Blogging at the Holler’s for the Birds!


I was sitting at my desk, just getting ready to post on birds of the far southern hemisphere, when I looked up and there walked Big-Bob! (All new critters at The Holler get names.) So instead of birds from the far south, you’re gonna get critter action from the Holler’s wild-west.

Of course Big-Bob, a great egret, doesn’t belong here. He belongs at the lake, but this is one of the many things I love about birds, they don’t follow human directions, and they pay no attention to where ornithologists say they should be.

Anyhoo, I grabbed my camera and followed Big-Bob. He was on a mission and unfortunately lizards were on the menu. Meet Fred.

Fred knows us. He is a very large, very old alligator lizard, but he got much smaller when Meep-Meep, the roadrunner, relieved him of his tail, which he is diligently trying to grow back, and resting a lot accordingly. He is also molting which makes everything worse, poor Fred.

Fred is now understandably wary of all large birds. He took one look at Big-Bob and bolted to safety. It was a good day for Fred and Big-Bob, but a not a good day at all for poor Little Lizzy!

You may see Flash the hummer in this photo flying close to observe the predator-prey interaction. Flash lives with us year round and some of you may remember Flash. I have lots of talks with him about staying away from large predator birds like Meep-meep and Big-Bob who like to eat hummers, but as I mentioned before, birds don’t listen to humans, so you can see Flash buzzing Big-Bob like nobody’s business.

So, instead of cheers to you from the birds of the far south,

it’s cheers to you from the hungry Holler’s wild-west-critters~

268 thoughts on “Blogging at the Holler’s for the Birds!

    • He is the biggest alligator lizard I have ever seen. He never lost his tail. When I first saw him I wasn’t sure what he was and I grew up with alligator lizards. He is really not feeling well poor guy and I feel sorry for him too, but he seems to be recovering.

  1. What an exciting adventure for Big-Bob. But I’m aFred it’s a bad day for Little Lizzy though. Anyway, I think Big-Bob has no egret about it. ヾ(*Őฺ∀Őฺ*)ノ

  2. These are animals we don’t see in our part of the country, so it’s fascinating – exotic – wonderful to see these birds and other creatures. Sorry about the one who got eaten, but egrets have to eat too.

    • I loved lizards when I was a little kid until an alligator lizard bit down on my index finger and wouldn’t let go. I ran all the way home with it hanging from my finger. My mother went through all sorts of contortions to get it off. They have a hook on their palate and when they bite down they lock. Now I like them again, but I am not quite dumb enough (yet) to stick my finger in front of one!

        • My mother is a cool character to this day. First she used popsicle sticks and when they broke, spoons. It did freak me out though. I wanted it off! But years later, I helped my son and his friends catch alligator lizards so we could raise them for awhile. I didn’t put my fingers or theirs, in reach of the jaws though….

    • The saddest thing about Fred it that he is rare because he is old and he never lost his tail. He was huge and at first scary until I figured him out. Now he is a bit stumpy and under the weather, but I see him around and I think he will make it, as long as Meep-Meep minds her manners!

  3. Loved seeing Big Bob. He’s quite the sight. What a majestic looking fellow! Tall and lean and knows what he wants. 🙂

  4. Amazing 🙂
    Fancy having wildlife (literally) on your doorstep. They must feel very safe and secure in getting so close to you. Took me a while to see the little Hummer in the 6th image – they are so tiny.

    • The hummers are so tiny and great egrets are so big! The hummers are just ridiculously bold. They always buzz close to look at predators, including praying mantis which like to eat them.

  5. Cool as a cucumber… just sauntering by. 😉 I love the green tones around Big-Bob’s eye. What amazing wildlife you have there at the Holler. Lucky you (and us)!

    • Flash is ridiculously brave and very fast. He is dominating the feeder again as the first new spring arrivals are starting to trickle in….I’ll have to set up a distant feeder he can’t dominate soon.

  6. Big Bob would love it here…we have lizards everywhere although our biggest one Big Daddy may well give him a run for his money…Great pictures Cindy 🙂 x

  7. I once saw a great blue heron hunting rodents in the same way that Bob was hunting lizards. I’d never heard of a heron or egret stalking prey on land before, so I asked my boss (who was a naturalist) if the heron was “alright.” Putting too much faith in textbooks can make one ignorant!

    • Well, don’t feel bad, a Great Blue Heron showed up here about five years ago, and stayed for days. I was so worried about it because I had no way to give it water, although I tried everything, and was sure it needed it. I called animal rescue and had it “rescued,” and right before the rescue people showed up, it caught about three lizards in a row. It was a smart bird, came to The Holler on vacation to get away from all that dreary water, and eat something besides fish for a change! I was the one that was sorta clueless. Plus, another amazing thing I saw as the rescue woman grabbed the GBH by the beak, was that two roadrunners forgot about running, and just came up to gawk at the whole enterprise. Live and learn. Now I know for sure that wild animals are much smarter than humans

  8. Lucky Fred was eaten form the back not the front, so he can regrow the tail. The egret is one amazing big bird. He might come more often to your restaurant.

  9. Thanks for letting us share these exciting moments with your brilliant photos. I have blackbird dramas going on outside my window this moment – but have neither the skills nor the camera to capture them (and it is dull and raining).

  10. Great photos, as always. I did see Flash before I read that he was there. I did a double take – that can’t be a hummer interfering there, can it? Critters (and birds) are so unpredictable.

    • They are fascinating. Hummers are remarkable curious and brave. Any unusual animal, or person for that matter, that visits The Holler will receive a very close inspection by them. They seem inordinately fascinated by predators, but I have only seen them caught once in ten years.

  11. Your posts are getting more and more fun Cindy. I love the names and fun backstories for your holler critters. I like the name Flash and his spunk to bomb Big Bob! Go Flash! 🙂 Would an egret really eat a hummer?

    • Heck yes the egret will eat a hummingbird, if he is fast enough to catch one. The roadrunner likes to stand near hummers and make attempts to catch them. I have only seen him succeed once, thankfully, and he crowed around in front of me with the hummer in his beak like a house cat with a mouse!

  12. Growing up we lived on a hill above a huge forest that was, thankfully, marked as indigenous land (until it recently half of it went for a hefty price and turned into more housing in an already saturated area). There were all sorts of birds and small creatures living in there. My Mom kept saying that there was a blue heron which would fly over our house and down into the forest. Everyone told her she was crazy because they don’t come up this far north. But for a few years, there was actually a family of them that would spend the warmer months gracing our little part of the world. So, yes, they do not listen to what silly humans think should be the norm! I love all your creatures, but poor little Lizzie. 🙁

    • Oh how wonderful! What a excellent environment for a child to grow up in. It sounds so much like The Holler. We live next to a nature reserve and are surrounded by open space. It is a wonderful way to live and I could never go back to an urban life. I love that your mom was right about the herons and that groups of them came to stay. Smart mom and smart birds!

  13. Nature can seem cruel to us humans, but how else are critters gonna eat unless they catch their dinner? Great photo story, Cindy! I love the hummer — brave little spirit!

    • I love to watch them walk on land in slo-mo, lifting their feet up so high as if they walking through a foot of water. We live amidst citrus groves too. Maybe they like them!

  14. That is awesome to have Mr. Big-Bob walked right in front of your door. Poor Mr. Fred. I hope he has his new tail grow back fully.

    Very nice pictures of these animal friends.

    • There is this primal human aversion to reptiles. Maybe it kept us alive in the very olden history. Now I am much more averse towards people like president trump.

  15. That is fantastic indeed…the images are charming and ur way of telling and commenting on them is so exciting..

  16. I’m convinced that birds are major league gossips, and word gets around about good places to hang out. How long does it take for word to get around a feeder’s been refilled? Big Bob must have listened in on the grapevine.

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  18. Big Bob is quite a character! So is Flash! So you are “home in the Holler.” How far did your great southern expedition get this time? Did you make it to Antarctica? I know you have many more wonderful sights to show us; in our minds some of us are still in Patagonia! Thanks for the shared adventures!

    • Isn’t it the most wonderful thing to travel in your imagination! I do it all the time. It is excellent for your mental health and blood pressure. We didn’t cross the Drake Passage this time. The weather was not cooperative. Still it is always in my mind to go back to Antarctica. Our first time was so amazing though, I almost hate to ruin the perfect memories.

  19. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Cindy Knoke is back a the Holler catching up with the residents. There is danger afoot for short tailed lizards and their friends as Big-Bob hunts for breakfast and their only protection is a tiny hummingbird called flash who is brave enough to take on the gigantic predator… this would make a great movie.. Big-Bob and the Hummer. Fabulous photos as always from Cindy. Please head over and dive into her archives… take supplies you will be there for a while.

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  21. Oh, poor Lizzy.
    Fred reminds me of the many squiggly tails loking for their owners when I was a young kid in tropical Philippines. Young me was quite amused that the tails could move on their own. This adult me, however, is glad that Fred can grow back a new tail. 😁

  22. EGADS!!!! Or I suppose I should say EGRETS!!!!
    🎵🎵 Chain , chain, chain of food 🎵🎵 sung to the tune of “Chain of Fools” 😀

    • I am singing it now…… Love you Aretha!
      But just switched to Cocker:
      “Unchain my my heart, food chain, let me be,
      Unchain my heart, baby let me be
      Cause you don’t care, help me, set me free….”
      I can feel LIttle Lizzy singing along.
      Do you think they’ll check us in to the same ward??????
      I hope so.
      We will have so much fun!
      And we will pep the place up to no end!
      <3

  23. It’s amazingly well shot pics!! Loved the deep clarity! You take really nice pics!! And the story you spun around these was 👍!! Sad about lizzie though! Food chain!!

    • Thank you Sally! The spring migration is officially on at The Holler. The hummers are here in large numbers now and both The Orchard and Hooded Orioles have arrived. This is the best time of year here!!

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  25. Big Bob is a beautiful egret. Our last house was on a lake and we had a family of egrets in residence. It was fascinating to watch the stealth with which they captured their dinner.

  26. Great storyline Cindy. How tall is Big Bob? Oh, and I love this bit: “He belongs at the lake, but this is one of the many things I love about birds, they don’t follow human directions, and they pay no attention to where ornithologists say they should be.” We can learn a great deal from the animal kingdom.

  27. Great and interesting pictures but the question is……. where do you find these freaking birds?
    You travel alot, and the other question, can I go with you in one of your travels? I promise I won’t compromise things, I just sit dow with a bear and a cigarette and take selfies with them.
    love ya, had been time since I didn’t saw nature through your blog

  28. Coucou du matin ou du soir CINDY

    Regardant L’heure
    J’ai traversé toute la ville

    pour aller à la boulangerie chercher des croissants

    Et les partager avec toi avec un petit café

    https://s18.postimg.org/eo2wehdft/caf.jpg

    Et sur tes joues te dire bonjour ou bonsoir
    mon Amie (i) si précieux
    A la fraîcheur du matin
    J’ai entendu le chant des oiseaux

    J’ai vu le soleil qui se lever
    je t’envoie un grand bonjour plus chaud que le soleil ,
    plus clair que la lune, plus beau que le jour

    A la fraicheur de la nuit je me suis dis que tu étais encore la ALORS

    Qu’il fais bon te dire et te souhaiter une bonne journée ou soirée

    gros bisous.

    https://s31.postimg.org/69r6p0tgr/c5b0b7e3.gif

    Bernard

  29. Wow, Cindy! You are such a gifted photographer! I love egrets! They are so elegant. We see them here a lot. Last week while I was driving by the river, I saw a seagull fly above me. I looked up quickly just in time to see a fish flopping in its grip! It was amazing. 🙂

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