Ghost ranches, buried old cars, coyote packs, a former free range Ankole Watusi bull, The Holler is definitely an odd place, which is why we fit in so well!
Take this thorny tree for example. It is a Silk Floss tree and is about 50 feet tall.
This time of year it is covered in plate sized cotton poofs.
The poofs develop from large seed pods.
In the fall, the tree drops its leaves and devotes all its energy to producing masses of beautiful blooms.
The Holler abuts a large nature preserve and is built on very old orchards. Back in the day, orchard workers lived on site and indulged in their love of exotic plants and trees, many of which are still thriving and producing today.
I often wish I could tell them how much we appreciate living with the beautiful results of their talent and effort.
These photos were taken over the years in California, at Borrego Springs State Park, The Annenberg Gardens in Palm Springs, and Death Valley National Park. (Note: Image three is posted upside down, while image four is right-side up!)
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~
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~