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Islas Ballestas~

Islas Ballestas, an island group off the coast of Paracas, are often referred to as Peru’s Galapagos. They are a group of uninhabited islands that are part of the wildlife rich, Paracas National Reserve. This is a colony of Guanay Cormorants native to Peru and Chile.

You cannot visit the islands without passing the giant Candelabra carved into the rock face and carbon dated to 200 BCE.

The islands shelter an incredible variety of fauna. There are literally millions of birds and their feathers float and fill the air like lazy drifting snowflakes.


There are fur seals, Humboldt penguins, Inca terns, blue footed boobies, and so many more amazing wild creatures here. I will show you them in my next few posts.

But for now, let’s just look at these unusual islands.

They are volcanic, and riddled with arches and ancient sea caves. The layers in the caves show the process of geologic time.

You can go in the caves, if you dare, and if you do, look at what you will see!

Cheers to you from Peru’s incredible islands~

Green Winged & Scarlet Macaws~

Green Winged Macaws have green feathers on their wings and red feathers on their faces. They are red, green and blue, and live in South America.

Scarlet Macaws are red, yellow and and blue, with white faces.

Scarlets live in South and Central America and Mexico.

I was amazed to come upon this friendly scarlet in Costa Rica.

I couldn’t figure out why he was performing for me, until his mate turned up, and I realized they were feeding their chick in a nest in the hollow of this tree.

I have never seen nesting wild macaws so this was quite a thrill!

Macaw populations are scattered in the wild and rare to find.

Their numbers have been decimated by habitat destruction and the pet parrot trade.

Macaws are highly intelligent and mate for life.

Cheers to you from the incredible Macaws~

Bird on a Wire~

Ospreys aren’t usually avid people watchers.

But this guy was!

He couldn’t hide his cross-eyed curiosity about the strange human looking up at him.

Eventually, he resumed more raptor-like disdain,

and went about the serious business of people ignoral.

He focused on anything but the nosy photographer.

Finally, my presence outlived his patience,

and off he flew in a rapturous huff!

Cheers to you from the people-watching osprey~

Local Feathers~

Stellar Jays live in the pine forests in Southern California’s mountains.

Oregon Dark Eyed Juncos are local birds and are related to sparrows.

Burrowing Owls are “a species of special concern,” in Southern California, where much of their natural habitat has been destroyed by development. Petitions are being submitted to the state to change their status to endangered.

This handsome jay was hanging out on a picnic table, waiting for a handout.

So, of course, I gave him one!

Juncos are quite tiny, and rather shy, so they are hard for me to photograph. This guy was unusually cooperative!

Burrowing owls nest underground to hide from raptors and raise their young. People and organizations all over California are setting up underground Burrowing Owl boxes to help shelter and protect these adorable owls. It is a rare thrill to see them out of the boxes curious about the human who is photographing them! These guys were being sheltered by The Big Bear Zoo & Rehabilitation Center.

Cheers to you from a few of our local feathers~

Red Shafted Flicker~

The Northern Flicker is a type of woodpecker.

In the western US, Flickers have red cheeks and tail feathers, but in the east they have yellow accents.

This guy was so relaxed around me, he started snoozing while I was photographing him,

and then hopped over for a closer look!

I photographed him in The San Bernardino Mountains, near Big Bear Lake California.


These photos were taken before the region was hit with five major storms, leaving several feet of snow and alleviating the drought.

Cheers To you from snowy & birdie, Southern California~

Peeps~

Peeps are the world’s tiniest Sandpipers.

They weigh 3/4 of an ounce and stand just a couple inches tall.

They run speedily along the beach like frenetic tiny housekeepers, catching all sorts of little crabs to eat.

Here they are politely sharing a sandcrab lunch!

You can see how tiny they are in comparison to a Western Gull and a Godwit Sandpiper.

These peeps are Western Sandpipers.

They winter along the California coast and breed in Alaska and Siberia.

These constantly busy little birds are super entertaining to watch.

Cheers to you from California’s winter peeps~

Big Morongo Canyon Preserve~

The Big Morongo Canyon Preserve is a verdant oasis in Southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains.

The 31,000 acre canyon is surrounded by desert,

and is one of California’s ten largest perennial oases.

The preserve is a riparian wilderness with Palm Trees, Cottonwood Trees and Willows, as well as a variety of native shrubs and flowers.

It is a critical wildlife corridor sheltering mountain lion, bighorn sheep, mule deer and bobcat.

It is also hosts up to 274 different varieties of birds during the spring and fall migrations.

The marsh like preserve is perpetually flowering even in late fall and winter.

Cheers to you from the happy wildlife at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve~