy. I will try to get that one. It has been a while since I read a good book.
        Yes, I love raptors. There is also a famous Ken Loach movie called Kes, which was somehow very close to my heart. But living with Kitey (I know, silly name, but quite alright, I suppose) was quite different. I mean, everything about the bird was so touching, it was such a different raptor. It got killed by a mongoose, which in turn was seeking revenge for its dead children, who were in turn killed by my dogs. The revenge did not end there, the mongoose came back a few weeks later and slit the throats of the pups too. It was a very strange, almost human drama. But I can never get over it. That bird was the gentlest thing I ever saw in my life. Strange, a raptor, and gentle!! But it was like that. One day, if I have the courage to do so, I shall write that story too. It is funny, sad and touching.

      • I remember very clearly you telling me about the mongoose killing your pet raptor a long time ago! Maybe almost three years ago you told me. I remember it all so well, maybe because I had just spent time in Africa and the Caribbean with mongooses, and was photographing and following them. I love that your raptor was gentle. I think this must have been because you were gentle raising Kitey. People tell me how their pet raptors are aloof, and tolerate, but never like them. I did find this hard to believe about all raptors. These people were training them to fly on command which is pretty hard on the bird. I find it fascinating that your bird, raised differently, was different. Fascinating and wonderful. I can hear your sadness and understand it. Please remember what a unique and amazing experience you had.

      • Ah, I did not remember that I had already mentioned this. Yes, it was a gentle creature, often funny. It actually thought it was a dog and would sleep with my dogs, curled between them, knocking on the door at night if we forgot to let it in, fighting with our rascal cat who used to growl and frighten him into dropping the mackerels we used to give Kitey. One of the reasons I never utter a word about this bird is because people scoff at me. I once told a dear friend about it and she laughed saying that I make up the most unbelievable stories ever and that I had quite an imagination. Sigh!!
        It is often thought that animals and birds have no emotion and whatever we see is just human psychology and we merely believe that we see emotions/reactions etc. Not if you have lived with them. It is not purely our imagination. You get to know them and they know you. I am often dismissed as a madman here because I talk to the local birds and animals. Well, they respond. So what if other humans think I am mad, I have a good time with these birds and animals. I enjoy their presence here. The truth is, it might actually be some kind of “projection” on my part. However, come and see for yourself, see how they react to me. The robins and the mynahs play a game with me every morning. I hiss at them and they come back to threaten me with their spread out wings and feathers and I have to pretend that I am cowed by them. It is fun and almost always taken as a joke by the birds. When the local cobra is about, one brave little robin follows it all around and shrieks wildly if I come around to warn me of its presence. Human tales may be stranger than fiction, but these animals, they are something else. Only if you try to know them better 🙂
        (Sorry about the long reply).

      • Well, there are two good things here. You are talking to a licensed shrink, who talks to wild animals all the time and knows they respond back, so I can tell you, that you are perfectly right! The people who don’t believe, can’t do it, and don’t matter. Talk to the people who understand. The owls and I talk every night. I imitate the hawks cry and they fly close when I do. They watch me when I go bird watching. The hummingbirds follow me when I go birdwatching as if to say, why are you watching them and not us? The roadrunners interact with us when they feel like it, and watch us all the time through the windows. I won’t even get into the oriels, they are so social.
        The Holler has lots of empty space and no people where we are, so animal interactions are untainted.
        Some people are just better with wild creatures than others. I think it has to do with how much you love them, and they sense this.
        I know what you are saying is factual and actual and not a projection and I feel a kinship with you because of it.

  2. They make a great picture taking the drafts – and you photograph it for us. We finally get red tails and falcons in cities in the northeast, but we don’t get the views of such soaring. Here, they look for pigeons, squirrels, and an occasional rabbit. I have seen a seagull taken for dinner, too. Not a good sight, but, then, we all have to eat, and I have seen a seagull going for one of our favourites, the bug of the sea, displayed on a pre-CVS pharmacy in a landlocked country in eastern Europe.

    • Wow, what an amazing sighting in Eastern Europe! In La Jolla where I grew up, they bring trained falcons and red tails, to a seaside restaurant to terrify the seagulls away. The seagulls return as soon as the raptors leave, but boy do the gulls panic when the raptors arrive. The raptors hone in on them like heat seeking missles. The gulls collected silver napkin rings over decades, and stored them in the restaurant bell tower, only being discovered during restoration. Birds are so brainy!

      • I saw a show once where a man brought trained raptors to the airport to scare away any flocks of birds before planes took off. Apparently, the birds flying into the engines had become quite the problem. Seems nature has a solution for everything. Amazing photos — I think getting a soaring bird in frame and in focus is the toughest shot of all.

    • I feel just the same about your amazing photos! Most of these are red tails, but there is a red shoulder and a harris hawk in the mix too. Be well my friend and so look forward to your next photo piece~

    • Yes, I was so hoping after the three days of rain, the creek was gurgling, the bird baths were all full, and the birds bathing in the rain water, the trees and plants were happy and standing up straight, and then, no more……..So sad!

  3. I always like the elegance of hawks when their wings are displayed. You captured such intense photographs. They give me chills with their determination, Cindy.

    • Please do! I would love for you too. But what’s your opinion of rattlesnakes? They are a deal breaker for a lot of people! The good news is, they sleep from November to March, and they are scared of you. But one must always wear one’s rattlesnake books in season and keep one’s eyes on the ground at all times!

  4. WOW!! You’re going to crack up when I tell you I got a couple of blurry photos of a Red-tailed Hawk in front of our house a couple of days ago. No matter; I have your gorgeous photos plus commentary to look at! 🙂

    • The females are bigger than the males with wing spans reaching 56 inches. They are the largest of the hawks. And the talons, I can’t get over them. They are circular daggers, that shine silver in the sun!

    • The patterning is simply gorgeous. I get that it camouflages tham on the ground much like a rattle or king snake, but in the sky, it makes them gorgeous and stand out!

  5. Terrific shots here! I just love viewing the colorful patterns in their plumage, so I very much appreciate the views of them soaring and close-up! In the second photo from the bottom (of that beautiful rainbow!), it sure seems like that pair is having fun soaring with their legs extended down. Thanks again Cindy! ~Lynn

    • They are having fun. There are five red hawks active at The Holler right now and three great horned owls which makes things interesting! Two sets of hawks are mated pairs that live here year round and have their permanent nests. I don’t know about the fifth one. They are not fighting, but they are having magnificent aerial displays. I haven’t figured where the owls nest yet, but I imitate their calls with them at night and it causes the third owl to whoosch by my head occasionally which thrills me to no end. You hear a whoosh, and it blows your hair and then the shadow whizzes by. Awesomeness! You would love it Lynn.
      PS- Hope your flu is getting better!

      • Yes, I’ll be enjoying the outdoors soon Cindy! Flu’s gone but just have the sniffles now.

        Oh yes, amazing how quiet owls are in flight! Wish we could get some footage the one responding to your calls! I’ve looked into buying cameras geared for night-time videos/photos myself in hopes of recording the owls in my area. 🙂

        Thanks for the well wishes!

    • I need to get you this article! Important~

      Lynn,
      I just finished this article and felt a strong need to get it to you. I know it will resonate with you and it did with me. I wish I had your email and will see if I can find it via wordpress. I have a paper copy of the article if you would like one.
      I think this is quite important. Please let me know you received it.
      I hope you are well my friend.
      Take care,
      Cindy

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/31/mag

  6. Stunning beautiful photos Cindy 😀
    I asked you where you would visit in Spain, because I wished to help you to see the beauty, where ever in Spain you will stay in that travel.

    • Oh yes, thank you for offering this, I didn’t see it. Sorry. We will be in Madrid (first time) and Barcelona (third time) for a chunk of time, and then brief visits to Cartagena for a third time, Valencia, Seville, Mallorca and Malaga. Any ideas from you would be greatly appreciated. Where are you living?

      • I will do my best to give you some ideas about what to see Cindy. Have you been visiting some of the Natural Parcs in Spain before?
        I live in Valencia Area East close to Tarragona in Catalonia.

  7. Stunning Cindy, perfect light that highlights every feather and the images are so sharp and that rainbow is beautiful. Did you get rain? You live in such a beautiful part of the world.

    • Ahhh, thank you Pauline. We had three days of sorely needed rain, and then no more. No rain in the forseeable forecast either. It is quite sad for the wild ones.

      • Do you have any irrigation for your garden etc Cindy? We have a spear pump, which is in use at the moment, but it is not as good for the plants as rain. We have rain forecast for this weekend.

  8. Truly beautiful photos and such clear skies.We keep seeing azorean buzzards but the skies are ver stormy here in the Azores. Have met many good folk doing their bit for conservation. Have you visited?

  9. Cindy, thank you so much for the book recommendation. It is a fantastic book and I did not think that people wrote like that any more. It is a revelation. Now only if I can get my hands on the TH White book as well 🙂 I haven’t been reading much the last few months since the workstation got short-circuited and caught fire. Lost my six hard disks which had over 6000 ebooks, years of collecting etc. (Worse, my daughter dropped my tablet and broke it. It had quite a few ebooks on it too, around 900 of them. Depressing. I used to read on the tab, at least). But this one is superb. Her language is amazing and I am overjoyed – both the writing as well as the subject. 🙂 Thank you so much.

    • Yes, I had read the White books years ago and my son is a fan as well, so the parallels were fascinating to me. The author is brilliant on so many levels. I am very happy to hear you are enjoying the book.
      Losing all your collected hard drives and ebooks is horrible. Now you know a bit of how Cleopatra must have felt when her library burned in Alexandria! Are you able to buy a new tablet and get the vendor to transfer at least your tablet stored prior books? I hope you are. If not I am sorry. I am sorry anyway. I know it is a big loss.

      • I have a Kindle Fire (which I don’t like much; the Acer was huge both in terms of screen space as well as storage). However, I am unable to retrieve the content. The same with the hard disks. Still trying. Been trying for the last few months now. Will be getting new equipment soon, so maybe I can try later this month. (Only if I could buy new hands, hehe). My daughter’s photos are also on one of the drives, around 15,000 of them. (Oddly, this used to be one of my skills in the past – recovering data for people and conducting forensics tests on storage media. Hahaha. Now when I have to do it for myself, I am struggling).

        About libraries, I need look no farther for sadness than my own little library here. We used to have close to 17,000 books, collected over the last four decades and then our family disputes, ceaseless as they were, took over. My father wanted some, the rest he discarded; then my spiteful wuss of a brother wanted a share and so he had a few; my mother wanted to display her literary tastes and she had a few; so I am left with the unwanted collections and the torn remains of so many mutilated books. Bah! Never mind. One day I shall rebuild the whole thing and replace the lost books. Only half the collection now and the best are gone. What upset me was the way they dumped the books they did not want. I have just left them stored in little cardboard boxes since they took away some of the cabinets and shelves too. (I am a sinner too. Just did not want to look at the library at all after that. It is a huge room, and I despair at the thought of setting everything right. When I had it built, I used to love the room. Even used to sleep there at times. Maybe some day I can restore it).

        Sorry about the long comment again. Take care.

  10. Cindy, these are GORGEOUS shots! I think we have red-tailed hawks here, and they’re so majestic. I’m a bit nervous when Dallas is outside and I see one circling, though reason tells me my Sheltie is far too heavy for them to scoop up!!

    • Shelties are a bit big and their fur makes them look bigger. Female red tails can have a 56″ wing span though, so I would’ve been uncomfortable when my pomeranian was alive. Pomeranians are not Holler dogs by a long shot! Plus there are loads of coyotes whose photos I’ve been taking and Great Hornerd Owls too. Rabbits, rats, gophers and snakes are more to the palate of the red tails~

  11. Ah, dem beautiful red-tails. They are simply glorious, (and don’t they know it) !!! I envy you, Cindy. I so seldom see one around here. Used to see them all the time on the farm where I grew up. Nice pics ! 🙂

    • Glorious is the word that best describes them. They are curious too, with people they are familiar with and will fly low to see what’s going on, but never too close. They like a certain distance from human beings. Smart birds!

  12. Hi Cindy, you might want to read this http://scroll.in/article/803137/how-helen-macdonald-combined-nature-writing-grief-memoir-and-biography-into-one-genre-bending-book
    I was so surprised. I just finished reading the book – thank you so much for recommending this one. It felt familiar and different at the same time. I wish I had gone to the Jaipur Lit-Fest after all. I usually detest those things. Thank you for suggesting that I read this book. It was wonderful.

    • Oh, I am so glad you enjoyed the book as I did. Not everyone “gets it,” so I am really pleased you did and thank you for the link to the author interview. She is amazing isn’t she! Wonderful to hear her thoughts and thank you very much my friend~

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