Archives

Wild Eyes~

When you look into these wild eyes,

what do you see?

I see,

wild hearts,

untamed,

yearning to be free.

These mountain lions were photographed at The Big Bear Alpine Zoo in Big Bear Lake California.

Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a rescue and rehabilitation facility that provides injured, orphaned and imprinted wild animals a safe haven, either temporarily as they heal, or permanently if they are unable to survive in the wild. 90% of the animals brought to the facility are released back into the wild.

There are 160 animals in the facility currently, comprising 60 different species. There is a golden eagle with one eye, a bear with three legs, a grizzly that was scheduled for euthanasia at Yellowstone, animals that were kept as pets and abandoned when they become too much to handle, and many more animals with sad histories.

A new zoo is under construction that will offer more spacious accommodation with glass enclosures. The zoo is owned by The Big Bear Department of Parks and Recreation and is staffed by county employees (Source: Big Bear Alpine Zoo).

Cheers to you from the gorgeous cats at The Big Bear Alpine Zoo~

For more information check out:

http://bigbearzoo.org/about/

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~

Hiking the Holler~

The Holler is surrounded by thousands of empty acres.

It has many oak groves, and permanent and seasonal creeks running through it.

900 of these acres are set aside as a permanent nature preserve, and many more 1000’s of acres are still free from human development.

There are no hiking trails or public access, but we live adjacent to the preserve and hike it several times a week.

The Holler was first settled in the 1890’s and consisted of 2,700 acres. It was a working ranch for much of its history. Crumbling fences and old ranch dirt roads remain. We hike the dirt roads, and game trails, which are everywhere.

This is the lower pasture below our house, and this is where we access the preserve.

Since people are not here, The Holler is full of wildlife and has an entirely different feel from hiking in parks that people frequent. This natural ecosystem is unique for over-developed Southern California.

We see oodles of tracks, coyotes, bobcat, cougar, raccoon, but no deer. There are no deer because there are too many predators for them to survive. There are lots of kill sites and bones scattered around, but I will spare you photos of these, even though I have them.

And of course there are hundreds of birds! Cheers to you from the still wild Holler~

Enraptured~

Elusive raptors,

rarely let you near.

When they do,

you are enraptured.

Melanistic red tail hawks have more melanin or pigment in their feathers than other hawks making them distinctive. It used to be thought these morphological distinctions were an isolated variant, but now scientists are noticing behavioral differences associated with the changes in feather color.

Melanistic hawks typically let me get much closer than other hawks and I wonder if this might be due to behavioral differences associated with their color variance. After all, it is often true, those who are different, are also braver!

Cheers to you from the brave and different hawks~

Romance & Fine Dining~

Spending the holidays with family in Santa Cruz California,

and spied this young egret on Christmas Day.

He had romance on his mind,

but his timing was all wrong.

He expected affection,

prior to,

fine dining!

Live and learn.

He got the dinner,

but not the date!

Cheers to you from sunny Santa Cruz~

Bluebirds of Happiness~

Western Bluebirds live at The Holler, but basically never visit The Holler Spa.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when these beauties showed up in force!

I am convinced they came,

as bluebirds of happiness,


to wish you a very Merry Christmas and even Happier New Year!

To you and yours this season,

and into the New Year,

Cheers from The Holler~

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluebird_of_happiness