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Holler Oddities~

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.

Cheers to you from the very odd Holler~

Sea Koalas~

Wild California Sea Otters,

remind me,

of floating koala bears.

Like koalas they have a laid back approach to life,

and don’t sweat the small stuff!

This pup is clearly embracing the parental philosophy.

Cheers to you from Moro Bay California’s wild sea otters~

Feathers, Fortresses & Flora~

These are just three of the many reasons I love Oz. Most of the creatures are very friendly!

Tasmanian countryside.

Old church, in the former penal colony,

Port Arthur, Tasmania.


Tasmanian,

flora is unique and stunning.

Old Government House, Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney.

Flower Arrangement in the Government House. We met and chatted with the Governor of New South Wales while touring Government House where she lives (I told you, Oz is a friendly place!)

Royal botanical garden Sydney.

Cheers to you from just a few of the reasons I love Oz~

Desert Reflected~

In a topsy-turvy world,

that spins,

like a ball,

in space,

plants grow upside down,

and fish swim in trees.

Cheers to you,

from a pond’s point of view~

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!)

Two heads~

Giraffes know that two heads,

work better than one.

You can look two ways at the same time,

and one head can prod another along!

Three heads are even better than two,

but prone to disagree about directions.

Compromise must be worked out.

Four heads can be confusing,

but giraffes will usually agree.

I wonder, why can’t we?

Cheers to you for the cooperative giraffes of Kruger National Park.

(Note: This is a reworked post from photos taken in 2015.)

Grace on Wings~

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~

For more about Avocets see:

https://nhpbs.org/natureworks/avocet.htm

Arctic Desert Denizens~

More than a million snow geese migrate to California each year.

They have been following this same migration pattern,

for millennia.

They come from Russia, Alaska and Canada.

Over 30,000 of them winter at The Salton Sea in Southern California.

It is always disconcerting,

to see thousands of these arctic birdies,

sunning in the desert.

Sandhill cranes from Canada soak up the sun here too.

Cheers to you from the arctic desert birdies~

Shrike the Impaler~

The Salton Sea in Southern California is home, at various times of the year, to 424 species of birds.

The Loggerhead Shrike is a song bird who is a tough ten inches of feathered lethality!

Listen to his song repertoire by clicking on the link (be patient, it takes him a bit to warm up!)

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Loggerhead_Shrike/sounds

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~

Look Who Came to Play Today~

A burrowing owl,

at his Salton Sea home in California.

He stayed out for his modeling shoot,

and didn’t fly off or run into his burrow.

He was definitely ready for his close-ups!

Burrowing owls (athene cunicularia hypugaea) are a California species of special concern and are listed as endangered in Canada and threatened in Mexico due to excessive development and habitat loss.

This is his Salton Sea home.

Cheers to you from Southern California’s sociable burrowing owl~

Escapist Landscapes Pt. 1~

Feeling a bit stressed out these days? (The Beagle Channel Argentina).

Who isn’t? (Banff National Park Canada),

Let’s escape (Coastal Norway),

to peaceful places (Vancouver Island Canada),

and forget our worries (Zermatt Switzerland),

for awhile (Huahine French Polynesia).

I will do another peaceful images post after this (Yellowstone National Park),

because we all benefit from balancing negativity with peace and beauty (Grand Teton National Park).

Cheers to you and remember the beauty~