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Holler Hummers Battle The Centurion~

Each hummer wants this plant all to themself.

Between sips of nectar, they are constantly battling for dominion.

The plant is a blooming Century Plant or Agave Americana, that is the largest I have ever seen, big enough to feed hundreds of hummers. It is well over thirty feet tall and as wide as a telephone pole

Century Plants produce many offspring in their lives and we have lots of them at The Holler. You may notice the plant looks like a giant asparagus stalk. This is because it is related to the asparagus family. The Centurion stands guard by our front gate.

Other birdy pollinators, like orioles, love the nectar too, but they are far more civilized about sharing. The most they do is chatter endlessly at each other.

Bees are attracted en-mass to the centurion which blooms only once in a lifetime, and many 1000’s of bees are busily gathering pollen in the huge masses of flowers.

Century plants are not accurately named. They each live 10-30 years. Soon the entire plant will die, and the hummers will find something else to fight over.

Cheers to you from our giant pollen creator and the beautiful bickering pollinators~

Holler Hummer Portrait Day~

It was a big day at The Holler!

The hummers wanted their portraits taken.

First, there was lots of primping,

and fluffing.

A hummer’s feathers need to look their very best,

for such an auspicious occasion.

After their photo shoot, they got back to their favorite activity,

eating!

Cheers to you from The Holler Hummers~

Memories of Mary~

(These herons were photographed in South America and South Africa).

“So heavy
is the long-necked, long-bodied heron,
always it is a surprise
when her smoke-colored wings

open
and she turns
from the thick water,
from the black sticks

of the summer pond,
and slowly
rises into the air
and is gone.

Then, not for the first or the last time,
I take the deep breath
of happiness, and I think
how unlikely it is

that death is a hole in the ground,
how improbable
that ascension is not possible,
though everything seems so inert, so nailed

back into itself–
the muskrat and his lumpy lodge,
the turtle,
the fallen gate.

And especially it is wonderful
that the summers are long
and the ponds so dark and so many,
and therefore it isn’t a miracle

but the common thing,
this decision,
this trailing of the long legs in the water,
this opening up of the heavy body

into a new life: see how the sudden
gray-blue sheets of her wings
strive toward the wind; see how the clasp of nothing
takes her in.

Cheers to you from Mary Oliver’s Heavenly Herons~

Source: Heron Rises From The Dark, Summer Pond,  Mary Oliver.


Parrot Portraits~

Every couple of years I visit Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary in Southern California and play with the birds. Meet the Superb Parrot native to Australia. This is the only bird featured in this post that is not designated endangered or vulnerable in the wild.

Every time I visit, I leave wanting to adopt one of their birds, like this Eclectus Parrot, native to the Solomon Islands.

Free Flight was established by an avian veterinarian to rescue and rehabilitate pet parrots. They have several highly endangered Hyacinth Macaws which are the largest of the Macaw species.

Friendly and outgoing Yellow Naped Amazons live in Mexico and Central America.

Pretty in Pink Moluccan Cockatoos are native to Indonesia.

Free Flight birds live in an open aviary and interact readily with the people who come to visit them.

African Grey Parrots from the Congo are famous talkers. Despite myths to the contrary, bird brains are intelligent brains. Parrot brains in particular are similar in several important ways to primate brains.

Blue and gold macaw are native to South America.

Cheers to you from the beautiful, happy and healthy parrots, at Free Flight Exotic Bird Sanctuary~

For More on the non-profit sanctuary check out : https://www.freeflightbirds.org/about-free-flight

Peruvian Pelis~

Coquimbo Chile is a marine bird paradise!

It is home to the impressive Peruvian Pelican.

Peruvian Pelicans are twice the size of their northern cousins and stand up to five feet tall!

They somehow manage to look individually comical,

but sober as judges in a group.

These beauties were photographed in Coquimbo Chile, and on the Palomino and Ballestas Islands off the coast of Peru.

Cheers to you from the pretty as a picture Peruvian pelis~

Dear~

I found Bambi grazing on a lawn in Washington state!

He was surrounded by very watchful adults.

The adults were a bit wary of humans,

but Bambi was pure curiosity!

This adult had a massive yet cleanly healed scar that transversed her right side and formed a y flap crossing over her shoulder. This was a major injury that cut through lots of muscle. I wonder if a good samaritan veterinarian stitched her up?

Cheers to you from the peaceful, and very dear-deer~

Hanging Out w/ Transients~

Here they are coming over to say, “Hello!”

These orcas are part of a transient pod that hunt mammals in the waters off the coast of northern Washington.

This area used to be the territory of healthy pods of resident, salmon eating orcas. Many of these resident whales are now starving because their principal food source, salmon, have declined dramatically.

Their territorial waters are being taken over by transient whales who hunt local seals and seal lions.

Resident salmon eating orcas, and transient mammal eating orcas have evolved separately, speak different languages (yes, whales have languages), and have different behaviors and social structures.

The starvation of the resident orcas of the pacific northwest is yet another environmental tragedy endangering the lives of wild species.

Above you see a mother and calf kissing each other.

Then Mama and baby both decide to do a upside-down-under-boat-swim, so close to the hull , you could almost lean over the boat rails and touch their glowing blue bellies. They did this twice!

Why do you think?

And the most amazing thing? A grey whale did the exact same thing on our next trip.

We took two reasonably priced trips out of different parts of Washington, one for a full day, and another for a half day. On both trips we were allowed to spend about twenty minutes watching the orcas from a distance of about two football fields away, usually in fog, rain and rough seas. It is quite difficult to get decent orca photos in these conditions, but these rules are important because they protect orcas from harassment. Despite the limitations, we thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend both trips.

There are a variety of other tours available which allow you to spend more up-close time with pacific northwest orcas, but they can be very expensive, and maybe more intrusive. One three day trip for photographers for example cost $2500.00 per person. You can also book tours out of British Columbia, which we did years ago. On the Canadian tours we were accompanied by a orca biologist and were able to spend more up close time with the more plentiful Canadian orcas for a reasonable fee.

If you want to see wild orcas, do your research, and select a company that will best meet your expectations.

Cheers to you from the gorgeous orcas of the pacific northwest~