The Holler’s Posh Summer Residents~


Just like all the best tony places, The Holler, while decidedly non-tony, has flashy summer residents, who live here only in the summer, and move on to their more expensively-agreeable tropical homes in the winter.
Grosbeak

But, unlike some snobby humans who move from their summer to winter homes, irregardless of whether the locals actually want them in either place, these summer residents are welcomed and appreciated by all The Holler locals….. meaning my small family.
(Please note the use of the word irregardless. My husband is adamant irregardless is not a word, but I, obviously, am disregarding this.)


The flashy-folks arrival at The Holler creates celebration, fascination, lots of, “What is this bird?” types of conversations. San Diego county and its rural environs, have more bird species than any other place in the continental US.
Hooded Oriole

I say, “Did you see? I think the first oriole has arrived?”
I was late in putting out the oriole feeders this season, due to being away on a trip, and I was worried the orioles would see this as irresponsibility on my part, which of course it was, and decide not to bless us with their summer presence. Thankfully they have decided to hang around!


My husband says, “I just saw another bird. It was big and black, has a mohawk and red eyes. What is this bird?”
Or, “I saw this new bird, it’s really yellow, not big, and has brown patches on it’s back and white spots. What is it?”


My son asks, “What is it with the hummingbirds? Why do they buzz around my face every time I walk outside? Don’t they know this could be dangerous for them with humans?”
This query is prompted because he hangs the oriole feeders for me which I can’t reach, but he can, because he’s very tall, and the hummers just surround his head while he does this. He repeats, while hanging the feeder, and trying to see through the buzzing hummer hordes surrounding his head, “Why are they doing this?”
I say, “It is because you are hanging the feeder a bit slowly, and the hummers really think you should hold it steady and straight for them NOW, so they can feed from the feeder directly, while you stand still and hold it there for them. They apparently think this is the sole purpose of your life.”
The hummers aren’t even supposed to be drinking from the oriole feeders since they have their own feeders, but hummers don’t listen to reason.
Western Scrub Jay


It is a bird summer resort here at The Holler. Birds sense, over time, who they need to fear, or can trust, much like like humans do, but birds, for good reason, are far better at this type of calculus then we humans are. Check out this little mowhawked finch-fledgling for example. He has a nest in a custom made bird box by our front door, where we come and go all the time. I have a visceral sense to not photograph wild bird nests because it can be terrifying and life disrupting for them if I get too close. But I gave in and decided to photograph this guy very carefully. And you can see the results. The fledgling, looked at me with pure baby-bird annoyance, but then, ignored me, and went back to sleep, while I took more photos.
Fledgling House Finch


I do think it is very nice of the wild birds to allow us to live in their Holler and be their personal servants and food and treat providers.
Cheers to you from The Holler wild birds who have learned that some humans are real suckers, but they can be trusted~

252 thoughts on “The Holler’s Posh Summer Residents~

  1. Hey Cindy,

    Compelled by the magic of your photography I was impelled to say thank you for the delight these images have given me. The clarity in your work is defining, the images with high contrasting backgrounds are an absolute treasure: all have their own quality and capture the elusive nature of nature’s character. Thank you πŸ™‚

    Holler in the Holler!
    Tis no bother such colour!
    Such flash and feathered furore!
    Feeders breeders hummers flyers
    bulldogging the fledglings brow
    foul flitter twitter glitter glisten
    finch pinch purloin dither and dash
    else chatter natter gather to sup
    sip and swallow seeds peas rind
    anything they find irregardless
    pleased indeed by kind deeds
    of those nurturing nature’s whole
    including Grosbeaks and hooded Oriole:
    soured yellow beneath sun light
    brightening feathers to blackened coals
    winged souls posing atop poles and gutters
    edges ledges feasting on wedges
    and veggies pausing posturing
    and sharing joyful melodies.
    ~
    I am drawn to the blue feathered bird…the tail feathers, I want one! πŸ™‚ Would you know what species of bird is?

    Beautiful images Cindy, scorching sunlight, blue sky, feathered friends – the perfect start to my weekend. You know how to please πŸ™‚

    Take care in all ways.

    Namaste πŸ™‚

    DN

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    • I am so very lucky! I get to make the most talented and amazing friends through WP! Your poem is pure brilliance and I am honored and humbled to receive it. Thank you sincerely. You touched my ❀

      The blue bird is a Western Scrub Jay, in the blue jay family. Mark Twain wrote a lot about blue jays and here is a sample just for you my friend. (It fit the vocabulary theme of this post!)

      "There's more to a bluejay than any other creature. He has got more moods, and more different kinds of feelings than other creatures; and mind you, whatever a bluejay feels, he can put into language. And no rnere commonplace language, either, but rattling, out-and-out book talk – and bristling with metaphor, too – just bristling! And as for command of language – why you never see a bluejay get stuck for a word. No man ever did. They just boil out of him! And another thing: I've noticed a good deal, and there's no bird, or cow, or anything that uses as good grammar as a bluejay. You may say a cat uses good grammar. Well, a cat does – but you let a cat get excited once; you let a cat get to pulling fur with another cat on a shed, nights, and you'll hear grammar that will give you the lockjaw. Ignorant people think it's the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain't so; it's the sickening grammar they use. Now I've never heard a jay use bad grammar but very seldom; and when they do, they are as ashamed as a human; they shut right down and leave."

      Namaste & Happy Weekend~ 🐦

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Cindy

        Thank you! πŸ™‚ We meet whom we are destined to meet in life and in that gathering is an exchange a trading of energies subtle and exquisite and just as nature intended. It is your crafted distillation of time, energy, commitment, love and focus that infuses the quality of the images you’ve posted…your photography expresses the honesty and beauty within you and the relationship you have with nature. My response draws on that energy finds a language in it, and returns it in words of gratitude – my lead prompted as it most certainly was by your imagery and mention in a comment to your grandfather and Churchill’s painting. In that personal comment also lie the energies contained in the totality of personal memory, both yours, and by way of prompt reflections on my grandfather and my understanding of Churchill as well. Your posting is like a feeding station for cascading ideas, each and every minute aspect of thought expressed in words tumbling in domino effect like different seeds into the one tray.

        You have a very loving and gentle heart Cindy, a career within an occupational health area that offers understanding and deeper insight into life itself, and an obvious natural affinity with nature. It is little wonder that photography captures your imagination and your work keeps getting better and better. Thank you πŸ™‚

        Cindy, I cannot thank you enough for the Mark Twain citation! I was thrilled to read it, be reminded of it once again after so many years, and wholly delighted you included it in a reply to me. Thank you. Twain has found words with style and posture that are timelessly endearing. His reflections on the ubiquitous nature of the Jay are highly entertaining, and I am certain most accurate. As for the language of cats – words fail me to describe the enjoyment I found in that – his observational ability is extraordinary as is his ability to translate that in a joy of words. An iconic writer and a wonderful storyteller.

        I did venture to seek further illumination on the Blue Jay by way of its symbolism, the purpose of which was to find another distilled perspective on this beautiful, stunning little bird. If interested, a quick visit here provides alternate affirmation of Twain’s observations. http://www.whats-your-sign.com/blue-jay-animal-symbolism.html

        If I may head off on a slight tangent, an experience regarding animal sounds comes to mind. I was living in the suburbs of London within an area called Colliers Wood. The place name alludes to images of trees long since built over by London’s relentless sprawl. I awoke one night disturbed by the pitiful wail that is a fox’s woeful whine. It froze me for I had never heard such a sound before and I sat with my senses keened waiting for something more. The thumping sound when it came immediately after the wail flailed my imagination with barbs of horror almost impelling me beneath the duvet! The dragging sound that followed the thump was made by a heavy slack weight being pulled across hard ground. Even under the duvet I could hear the body being heaved and hidden under cover of night. The wail came again, this time a little quieter, more pitiful; more disturbing it brought goose bumps to my flesh. Another thump, louder than the first as if a greater weight had fallen. This weight was also dragged by something now breathing so hard I could hear it through the open window. Terrified but overcome with the curiosity of a cat I slipped my hide and ventured with stealth to the window. By means of a small space between the curtains I could see into neighbouring gardens amongst the houses set in my terrace. All was so still and deathly quiet the silence so immediately apparent in a city that never slept. Footsteps in the garden to the right of my house snatched me away from the calm. A figure, tall, blackened in shadow moved towards the back of the garden, his form barley visible against the dark shrubbery. He paused, the wail again, this time excruciatingly loud as if next door! The figure stooped, paused in motion again before dragging something heavy behind them. I felt my breath catch in my throat; my body freeze again with not knowing, with an inability to understand or comprehend what was happening. Confused but compelled to do something, I raced to fling on the bedroom light, returned to the open window with a torch, fumbled with the on button but managed to direct the beam and shouted β€˜Oi!” as bravely as I could… My neighbours fright and frightened expression as he was caught in the bright of a sudden bellowing yellowing beam was priceless. His retort, β€˜WTF Dewin you scared the bejesus outta me!’ neither convinced nor registered with me, as I continued to shout, β€˜Oi! What the hell are you doing!?” There was a short moment of silence penetrated only by the weeping wail of whatever Baskervillian creature lurked close by. Perhaps it was the compression or the waking moment but something then registered within me: the disassociation between the foxes wail and my neighbour in their garden and whatever activity they were engaged in. I calmed upon knowing this, and asked in a more neighbourly fashion, β€œwhat are you doing at 3am in the morning?” To which his breathy reply, β€œSorry mate, did I wake you? I’m just loading up the van with cement. We’ve an early start at a new build site in north London.” The creature howled again somewhere away to my left. β€œFoxes” said my neighbour, β€œit sounds like death!” β€œIndeed.” I said, β€œor murder.” πŸ™‚

        Thank you for being present on WP and sharing your magic with us so freely. I am pleased to have met you and enjoy the welcome within your Blog and the feast served on your table. Happy snapping and continued enjoyment with your passion. Thank you for the scorching red bird…a Red Cardinal perhaps? πŸ™‚

        Take care of one and all πŸ™‚

        Namaste ❀

        DN

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        • P.S: To captivate your imagination as Twain has, perhaps you might also enjoy the writing of Robert Macfarlane, who offers a beautiful dense language of words to describe nature with elegance and appeal. Books such as The Wild Places, Landmarks, The Old Ways, and Mountains of the Mind are dense with poetic prose reflecting on nature and remain a joy a read. Namaste πŸ™‚

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          • Okay, I started reading this and got to the part with the London fox wailing in the night, and my tension level starting going up as I got hooked entirely by the tale, your writing, and the poor fox that I was so hoping you would either rescue or at least attempt to assist. At the same time I was marveling because I recently had an incredibly amazing (to me) London fox(es) experience which I most certainly was not expecting to have. Your story put me right back in that London hotel room.
            We had returned from two weeks self driving through Kruger National Park with incredible animal experiences everyday and had a week rest stop in London to relax, unwind, and soak up some civilization before returning to The Holler. We were staying in a small hotel near the British Museum that looked out on The Duke of Bedford’s private walled garden that we were instructed not to walk into. The first day my husband went off to the museum while I chilled in the room. I was looking out at the garden when I noticed the first fox kit. It ended up to be an entire fox family, two kits and mom and a dad. They had a den in the hedges and over the course of the next week I watched them daily, despite a significant window restriction. The window was permanently locked and would only open around three inches giving me major photographic limitations.
            I watched the kits stalk magpies and I watched a parent kill and present the magpie to the family. I was fascinated by the magpie’s revenge which went on for days as they teased and tormented the entire family, mostly the kits who they continuously provoked into futile stalking attempts. I didn’t want to leave the room or window! I had left safari in So. Africa and continued my safari in London! So I did a post on it (of course) which you can link on below:
            https://cindyknoke.com/tag/london-foxes/
            I read Macfarlane’s ‘Mountains of the Mind’ long ago because I was a huge fan of the ‘Tasker Boardman Omnibus,’ Shining Summits et al, and Macfarlane’s book won their literary award. I will read more of Macfarlane on your recommendation.
            I also blogged about a fox in Ireland, but enough for now. Foxes are rare to me. I have seen one all my time at The Holler, and only a handful in my lifetime, so I fell fully in love with the London fox family, and with your wonderful story! You are a naturally gifted writer.
            Cheers to you my friend & Namaste~

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hey Cindy,

              Thank you for a wonderful reply, your story and associated post are delightful, the foxes enchanting and the joy of your experience clearly shines through in your commentary. Your decision to forgo the museum trip was a choice rewarded with a rare opportunity and chance to engage your obvious interest…’I didn’t want to leave the room or window!’ says all one needs to hear about what captivates your lens the most πŸ™‚

              I find it fascinating that your encounter with foxes has been so seldom given where you live and the travel experiences you have had. (My parents show me photographs of the Kruger from ages ago when our family lived in S Africa when I was still a wee wee laddie.) I am thrilled you had time to observe for an extended period these clever, elusive and shy animals who live and move like ghosts around us. Despite their sometimes vicious visage, I find them quite alluring in that they have a feline quality to their canine dogginess. In the UK foxes get a mixed reaction from the public, both loved and loathed, and on occasion hunted for sport by the barbarically minded, they represent the point of division between humankind and nature. It saddens me they are so poorly regarded.

              The photographs as always are very endearing, the fox kits (cubs?) especially so as they play and learn within their safe and protected surroundings. They are indeed a fox family of pedigree and I am thrilled they have been able to stay within their unique city setting πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing your experience, I enjoyed every last pixel.

              If curious, I posted an image with one of the chapters in a poem have been blogging ~ Stitch Stash and Sow ~ https://dewinnefol.wordpress.com/2016/07/24/1383/ ~ of a skeletal figure I generated on Photoshop. The figure is pieced together from separate photographs of the bones of a fox-cub skeleton I found whilst out walking one morning and returned home with to clean and preserve. Badgers had disturbed the remains and I was never able to find all of the bones but I have the skull intact less bottom jaw and all the teeth for the upper and lower jaw. It may sound peculiar but I regard the find as a treasure and keep it very safe. In regards to the content of the poem, it edged with a nip of alchemy here and there, the fox relates to Chinese traditions, where the crafty old fox is a symbol of transformation, cunning, and craft πŸ™‚

              Regards my story, as far as I know no foxes were ever hurt or injured during the making of my fox tale πŸ™‚

              I have recently replaced copies of Macfarlane’s books with audio copies available from Audible. It does not offer quite the same experience but adds an alternate dimension to the reading experience, in that one can close ones eyes and engage the imagination without sharing the experience with physical reading. I find it very therapeutic.

              Thank you for sharing my weekend Cindy by way of the magic of WP. I’ve delighted in photographs, traded tales, been reminded of Twain’s spirit of adventure and brilliance, learnt about the Blue Jay and altogether enjoyed my time spent here. Thank you πŸ™‚

              A new week ahead that I hope you will enjoy and be captivated by sufficiently to capture some of it for sharing with us here.

              Take care of one and all. Best wishes in all ways always.

              Namaste πŸ™‚

              DN

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                • Hey Cindy,

                  Well now you have been overly generous and wonderfully kind in your reply and I’m quite certain such regard would suit others far better than I πŸ˜€ Thank you for inspiring, but if truth be told Cindy, in finding honest enjoyment in the photographs you posted, in essence, I borrowed from the magic and enchantment embedded in your own passion (the distilled 1% of your work that made it to publishing) and mixed it up with a few letters of my own. It is your talent that inspires others to personal betterment. Thank YOU πŸ™‚

                  Would it be amiss of me if I took a copy of the Blue Jay photograph? There’s a certain look in his beady eye that keeps me honest lol πŸ™‚

                  Have a wonderful week Cindy. Best wishes to one and all, take care in all ways always.

                  Happy snapping!

                  Namaste πŸ™‚

                  DN

                  Like

  2. Hi Cuz,
    Irregardless of what he thinks, I found this in the Merriam Webster on the internet ……

    Irregardless was popularized in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its increasingly widespread spoken use called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that β€œthere is no such word.” There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose.

    All the pics are great. You have so many summer birds there in comparison to what we see. We just have Cardinals, House & Goldfinches, a Wren or two, this year a real bluebird, and, if we’re really lucky, maybe a hummer will visit for a while. They’re all wonderful though. Hugs ! πŸ™‚

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    • You truly are a wonderful cousin cuz, even if it is non-biological! Bartons are Bartons. Your explanation is perfect. How do words get made anyway and when do they actually become words? I would say when you want them to be! All words are made up anyway. Hugs to you cuz & thanks too~

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  3. So blessed to have the range of birds and the colors are magnificent. PS I like the way you sucker punched Charly yesterday. He left a comment about a year ago confessing all his drug and alcohol problems. Then never responded back. Recently I befriended him for a couple of weeks before having enough. It’s sad when someone is not/maybe aware they have PTDS and depression and don’t do a damn thing about it. I’m unfollowing, I think he’s good in his heart but I cut negative people out of my life.
    Hope you are healthy and happy..
    M

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    • Oh dear! I didn’t mean to do that and feel bad if I did convey that. It is hard sometimes to get across complexity of thought and intent in the quick written format of online interaction. I do hear you however, and fully support your removal of negative energy, or people that bring negativity into your life. I do exactly the same thing for the same reason and it is a very effective way of protecting yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No one could ever be hard on Charly. He has PTSD and said he didn’t believe in that stuff. The only things that piss him off is no cigerettes, no internet, no one to screw above all reality. We’ve followed and talked over the years. Recently after he called me everything in the book we reached a level of understanding. The minute he snaps he throws you away. I wanted to help but people have to want help, not just write about. Life is short, to short to have shit dropped on you. I’ll help someone who ask for help.
        Have a great Monday!!! πŸ™‚

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  4. Such a varied collection of bird visitors. πŸ™‚

    As previously noted, irregardless has found a place in colloquial usage. Most often, irregardless is used to represent a greater degree of “regardlessness”. Grammatically, its usage is incorrect. That’s what one of my teacher friends has said. She teaches English. And, yes, she does grade down if you were her student and use the term, irregardless in a composition. She would say, “excuse me,” if you were to use it in her classroom. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cool to see your nesting box– I should do that! My favorite was when some little sparrows made a nest in the eaves right outside our bedroom window and we would hear babies cheeping in the mornings when we woke up. Beautiful beautiful photos as always Cindy!! hugs!

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  6. I’m returning from a lengthy break, Cindy, and am thrilled to see this beautiful post! I adore the little mowhawked finch-fledgling. What a treat for us that you were able to photograph him. And what a gorgeous environment that surrounds and blesses you. Hugs to you, lovely friend β™₯

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  7. Ah, lovely to see cousins to our Baltimore Oriole (intensely orange and black, rather than yellow) and Rose-breasted Grosbeak and purple house finch to visit us, here in the East. Birds keep us entertained as well. Yesterday, for example, I was hanging up laundry on the clothes line and hear this strange hissing sound. I discovered a robin sitting high up in a tree. He was dive-bombed by two swallows and every time they came near him, he hissed at them. This was a sound I’ve never heard from a bird before!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t heard a robin hissing either. How fascinating! You know what I do though? I go to Cornell’s ornithology website when I see a new bird species, find out what it is, and play the mating call on the speaker out my window. It is really fun to see the reaction as they look for the bird! πŸ₯

      Liked by 1 person

  8. We’ d love to have beauties like this hanging around our birdfeeder too, Cindy. What a wonderful collection of photos of your feathered friends.
    Wishing you a great weekend,
    The Fab Four of Cley

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    • One of the most amazing things about travel for me is seeing the native birds. I am so enthused about European Magpies for example, and locals look at me like I am daft, which of course, I am, magpies or not. Their normal-boring, is my exotic-wow!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Very beautiful Cindy! I often have hummingbirds in my garden, and I love their company. Yesterday as I was planting some fig cuttings, I had one hummingbird keeping me company the whole time. They love sitting on the tomato cages just watching the world, stretching their wings for a little bit, just to land on the net one. Their beauty fascinates me. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend in your piece of paradise.

    Maria

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    • Hummingbirds are simply incredible to live with. They have a magic which I cannot describe, but which people intuitively sense when they are around them. Just now for example, one flew to directly to my window at eye level, hovering, and staring at me, his beak almost on the glass. I looked and sure enough the feeder was empty. He was telling me to get off my a**!
      πŸ₯

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  10. Cindy you have far more colorful visitors than we do, but then you make them feel welcome. That bird box by the door is special, and the finch-fledgling inside . . . Well, he feels quite at home, doesn’t he. Great hair. Great photos!

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  11. Our birds are a little less exotic, but we are enjoying watching the baby Mourning Dove grow. How wonderful to live in a place so buzzing with life!

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  12. I love those yellow and black birs, they are so colourful, but my favourite has to be the grumpy baby bird in its nest! It really does look cheesed off!
    BTW I think ‘irregardless’ is a word and I like it! πŸ™‚

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  13. Ah, as I read this Cindy, a grosbeak is debating with a chickadee over who has rights to the bird feeder while a scrub jay and a ground squirrel are debating on the ground. The bird feeder attracts a continuous stream of birds, and since many of them are messy eaters, other birds gather below. A couple of nights ago, 22 turkey chicks took over our back yard. And the bird bath… well that has been taken over by the deer who now think of it as their watering hole, irregardless of what the birds think. πŸ™‚ –Curt

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    • Isn’t it grand! These wild creatures are the best neighbors in the world. 22 turkey chicks! Wow! Must make for some awesome photos. We are getting a fantastic collection of non-venomous snakes this year, red racers, and gorgeous gopher and king snakes. I’ve been snapping their pics and I found the roadrunner nest!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. What a wondrous bird heaven! I would relish the experience of having hummers surrounding my head. Never heard of that happening. Maybe too close for comfort though. πŸ™‚

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    • Oh I love it so. Yesterday evening I went out with the hand held hummer feeder. All the other feeders were still up, but the hummers investigated me by hovering just inches from my eyes. I stayed utterly still, looking at them and then I became just another feeding station, they fed from my hand as steadily as they did from the hanging feeders, but each bird investigated my eyes the same way. They never hurt me and never will unless I were to get inadvertently caught in a cross fight between hummers. The great thing about having them so close to your face is they generate an intense amount of wind like a fan blowing in your face, keeping you cool on hot days. They are magical!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Just love the birdies and your captions, Cindy. It’s amazing to have baby’s nearby. We don’t have that. In some way they don’t want to come near to me…MOL πŸ˜€ Pawkisses for a wonderful week ahead πŸ™‚ ❀

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  16. What a marvelous array of fine feathered friends! Excellent models who earn their keep by allowing you to memorialize their presence! I know I have asked at least twice before, but I dare ask one more time–please tell me once more the make and model of your camera. Much appreciated! But even more appreciated are all of your breathtaking photos! Hugs to you, my friend! πŸ€—

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  17. I adore this post and your pics! It is sooo beautiful! Perhaps i have already commented, but I can’t remember. Perhaps I was drinking wine when I read this. I’m not allowed to drink wine and blog, but apparently I do … sometimes! Much love to you, Cindy! The birds are the best!

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  18. I absolutely loved this post, Cindy. Fun to see all your visitors, and hear the dialogue around the bird feeders. Looks like your orioles had no hesitation. Your bird visitors, and your photos, are gorgeous.

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  19. We have had a colorful summer this year with the bright red Summer Tanengers nesting nearby. They did eat most of the wineberries this year, but that’s compensation for their visits. -Oscar

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  20. Didn’t know that about San Diego County but your photos certainly prove the statement about having more bird species than any other place in the US. Great pics!

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