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.
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~
The Holler is surrounded by thousands of empty acres.
It has many oak groves, and permanent and seasonal creeks running through it.
900 of these acres are set aside as a permanent nature preserve, and many more 1000’s of acres are still free from human development.
There are no hiking trails or public access, but we live adjacent to the preserve and hike it several times a week.
The Holler was first settled in the 1890’s and consisted of 2,700 acres. It was a working ranch for much of its history. Crumbling fences and old ranch dirt roads remain. We hike the dirt roads, and game trails, which are everywhere.
This is the lower pasture below our house, and this is where we access the preserve.
Since people are not here, The Holler is full of wildlife and has an entirely different feel from hiking in parks that people frequent. This natural ecosystem is unique for over-developed Southern California.
We see oodles of tracks, coyotes, bobcat, cougar, raccoon, but no deer. There are no deer because there are too many predators for them to survive. There are lots of kill sites and bones scattered around, but I will spare you photos of these, even though I have them.
And of course there are hundreds of birds! Cheers to you from the still wild Holler~