Melanistic red tail hawks have more melanin or pigment in their feathers than other hawks making them distinctive. It used to be thought these morphological distinctions were an isolated variant, but now scientists are noticing behavioral differences associated with the changes in feather color.
Melanistic hawks typically let me get much closer than other hawks and I wonder if this might be due to behavioral differences associated with their color variance. After all, it is often true, those who are different, are also braver!
You may remember Herbert, the feral kitten we adopted about seven months ago from the wonderful organization, “Love Your Feral Felines.”
Here he is all ‘growed’ up, and definitely a most important member of the family!
If it weren’t for ‘Love Your Feral Felines,’ Herbert would have been euthanized. He is such an amazing, social and loving cat, and he always looks you straight in the eye! We are very grateful to have him.
Herbert enjoys being my secretary cat, but has difficulty following directions. (This reminds me of all my report cards from elementary school, and I still, proudly, have this problem).
Herbert goes through kleenex like nobody’s business. (Now my husband will know why he is buying me so many boxes of kleenex. He thought it was my allergies.) You can’t keep secrets when you blog…….
Here he is being “King of the Fountain,” in his own private courtyard!
Cheers to you from ever vigilant Herbert, the no longer feral cat~
Wading Birds like this oystercatcher are fascinating to watch. I photographed this American Oystercatcher in South America.
This Black Oystercatcher, near The Holler, was a rare sighting.
California has about 668 species of birds. The Holler, and nearby environs alone, account for approximately 500 of them, including a variety of waders. Little Blue Herons can be found near the coast, and are seen less often, closer to The Holler.
Majestic Great Blue Herons are common.
They sometimes show up at our front door!
Sandhill Cranes stand over four feet tall and are further afield.
They winter at The Salton Sea.
Snowy Egrets are everywhere. This guy was near the coast.
His green crab lunch was a bit crabby and hard to swallow!
I have heard quite a few Americans talking about moving to Canada, (including yours truly on occasion). But I never hear Canadians talking about emigrating to the USA. So I was very surprised when these guys showed up in force on Holler lakes. They haven’t been here before.
I also rarely see Canadians squabble amongst each other, but these guys certainly do! We were hanging out with a congenial group of happy gooseys, when all of a sudden, an invading nautical army launched themselves across the lake, to drive the peaceful gooseys away!
Come to think of it, they do kinda remind me, just a bit, of Canadian hockey players……
Anyhoo, the hockey player geese certainly did not hesitate to ram their way ashore and displace the more peaceful gooseys.
There was lots of hissing and honking, shoving, and general mayhem, just like a hockey game!
The peaceful gooseys were so upset by this hostile behavior, they just packed up their picnics, and swam away. I knew just how they felt. I tend to respond, to even a hint of conflict, in the exact same way.
The smartest goose of all, stayed away from everyone, hung out by himself, and took a nap on the hiking trail.
He made friends with my son, smart goose.
I suspect the fires up north confused these gooseys and they decided to fly further south and check out the real estate. Apparently, they liked what they saw, cuz’ there are a whole bunch of them here! I hope they decide to stay all winter, and come back every year, because I love Canadians!
Joshua Tree National Park encompasses almost 800,000 acres and straddles both The Mojave and Colorado Deserts in Southern California. Joshua Trees are not trees at all, but a variety of Yucca, sculpted into bizarre shapes by desert winds. The eerie rock formations were formed eons ago by cooling lava, that cracked and split from fault uplifting, and eroded over time by wind, water and sand.
100’s of species survive in this harsh desert landscape, despite summer temperature that reach well above 100 degrees fahrenheit. Native Americans inhabited this region for thousands of years and their artifacts remain scattered throughout the park. Be careful or you will walk right by them! We encountered this metate, or grinding stone, on a hike.
Cheers to you from Joshua Tree’s stunning and fragile ecosystem~