Along Came A Spider~

Who sat down beside her.

Tarantulas measure around five inches in length, eleven inches if accurately measured. See:,weight%E2%80%94more%20than%206%20ounces.)

And she frightened (click/tap to enlarge photos).

Mr. Tarantula away.

Tarantula Hawks sting large tarantulas to the point of paralysis, and lay their eggs on them, which then feed on the paralyzed tarantula until it dies. Tarantula hawks have the second most painful insect sting in the world. This is the closest I have ever gotten to one even though they are here all the time. I happened to be sitting next to this one as it peacefully gathered pollen. Unfortunately I didn’t have my full zoom camera or there would be more up close detail.’Number%20two%20is%20broadly%20comparable,that%20of%20a%20velvet%20ant.

Reflecting pool Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage.

Sunnylands Garden Rancho Mirage.

Cheers to you,

from The Holler~


Century Plants look like giant asparagus and are members of the aspargus family.

Their name is derived because they are said to bloom,

once a century,

and then die.

We have at least a hundred or more at The Holler.

When they bloom,

the stalks are well over 20 feet tall.

They are magnets for pollinators,

especially bees and hummingbirds.

The hummingbirds fight relentlessly for control over the massive stalks.

Our century plants bloom about every ten years and reproduce prodigiously via underground root systems.

Cheers to you from The Holler Centurions~

Look Who Showed Up at The Holler~

Tiny Scaly Breasted Munias are native to India and Southeast Asia (click/tap to enlarge).

I told you birds,

don’t pay attention,

to where they are ‘supposed’ to be!

They looked as surprised to see me as I was to see them, but we are getting used to each other.

There is a whole flock of them.

It turns out these birds were sold in US pet stores as Nutmeg Mannikins.

Some escaped and have been breeding in Southern California.

I had a dickens of a time identifying them because they are not native.

Cheers to you from the new Holler locals who are fitting in quite nicely with the neighbors~

Bullocks Orioles~

This Bullocks Oriole is not sticking his tongue out at you, or me (click to enlarge).

He is eating grape jelly. Orioles are grape jelly fiends. At The Holler, strawberry, or other fruit jellies won’t do. Only ants and wasps will eat it.

We have two types of orioles at The Holler. Hooded Orioles and Bullocks Orioles.

These are all Bullocks Oriole males.

This is a Hooded Oriole male. He is more elongated, has a larger beak, and is a brighter yellow color.

A mated male and female Bullocks Oriole pair. Bullocks Orioles males have the dramatic black eyeliner at the outside corners of their eyes and are more orange in color.

All orioles are extremely argumentative! This male Bullocks Oriole holds his own in a fierce debate against a more formidable Mocking Bird.

Cheers to you from all the quarrelsome Holler Orioles~