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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~

Critter Close Ups~

Pensive Vervet Kruger National Park.

South African zebra Poses for her portrait.

Happy ostrich is ready for a close up,

while artfully made up Ms. Giraffe puts on the glam.

Barbary Ape in Gibraltar looks ready for a serious conversation.

Magellanic penguin stares me down in Ushuaia, Argentina.

California Channel Island Fox poses quite smartly,

while a elephant seal pup in California spins happily in the sea.

Bald Eagle in British Columbia Canada looks at me judgmentally.

Cheers to you from your portrait perfect friends ~

Holler Still Life~

David Austin Roses were my centerpiece for Thanksgiving. (Click to enlarge.)

Same bouquet photographed with flash.

Holler roses are still blooming!

Mixed Thanksgiving bouquet.

They show more color with flash.

Koko Loko roses are thriving now at The Holler. They bloom cocoa colored and turn pale lavender.

Star of Holland Amaryllis are early, which is a first, because I was home to plant them.

Narcissus are also early due to surprise rain.

Cheers to you from The Holler in winter~

Feathers~

Mother cormorant with her hungry chick.

Australian tawny frogmouth sleeps while keeping one eye on me.

Bush stone curlew looks to the sky for inspiration,

and leads me away from the nest.

Great blue heron,

with fishing line snared on his foot,

walks by me warily.

Cheers to you from our feathered friends~

Note: I thought this was a great blue heron, but my clever blogging friend Eliza Waters, informs me it is a white faced heron. I am so lucky to have blogging friends like Eliza, and you. Many thanks to all of you. It is wonderful to be a part of all of you. Keep on blogging~

Escape~

to a garden of dreams,

where worries vanish,

in a tulip trance,

while daffodils dance.

There are over seven million tulips,

in the Keukenhof gardens in The Netherlands.

A perfect place to dream your day away.

I am home for the winter at The Holler, but send you springtime cheers from Keukenhof~

Flamingos~

If the headlines are stressing you out,

why not fly with me to visit some flamingos.

These lucky flamingos in Argentina, take off, at the slightest hint of trouble,

and flaming go!

Greater Flamingos,

and Lesser Flamingos, are just as adept at flaming going!

Wish we all could do the same.

Cheers to you from The Holler~

Note: I am currently hunkering down at The Holler and am posting some older photos you may not have seen.

Swoopers~



Wild Australian magpies are inquisitive, wise, friendly, and fun to interact with. Like most creatures, they are usually respectful to you, if you are respectful of them.

But, they do swoop!

Swooping means they attack humans, other animals, cars, etc., causing about a thousand human injuries in Australia each spring. See:

https://www.science.org.au/curious/earth-environment/how-survive-magpie-swooping-season

They swoop if they perceive their nestlings are in danger….

or maybe, if they are having an irritating day.

Like all corvids, they have excellent memories and hold grudges, so if you bothered a corvid in the past, you better steer clear during swooping season, or else be ready to duck down really fast!

Cheers to you from Australia’s marvelous-memoried, moody-magpies~

Bad Hair Day?

I can so relate.

Thanks to covid, it has been seven months since my hair has been professionally cut.

I cut my hair with my husband’s buzzer and it looks much like this kookaburra.

Actually, it looks much better on a kookaburra!

My friend told me, I look, “natural,” which is nice friend speak for “God awful, but real.”

I’m cool with real.

If it’s good enough for the Kookaburra, it’s good enough for me.

Cheers to you and keep smiling~