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!
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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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Mandarians in Baden-Baden~

Beautiful Mandarin ducks – lovely to see!
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These guys weren’t part of my plan for the day!


I was going to show you Baden-Baden,

but the Mandarins got in my way!

Why are Mandarin Ducks swimming wild in Germany you may well wonder?


Although Mandarin Duck populations are dwindling in their native Russia and Asia, some escapees from captivity are breeding in the wild in Germany and The UK. I happened upon these guys today on the Oos River in Baden-Baden Germany.


So, it is cheers to you, and Happy Spring, from the gorgeous Mandarins in Baden-Baden Germany~

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Kotor Montenegro~

Some lovely scenery for Monday – thank you for sharing these lovely photos of your travels, Cindy!
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If ‘beauty is truth,


and truth beauty,’


both can be most perfectly seen,


in age,

and innocence.


Kotor Montenegro possesses both the beauty of age,

and the appeal of innocence.


It seems unspoiled by the modern world.

Staying here one feels removed from the stress and strife of our messy contemporary lives.


Cheers to you from beautiful Kotor Montenegro~

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Flown Away~

Springtime calls for migration…even amongst we human beings! Cindy is visiting Greece and points further East – I can’t wait to see photos of her destinations!
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Yep, we just did it again. It seems as as normal as staying home.There is so much to miss leaving The Holler.

The year round Holler hummers are brave in an non-conformist way, they choose not to migrate thousands of miles across the Gulf of Mexico, but to stay year round with us at The Holler, despite winter temps that frequently fall well below freezing and could easily kill them.

Other migrating travelers visit us seasonally.


There are four hummers that lived at The Holler year-round this year. These are two of them. They rely on our feeders and bugs to keep them alive year round.

Now we have flown off before the full complement of spring unfolds, missing all The Holler spring has to offer. Don’t worry, family remain at The Holler while we are away, to take care of all our critters including the birds.


I look forward…

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Spring Fever~

Spring is springing…it is just around the corner! These flowers are as eager for Ostara as I am. Beautiful!
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Thousands

of ranunculus


bloom in early spring.

Capturing light.


Creating hope.

Bringing happiness,

on fragile petals.


Spring cheers to you,


from the Carlsbad Ranunculus fields~

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