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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~

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~