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Hummer’s Mean Home: Part II (Flying)~


If you read Part I, you know about the greedy little capitalist. Above is one of his victims with a feather askew from a direct hit!

Here is another escaping his wrath.

The good news is, moving one of the greedy guy’s feeders into the bushes worked, and he is now under control.

Birds are feeding and flying freely once again at The Holler.


We now have three feeders up and about twenty birds actively feeding. This is less than prior years, probably because the persistent drought has ended, and The Holler and all the surrounding orchards are abloom with flowers, giving the hummers lots of dining options.

The orioles and Grosbeaks are here at the feeders too, also in smaller numbers for the same reason.

So once again, peace and harmony reigns at The Holler!


Cheers to you from The Holler’s Harmonious Hummers~

Drifting on Still Water~


“But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful,” WB Yeats

Swans swim,

in synchronized,


silhouettes.


Mama delicately rolls her precious eggs,


to keep them evenly warm,

and plucks her feathers to tuck them in.

Black swan,

slides in singular grace,


while Narcissus is bewitched by his own reflection.
Cheers to you from European swans in springtime~

Saker Falcon~


Saker Falcons live in Austria, Eastern Europe and Asia, including Russia.

They are considered an endangered bird due to rapid population declines in their Asian breeding grounds.

They are a large falcon species,
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that prey mostly on rodents and other birds.

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Sakers often hunt horizontally like Kestrels, not vertically like Peregrines.
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I watched a Saker swoop down on an unsuspecting pigeon, but my presence, in response to the pigeon cries, called off the hunt!
Cheers to you from the remarkable and endangered Saker Falcons~
(Note: These photos were taken in raptor reserves in Europe)

Curious Kestrels~


Are rare for me to find.


This pair was mating on the rooftops in Alsace France.


Kestrels are a type of falcon that live all over the world.


These were photographed in Canada and France.

Kestrels will hunt and nest in populated areas if prey is available.


They don’t bother building their own nests, preferring to steal other bird nests!


They often hover in mid-air over prey, before dropping to consume them.

Cheers to you from the quite handsome French & Canadian Kestrels~

Mandarins in Baden-Baden~


These guys weren’t part of my plan for the day!


I was going to show you Baden-Baden,

but the Mandarins got in my way!

Why are Mandarin Ducks swimming wild in Germany you may well wonder?


Although Mandarin Duck populations are dwindling in their native Russia and Asia, some escapees from captivity are breeding in the wild in Germany and The UK. I happened upon these guys today on the Oos River in Baden-Baden Germany.


So, it is cheers to you, and Happy Spring, from the gorgeous German Mandarins~

Alsatian Heart~


Pair of White Storks mating in Alsace France. (Click on photos to view full size).

The White Stork is the beloved emblem of the Alsace region of France and appears in symbols and art everywhere in the region.


Yet, by mid-1970, there were only ten mating pairs of White Storks left in Alsace.


They were virtually extinct in this area, although thriving in other parts of the world.


Today, due to local co-operative conservation efforts, there are now an estimated 600 mating pairs of White Storks in Alsace.


Stork populations were decimated mostly by power line electrocution and habitat destruction.

I was fortunate to see this pair in the process of mating and nest-building.

When we returned to our apartment after a day of stork watching, I photographed a pair of local falcon’s mating on a nearby balcony. It is springtime in France after all! Vive La France!

White Storks mate for life, and return to the same nests each year.

Cheers to you from Alsace’s beautiful, White Storks~

Flown Away~


Yep, we just did it again. It seems as as normal as staying home.There is so much to miss leaving The Holler.

The year round Holler hummers are brave in an non-conformist way, they choose not to migrate thousands of miles across the Gulf of Mexico, but to stay year round with us at The Holler, despite winter temps that frequently fall well below freezing and could easily kill them.

Other migrating travelers visit us seasonally.


There are four hummers that lived at The Holler year-round this year. These are two of them. They rely on our feeders and bugs to keep them alive year round.

Now we have flown off before the full complement of spring unfolds, missing all The Holler spring has to offer. Don’t worry, family remain at The Holler while we are away, to take care of all our critters including the birds.


I look forward to blogging as I travel and hope you will come along with me.

You make traveling a lot more fun and interesting!

3 Flights, 22 hours traveling time, and here we are,

ready to head further east.

Cheers to you from ancient Athens~
(Please do be patient iwth me if I am slower in responding, or unable to follow your blogs as closely as I would like, due to the realities of travel.)