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Australian King Parrot~

Even the females are kings!

Female Kings have green heads and red bodies.

Males are the only Australian parrot with a completely red head.

Although king parrots appear red and green to us,

birds have an extra cone in their eyes that enable them to see ultraviolet wavelengths.

Under ultraviolet light, some of the King Parrots wing feathers glow with golden light, like a crown.

King Parrots mate for life and often are seen in pairs like these two.

Cheers to you from the beautiful Aussie kings~

Who are you said the Black Cockatoo?

Yesterday was the last day before we left Booderee National Park in New South Wales, to follow more of The Yellow Brick Road in Oz.

We have been seeing so many truly beautiful birds, but none of the vulnerable Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo, which is an enormous and very impressive cockatoo.

Yellow Tails are a vulnerable species, facing rapid population decline, due to habitat destruction and human predation, hence they they tend to be shy around people they don’t know

I had seen Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos here eleven years ago, but was packing my suitcase, resigned to not having a repeat experience, when I spied this one out my window.

I found my Wizard of Oz! And now, you have too.

Cheers to you from all The Wizards in magical Oz~

Kookaburra Day~

I spent the day with this guy as my constant companion. Wherever I went, there he was!


There could be no better welcoming committee in the world.

He even laughed!

I basically fell head over heels.

Kookaburras are carnivorous birds, so he wasn’t looking for food.

He was just curious and friendly.

You have to admit, he is one of the cutest birds you have ever seen.

Oz really is for the birds,

which means, Oz is for me too!

Cheers to you from the laughing Kookaburra~

(Note: Heading to Tasmania, so excuse me when I am absent. I will check in when I can. Until then, be well!)

The Lizard of Oz~

Meet the Australian Water Lizard. They like to climb trees and drop down on rivers and lakes to hunt. They can remain submerged for up to 90 minutes. Males can reach up to 3 feet in length.

“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore….”

How adorable is this Noisy Miner chick?

Masked Lapwings are one of the reasons I so love birds.

Who else but a bird could have a face like this?

There is the Australian White Ibis,

the gregarious Australian Magpie,

always assertive Silver Gull,

and shy and lovely Australian Wood Duck.

We are on the move now, exploring new places, so please excuse me when I am less present than I wish I could be.

Cheers to you from magical Oz~

Hope~

is the thing with feathers,

(seagulls fishing Washington state)

that perches in the soul,

(puffin in the open ocean off Washington state)

and sings the tune without the words,

and never stops, at all.

(Steller’s jay California).

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,

and on the strangest sea,

(dark-eyed junco California)

yet never in extremity,

(American robin Washington state)


it asked a crumb of me.

(red winged blackbird Washington state)

Cheers to you from Emily & her winged harbingers of hope~

Poem extracts, ‘Hope is the Thing With Feathers,’ Emily Dickinson.

Holler Hummers Battle The Centurion~

Each hummer wants this plant all to themself.

Between sips of nectar, they are constantly battling for dominion.

The plant is a blooming Century Plant or Agave Americana, that is the largest I have ever seen, big enough to feed hundreds of hummers. It is well over thirty feet tall and as wide as a telephone pole

Century Plants produce many offspring in their lives and we have lots of them at The Holler. You may notice the plant looks like a giant asparagus stalk. This is because it is related to the asparagus family. The Centurion stands guard by our front gate.

Other birdy pollinators, like orioles, love the nectar too, but they are far more civilized about sharing. The most they do is chatter endlessly at each other.

Bees are attracted en-mass to the centurion which blooms only once in a lifetime, and many 1000’s of bees are busily gathering pollen in the huge masses of flowers.

Century plants are not accurately named. They each live 10-30 years. Soon the entire plant will die, and the hummers will find something else to fight over.

Cheers to you from our giant pollen creator and the beautiful bickering pollinators~

Holler Hummer Portrait Day~

It was a big day at The Holler!

The hummers wanted their portraits taken.

First, there was lots of primping,

and fluffing.

A hummer’s feathers need to look their very best,

for such an auspicious occasion.

After their photo shoot, they got back to their favorite activity,

eating!

Cheers to you from The Holler Hummers~

Memories of Mary~

(These herons were photographed in South America and South Africa).

“So heavy
is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,
always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings

open
and she turns
from the thick water,
from the black sticks

of the summer pond,
and slowly
rises into the air
and is gone.

Then, not for the first or the last time,
I take the deep breath
of happiness, and I think
how unlikely it is

that death is a hole in the ground,
how improbable
that ascension is not possible,
though everything seems so inert, so nailed

back into itself–
the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
the turtle,
the fallen gate.

And especially it is wonderful
that the summers are long
and the ponds so dark and so many,
and therefore it isn’t a miracle

but the common thing,
this decision,
this trailing of the long legs in the water,
this opening up of the heavy body

into a new life: see how the sudden
gray-blue sheets of her wings
strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing
takes her in.

Cheers to you from Mary Oliver’s Heavenly Herons~

Source: Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond,  Mary Oliver.