Hummingbirds~

I always love to see these precious, flying jewels up close…these pictures are perfection!

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I can’t believe I finally got a photo of a hummingbird’s forked tongue! I have never captured the fork at the end of the tongue because it typically springs open once a hummer inserts her tongue in a flower. But here it is, for us to see!

We have somewhere around 70 or more hummers at The Holler now, so we are getting lots of very bright color. Hummers flash their colors at will, sometimes as warnings when sparring. This guy was caught at dusk, flashing away to keep intruders at bay.


Once a year, at peak swarm, I feed the hummers by hand. I only do it once, for about an hour because I don’t want the hummers to become tame, thinking all humans can be trusted, because unfortunately, as we all know, some humans should not be trusted.
By the way, the white dust you see on this…

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Les chats du toit de Strasbourg~

Some lovely photographs of roof-dwelling cats, courtesy of Cindy!

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Strasbourg’s cats live on steep rooftops,

rest on high windowsills,

sleep on chimney tops,

stalk pigeons on ridgelines, and enter and exit their homes via high rooftop windows.
They notice, eventually, the biped with telephoto, and I could see it shocked them, to be watched so quietly, so intently, like they watch everything.

Lucky felines. No bipedal landlubbing for these cool-cats.

They much prefer looking down on mere humans.


Of course, some poor cats have yet to claim their rooftop-aeries,


and have to settle for schlepping down-low with humans.

Cheers to you from all the cool cats~

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Saint Pierre le Jeune~

How about some scenic church photographs? Cindy takes us on a tour of the lovely Saint Pierre le Jeune in Strasbourg.

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The ‘Young’ Church of St Peter, is an old and unusual church in Strasbourg, France.


The oldest, and lowest part of the church is the burial crypt, which was built-in the 7th century.


The church itself was consecrated in 1053, and three of the remaining columns supporting the arched interior galleries in the church date from the 11th century.

The bulk of the church as it stands now was built between 1250-1320 and many of the frescoes you see are originals from the 14th century. In 1682, the church was divided into two sections, half for catholics and the other half for protestants, which seems quite forward thinking and civilized, doesn’t it! The pipe organ is a relative newbie, built-in 1780.


Strasbourg is full of old and amazing churches, but the old, ‘Young Church of St. Peter’, is off the beaten path, less visited, and remarkable in terms of history…

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The Irrefutable Persistance of Beauty~

Beauty is, indeed, all around us and inside of us. Sometimes it is hard to recognize and easy to forget…thank you for the gentle reminder, Cindy!

is all around us,

and inside us,


unique and perfectly imperfect.


Sometimes, when we are worried or troubled,

we fail to recognize,

beauty.


But is always here,

just waiting for us to notice,

and bring us comfort.

Cheers to you from all that is beautiful in you and around you~

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Egyptian Quackers in Germany~

How about some beautiful Egyptian geese for the first full day of summer? I don’t refer to geese as quackers – that name goes to ducks – I call them “honkers!”

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Is there anything more winsome than newly hatched Egyptian goslings?

Mama is quite a beauty too!

Germany has a wonderful selection of exotic birds swimming in their lakes and rivers.

Egyptian Geese originated in the Nile Valley and Africa, and were considered sacred by the Ancient Egyptians who first domesticated them.

People bought these geese as ornamental birds and many escaped, establishing feral colonies all over Western Europe.

I saw these beauties swimming in The Neckar River in Heidelberg during my April trip.

Cheers to you from The Holler, and from the hopefully, still-happily paddling geese in Germany~

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Hummer’s Mean Home: Part I (Perching)~

I love watching the hummers around my house – one of these days, I’ll get a camera that will be able to take close-ups of them that are as crystal-clear as Cindy’s are, here!
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Coming home means hanging out with the hummers.

I don’t worry about them when I’m gone.

I just miss them.

My husband, the actual-factual, logical-biostatistician, said incredulously, “They fly up to me like they missed me.”

He’s not used to thinking like this,


but he can’t help noticing such obvious birdy behavior.

Speaking of birdy behavior, we are having a problem this year.

The snoozing little capitalist you see above is dominating two quart-sized feeders and relentlessly attacking and driving all hummers off who try to feed. He spends more time hoarding nectar than feeding and snoozes all the time because he’s exhausted from all his effort. Of course he can’t even begin to drink this much nectar!

You can see him perched on the wire above the feeder, waiting to attack any bird that dares to drink! We have three feeders now spaced far apart to control him, one…

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Drifting on Still Water~

Lovely swans, beautifully captured! The black swan is exceptionally striking, with that reddish beak. Black and red – my favourite colour combination!
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“But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful,” WB Yeats

Swans swim,

in synchronized,


silhouettes.


Mama delicately rolls her precious eggs,


to keep them evenly warm,

and plucks her feathers to tuck them in.

Black swan,

slides in singular grace,


while Narcissus is bewitched by his own reflection.
Cheers to you from European swans in springtime~

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Saker Falcon~

Falcons and other raptors are fascinating birds. Predatory and beautiful!
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Saker Falcons live in Austria, Eastern Europe and Asia, including Russia.

They are considered an endangered bird due to rapid population declines in their Asian breeding grounds.

They are a large falcon species,
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that prey mostly on rodents and other birds.

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Sakers often hunt horizontally like Kestrels, not vertically like Peregrines.
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I watched a Saker swoop down on an unsuspecting pigeon, but my presence, in response to the pigeon cries, called off the hunt!
Cheers to you from the remarkable and endangered Saker Falcons~
(Note: These photos were taken in raptor reserves in Europe)

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Curious Kestrels~

Kestrels are beautiful birds – the smallest members of the hawk / falcon family!
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Are rare for me to find.


This pair was mating on the rooftops in Alsace France.


Kestrels are a type of falcon that live all over the world.


These were photographed in Canada and France.

Kestrels will hunt and nest in populated areas if prey is available.


They don’t bother building their own nests, preferring to steal other bird nests!


They often hover in mid-air over prey, before dropping to consume them.

Cheers to you from the quite handsome French & Canadian Kestrels~

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Blumen Baden~

Cindy went tip-toeing through the tulips and shared these lovely photos. Beautiful!
😀


Baden-Baden’s spring bloom is just beginning.

The tulips on the Lichtenthaler Alle,

a strolling avenue and park,

that follows the River Oos,

are beginning their splendid spring bloom.


The park,

created in the 19th century,

is a wonderland of exotic plants and flowers.

Cheers to you from Baden-Baden’s glorious alle~

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