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Grace on Wings~

The Salton Sea in Southern California lies 227 feet below sea level. It is the largest lake in California and shelters at various times of the year, half of the variety of bird species found in the United States. Millions of birds visit the sea annually.

American Avocets get their name from the Italian word ‘avosetta,’ which means graceful.

They are slender waders that feed mainly on crustaceans and insects.

Avocets used to be widespread across the United States,

but the species was killed off in much of it’s eastern range by the early 1900’s.

The Salton Sea is a critical habitat for these, and many other bird species, but the sea is shrinking due to climate change and increased human demands for water. Efforts are underway to help save the sea and the birds that rely on it. Time will tell if these efforts will be enough.

Cheers to you from the graceful avosettas at The Salton Sea~

For more about Avocets see:

https://nhpbs.org/natureworks/avocet.htm

Arctic Desert Denizens~

More than a million snow geese migrate to California each year.

They have been following this same migration pattern,

for millennia.

They come from Russia, Alaska and Canada.

Over 30,000 of them winter at The Salton Sea in Southern California.

It is always disconcerting,

to see thousands of these arctic birdies,

sunning in the desert.

Sandhill cranes from Canada soak up the sun here too.

Cheers to you from the arctic desert birdies~

Shrike the Impaler~

The Salton Sea in Southern California is home, at various times of the year, to 424 species of birds.

The Loggerhead Shrike is a song bird who is a tough ten inches of feathered lethality!

Listen to his song repertoire by clicking on the link (be patient, it takes him a bit to warm up!)

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Loggerhead_Shrike/sounds

Loggerhead shrikes sing beautifully, and kill quite effectively, resulting in a couple of common nicknames for them including, ‘the butcher bird’ or ‘the littlest bad ass.’

They kill prey like lizards by impaling them on thorns or barbwire fences. They are tough little birdies.

Despite their toughness, loggerhead shrike populations in California have declined 72% since 1967. They are designated a ‘California Species of Special Concern.’ Efforts by California’s Audubon Society are achieving some success in bringing California shrike population numbers back up. I was thrilled to see this very curious little guy who seemed almost as interested in me as I was in him!

Cheers to you from California’s oh so curious, and oh so beautiful, lethal-little-loggerhead shrike~

Look Who Came to Play Today~

A burrowing owl,

at his Salton Sea home in California.

He stayed out for his modeling shoot,

and didn’t fly off or run into his burrow.

He was definitely ready for his close-ups!

Burrowing owls (athene cunicularia hypugaea) are a California species of special concern and are listed as endangered in Canada and threatened in Mexico due to excessive development and habitat loss.

This is his Salton Sea home.

Cheers to you from Southern California’s sociable burrowing owl~

Critter Close Ups~

Pensive Vervet Kruger National Park.

South African zebra Poses for her portrait.

Happy ostrich is ready for a close up,

while artfully made up Ms. Giraffe puts on the glam.

Barbary Ape in Gibraltar looks ready for a serious conversation.

Magellanic penguin stares me down in Ushuaia, Argentina.

California Channel Island Fox poses quite smartly,

while a elephant seal pup in California spins happily in the sea.

Bald Eagle in British Columbia Canada looks at me judgmentally.

Cheers to you from your portrait perfect friends ~

Feathers~

Mother cormorant with her hungry chick.

Australian tawny frogmouth sleeps while keeping one eye on me.

Bush stone curlew looks to the sky for inspiration,

and leads me away from the nest.

Great blue heron,

with fishing line snared on his foot,

walks by me warily.

Cheers to you from our feathered friends~

Note: I thought this was a great blue heron, but my clever blogging friend Eliza Waters, informs me it is a white faced heron. I am so lucky to have blogging friends like Eliza, and you. Many thanks to all of you. It is wonderful to be a part of all of you. Keep on blogging~

Flamingos~

If the headlines are stressing you out,

why not fly with me to visit some flamingos.

These lucky flamingos in Argentina, take off, at the slightest hint of trouble,

and flaming go!

Greater Flamingos,

and Lesser Flamingos, are just as adept at flaming going!

Wish we all could do the same.

Cheers to you from The Holler~

Note: I am currently hunkering down at The Holler and am posting some older photos you may not have seen.

Swoopers~



Wild Australian magpies are inquisitive, wise, friendly, and fun to interact with. Like most creatures, they are usually respectful to you, if you are respectful of them.

But, they do swoop!

Swooping means they attack humans, other animals, cars, etc., causing about a thousand human injuries in Australia each spring. See:

https://www.science.org.au/curious/earth-environment/how-survive-magpie-swooping-season

They swoop if they perceive their nestlings are in danger….

or maybe, if they are having an irritating day.

Like all corvids, they have excellent memories and hold grudges, so if you bothered a corvid in the past, you better steer clear during swooping season, or else be ready to duck down really fast!

Cheers to you from Australia’s marvelous-memoried, moody-magpies~

Bad Hair Day?

I can so relate.

Thanks to covid, it has been seven months since my hair has been professionally cut.

I cut my hair with my husband’s buzzer and it looks much like this kookaburra.

Actually, it looks much better on a kookaburra!

My friend told me, I look, “natural,” which is nice friend speak for “God awful, but real.”

I’m cool with real.

If it’s good enough for the Kookaburra, it’s good enough for me.

Cheers to you and keep smiling~

Big Gulps~

Hungry gull,

in Coeur d’Alene Idaho,

doesn’t believe in catch and release,

and never feels too full to fly!

Yellow billed stork in Kruger National Park catches catfish at Sunset Dam,

and needs a leg up to swallow it whole!

Cheers to you from your feast & fly feathered fowl friends~