Black Necked Stilts (BNS) are found from California to as far east as Florida, and as far south as Central America and the Galapagos.
They are waders and have the second longest leg to body proportions of any bird in the world excepting the flamingo (Cornell Lab of Ornithology).
These birds were photographed in The Salton Sea in Southern California.
The Salton Sea is the largest lake in California. It rests directly above The San Andreas Fault, and lies 71.9 meters below sea level.
The Salton Sea is under serious threat, is shrinking, and is heavily polluted.
The sea is considered the second most diverse and significant habitat for migrating birds in the US. Over 400 species have been identified here, and it is a critical migratory winter resting stop on The Pacific Flyway.
BNS populations are in decline due to habitat destruction and wetland pollution.
If the sea were to dry up, the millions of birds who rely on it during their annual migration would be imperiled.
It would become a giant toxic dust-bowl threatening the public health of millions of Californians. The shrinking of the sea is already emitting toxic dust and chemicals harming human health. Effective plans do exist to save and refresh the sea, but no plans exist to date, to implement them.
Cheers to you from the threatened Black Necked Stilts at the vulnerable Salton Sea~
Like the hummers, we have flown away,
to a place where wi-fi doesn’t fly.
I can’t get a satellite signal consistent enough to upload,
here in The Cook Islands.
But, I am getting stunning island vistas.
Sending Holler Hummer hopes that you are healthy and well,
and looking forward to connecting with you when we fly back to civilization.
Until then, cheers to you from the incredible Cooks~
Create their own vibrant light.
Phaninopepla, dark as midnight,
in full light, is radiant dark blue, with deep red eyes.
Male orioles, kings of beauty, rock yellow and black,
while male grosbeaks flash black, orange and white.
Mr Jay will drive our blues away,
as hummingbirds fly their own private rainbows!
Cheers to you from The Holler’s colorful creatures~
Are underrated. (Click and enlarge to see the tiny details).
Like this Holler bathing birdie,
a California Towhee, who isn’t much impressed with the paparazzi, smart birdie!
This yellow house finch has a deformed beak and foot, but is doing well on Holler handouts.
Male yellow house finches are less successful with the ladies than their ruby colored cousins, but I think the ladies lack vision.
Mocking Birds may be common,
but they are oh so smart, and very handsome.
House finches are everywhere,
but are really quite adorable!
Cheers to you from The Holler common folk~
These birdies give us a good sense of how difficult bird identification is, and why I am sometimes uncertain of my labels. If you find I am wrong with an identification, please don’t hesitate to set me straight. I welcome the help. This is a male Kelp Goose who was photographed at the furthest southern point in Argentina. Kelp Geese are part of the sheldrake family and range from the southern portion of Patagonian Chile to Tierra del Fuego and The Falkland Islands. They have yellow legs and feet.
Here we have a Kelp Goose chick, note the dark legs on the chick, and the yellow legs on the adult.
These are Upland Geese. They are also birds of the far south. They have the same basic coloration as male and female Kelp Geese, but male Upland Geese have black feet and females have yellow feet. I was pretty sure this was a female Upland Goose because she and the male had a chick which you can see below.
The chick had black feet too! Are you confused yet? This is why I would never swear by my identifications….
Here you can’t see the feet at all but this is the same pair that I am betting are Upland Geese. This family was photographed in The Falkland Islands.
In this group shot, the legs are not really cooperating, but my guess is still Upland Geese, males with black legs, and females with yellow. But they could be Ruddy Headed Geese.
Check this out: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/saving-a-species-by-splitting-it-the-case-of-the-ruddy-headed-goose/
You have to be kinda confused my now, I am. Still I’m going with Upland until someone corrects me….
Here is a Male Upland Goose with Magellanic Penguins in the Falkland Islands. At least we can be sure of the penguins right? Don’t be too sure. They are some other penguins mixed in with this colony, but thankfully this shot is far enough away, and we can’t see well enough to sort this out! Laughing……
These are Patagonian Crested Ducks. They live in the same far southern region and there are about 10,000 estimated breeding pairs of these ducks in existence. This pair was in Ushuaia Argentina.
This guy is a year old Dolphin Gull, whose coloration is entirely different from adults whose photos I posted on my previous post. They are this color when they are young and change as they mature. He was in Tierra del Fuego and is also a bird of the far south.
This cutey is a Grass Wren, known as a Sage Wren in North America. He sings beautifully and was photographed in The Falkland Islands.
And finally we have a Southern Lapwing. This bird is found extensively throughout South America and extends to the very tip of the continent.
The good news is, we aren’t having a test on any of this, so we can just enjoy the beautiful birds, and hope I identified them correctly.
Cheers to you from the many amazing birdies of the far south~
There are lots of birdies in the southern hemisphere! They can fly where humans (and boats) flounder.
This osprey was the furthest north of all the birds pictured here. Ospreys are the most widely distributed bird in the world after peregrine falcons, and can be found on every continent except Antarctica. This guy was in Peru.
Magellanic Oystercatchers live on the tip of South America in Argentina, Chile, and The Falkland, Sandwich, and South Georgia Islands.
Peruvian Pelican’s are a near threatened species and are twice the size of their Brown Pelican cousins.
They can be found off the coasts of northern and southern Chile and Argentina. Standing next to them, they reached my shoulder!
These Brown Pelicans live as far south as the northern coast of Chile, which is where their territories overlap with Peruvian Pelicans whose distribution continues to the south.
This juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron,
was busy catching and swallowing a snake!
Cheers to you from the incredible birds of the southern hemisphere, and stay tuned for more, even further south~
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~