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Café del Pintor~

Wow! The everywhere art in Valparaiso Chile exceeds it’s reputation for being arguably the best street art in the world.

There is so much amazing talent to share with you, but let’s start here, this is the front door of the ‘Café of the Artist,’ painted by a male Chilean art student depicting everyday scenes from the town of Valparaiso.

The waiter explained to me that the art in this restaurant was painted by two art students, one a French female whose mind boggling talent you are looking at now. (Please click to enlarge).

Since internet is slow, I can’t look these artists up, but I will when I can.

Maybe you can find out for me?

All I know is pure talent when I see it.

The first two paintings of the café sign and the entry door were done by the Chilean student, and are depictions of Valparaiso, as is the one above.

Here is another mural focusing on culture and heritage.

I didn’t take photos of the food which is a shame because I was too distracted by the art, but the food was ethereal. If you come to Valparaiso, eat here and bring your camera.

Cheers from Valparaiso, the city of living art and excellent food~

Bird on a Wire~

Ospreys aren’t usually avid people watchers.

But this guy was!

He couldn’t hide his cross-eyed curiosity about the strange human looking up at him.

Eventually, he resumed more raptor-like disdain,

and went about the serious business of people ignoral.

He focused on anything but the nosy photographer.

Finally, my presence outlived his patience,

and off he flew in a rapturous huff!

Cheers to you from the people-watching osprey~

Local Feathers~

Stellar Jays live in the pine forests in Southern California’s mountains.

Oregon Dark Eyed Juncos are local birds and are related to sparrows.

Burrowing Owls are “a species of special concern,” in Southern California, where much of their natural habitat has been destroyed by development. Petitions are being submitted to the state to change their status to endangered.

This handsome jay was hanging out on a picnic table, waiting for a handout.

So, of course, I gave him one!

Juncos are quite tiny, and rather shy, so they are hard for me to photograph. This guy was unusually cooperative!

Burrowing owls nest underground to hide from raptors and raise their young. People and organizations all over California are setting up underground Burrowing Owl boxes to help shelter and protect these adorable owls. It is a rare thrill to see them out of the boxes curious about the human who is photographing them! These guys were being sheltered by The Big Bear Zoo & Rehabilitation Center.

Cheers to you from a few of our local feathers~

Flow River Flow~

The Holler is getting hammered by storm after storm. This is the view looking north from our back patio, taken on Valentines Day as The Holler was being hit with the most massive rain storm. You can see raindrops on the lens. My iphone sent me 6 flash-flood warnings in 24 hours.

Here is the lower pasture being chewed up by the little creek which turned into a rapid-filled, raging river. The pasture gate is the white structure in the back left of the photo. It partially collapsed in the onslaught.


The river flows.
It flows to the sea.
Wherever that river goes,
that’s where I want to be.
Flow river flow,
past the shaded tree.
Go river, go, to the sea.

(Lyrics: The Byrds)

We hiked along the creek in the pouring rain on Valentines Day. You can see my son by the oxbow, to give you perspective on how big the creek is. It was thirty feet wide at some sections and was carrying logs and trees along like matchsticks!

Our rain gauge kept over-filling at 6 inches, and more storms are on the horizon.

Southern California is getting more snow than Boston, and the Sierras have the biggest snowpack in the country.

This is The Holler looking east this morning. It is still snowing in the mountains, which are obscured by clouds, but there is sunshine here today, with more rain forecasted.

And this is the view to the west. Our multi-year drought is finally over!! Cheers to you from the very wet, and very happy, Holler~

Red Shafted Flicker~

The Northern Flicker is a type of woodpecker.

In the western US, Flickers have red cheeks and tail feathers, but in the east they have yellow accents.

This guy was so relaxed around me, he started snoozing while I was photographing him,

and then hopped over for a closer look!

I photographed him in The San Bernardino Mountains, near Big Bear Lake California.


These photos were taken before the region was hit with five major storms, leaving several feet of snow and alleviating the drought.

Cheers To you from snowy & birdie, Southern California~

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~