I find that nature soothes my soul. In my area of Colombia, in the Valle del Cauca department, we have many birds, including over 30 species of hummingbirds just at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. Because of Earth Day I thought I would share some photos of my birds I photograph daily at my Villa. Colombia has the most species of birds in the entire world. We are a small country that is the most bio diverse in the world. Enjoy some of my favorite photos, and enjoy my absolute love of nature. The featured photo is a Blackburian Warbler. They migrate to my area of Colombia. A very tiny little bird and I love the colors, I am not sure why this bird is still here because it is migratory time for all hummingbirds and birds in Colombia. Some of the birds just stay and they are more than welcome at my home!
White shoulder Tanager, the very tiny white you see opens up to a lot of white when it flies
These are just a few of my many species of birds I see regularly, so why not come and sit awhile and see for yourself? I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed with the climate, the birds and the peace of Villa Migelita Ecolodge.
Everything is shiny in my life here in Colombia at Villa Migelita. Lately, my dog Marley has become the shiny object in my life. He is old and he is still doing OK. I want to share a story from yesterday that made me realize he knows he is growing older too.
We needed to bring Orion to the Veterinarian because he has allergies. Marley came out and saw Orion in the truck. I said “Come Marley, back to your house” he ignored me and when I opened the door he jumped right in and sat in the front seat. I say “Marley we are going to the Vet and you need to get down.” He jumped to the backseat with Orion and sat down. I realized he wants to be with me every single second he can. I understand because dogs just know. I said “Ok, you can go too.” He relaxed and went along.
He was my shiny object for the day and for the rest of his life. His years are numbered. I don’t know how old he is. He has been with me since 2008 before my daughter died. He is the gentlest, most special dog in the world. According to me. I know we all have our dogs and think the same. But yesterday made my heart smile. Orion had to be put in a room by himself because Orion does not like animals not in his pack. Marley was able to explore the farm of my friend and veterinarian.
He was so happy. We went off to look at a cow that had a problem, and we left Marley to himself. He was so happy. He was with me, and he was on an adventure. He also had a little check up too. All is fine with him and he is still strong, I just can’t take him on long hikes anymore.
So my Marley is the shiny object in my life for the next years. I will treasure each moment with him, and I will listen to him when he asserts himself. He had an adventure without a hike yesterday and he was very happy for that.
So when his life comes to an end too soon, I will remember him jumping in the truck and saying in his own way ” I need to be with you more!” I will listen!
The loss of a pet is devastating. I have had too many losses here in Colombia. Life is different from what those of you who have pets in your home with a fenced yard. Especially when you have a farm. The smaller dogs know how to escape even if you have a fence. Which I do. They can squeeze through the smallest spaces. This is what happened to Yuki.
I had a change in employment here at Villa Migelita . Yuki was never really my dog. He was rescued by my former employee from the street in Palmira, Colombia. I took care of Yuki. He was fed by me, he was vaccinated by me, he was living on my farm in luxury and if he needed the Veterinarian he went. He had such a will to live. He was almost killed twice by Orion my beautiful Dogo Argentino. They never liked each other.
Yuki had a warrior spirit. He was a little dog with a big attitude.
He was always happy, a smile on his face constantly. He actually loved swimming with Orion in my natural pool at Villa Migelita.
He would get along with Orion most of the time, but sometimes he just provoked Orion and twice he almost died. I guess his time on this Earth was ready to end when the latest situation happened. I had been keeping Yuki separated from Orion for a long time. They were fine as long as they were outside. I have a beautiful doghouse and patio area for all of my dogs on the first floor.
When the last employee left Yuki left too. I would go for a hike and I would see him. I would call for him to come home. He wouldn’t. He kept waiting for his rescuer to come for him. I would call for him, and sometimes he would appear and I could get him back to my house to feed him. This is the last time I was with Yuki.
He had lost so much weight. I was able to bring him back to eat. He stayed overnight, but the next day he was gone again. Then I had the veterinarian come to the house with the yearly vaccinations. I had him bring Yuki’s also. They are still in my refrigerator. I need to remove them, but I can’t. It is so final. I was always calling for Yuki when I fed the dogs. I know he heard. My pueblo is small and he knew when dinnertime and breakfast was. He would no longer come. That day I went out searching for Yuki. I knew he was now living in the street.
Yuki died of a broken heart. I know this. The last photo above is the last time I spent with him. He was sad. His eyes conveyed to me his sadness. I tried with all of my heart to get him to come home. He wouldn’t. So I feel such responsibility about this senseless death. Dogs are so loyal, they will die when they lose a person they adore and love. Yuki loved me but he loved the employee more. I couldn’t save him.
Every morning I am waking up sad. Then I remember why. Yuki. The dog that was found on the street and died on the street. Senseless. I hope he is with my other dogs in doggie heaven.
With that I say thank you again for all the wonderful messages about Yuki. I can understand a death from old age, from an accident, but this was just senseless to me. Yuki choose to die because his best friend was gone. He loved me but he loved him more.
Last Monday I was on a road trip with friends and a Roadside Hawk hit my truck. The force of the impact was strong, a loud bang like a hammer hit the side of the truck. We looked back and could see this magnificent bird of prey in the middle of the highway. Immediately we pulled over, while we watched a motorcyclist stop to protect him from being hit by another car. Fortunately, one of my friends on this trip was a veterinarian! He and my business partner at Villa Migelita went to see if we could save him. He was in shock but fine. I will never forget looking at him up close. I have seen many hawks and have even photographed them, but in person there is no description of their beauty and splendor. The yellow color of the eyes, the talons which are so incredibly forceful. The cover photo is from yesterday on a hike locally by my Villa. This is what a Roadside Hawk looks like. They seem small, but they are not small at all. They are compact. For the rest of my life when I see one on a hike I will think of the life I saved. It wasn’t easy. I was worried until I could find a place for him. I realized the very first day I was not equipped to care for this bird. He needed specialists. Thank God for the group The Hummingbird Whisperer on Facebook!!!!
I was told the cage was too small and to put put him in a big dog crate . He calmed down and let his wings down after he was moved to the large crate.
I was also told I needed to feed him live food and put a huge water bowl inside of his new and larger home. Rats or chickens. I had never seen rats at the local area here in Colombia that sells agricultural products, chickens, fruits, vegetables and anything you might need for farm living and is called the Galleria. I went to the Galleria with my business partner and we found rats, and we bought two to feed him. I hate rats. I have cats to keep them off my property at Villa Migelita. But it is different when you buy them to send to their death. But I did it because this bird needed to survive and thrive. Don’t look at this video if you are squeamish. My hawk was hungry and this was a rodent. I still hated every moment of feeding a live animal to this hawk, but we did it and the rat was gone in 10 minutes! All the while we were looking for a place to take him to rehabilitate.
We found out that our local company called the CVC which is the water agency here in Colombia also runs a foundation for endangered and illegal animal trafficking. We called them and they said to bring the hawk to them and they would transfer it to the foundation.
On a side note to make you smile those damn rats ate through the box they were in and were running around on the bed where we set them. EWWWWW. We caught them and put them in glass jars with the lids that had holes. We had one left so we brought it with us to the CVC to feed this magnificent creature. When we got to the CVC they transferred him to another animal crate and I knew he was going to be fine.
This bird became a part of my soul. His eyes followed me whenever I would check on him. I thought it is no wonder they can see from so far away when flying free in the sky.
Some small part of me is in this hawk and whenever I see one again I will think of the life we saved.
The friendship of an animal is the best friendship one can have. I have wonderful friendships with humans but my love of animals surpasses these friendships. Animals give such unconditional love. This photo of San Francisco de Asis (Francis of Assisi in English) was taken in Silvia, Cauca, Colombia. He is the protector of animals and founded the Franciscan order of the Catholic church sometime in the 1200’s.
I brought five animals with me to Colombia when I moved here in 2011. I have two left. My precious Marley and Franchesca the cat my deceased daughter gave me as a gift. They are both old now. I also have my parrot Luci, two ducks (with ducklings on the way) and dogs. Orion is the king of Villa Migelita. Here are photos of some of the animals that live at Villa Migelita. They are part of the farm experience when visiting my Villa.
I am always hiking near my Villa . I can’t give an exact amount of days per week. It depends on my hair. Yes it does. I am after all still a woman who likes my hair and nails to be perfect, even if I live in the Rainforest. Yes, I am revealing something about myself. I usually walk on days I have to wash my hair. OH, so you think why do we need to know this? Because you do. I live in the forest. I am not always interacting with others. I like being alone. I like reading, I love writing and I love my space. I really love being alone. I worked for years as a flight attendant. I don’t care if I hear a bunch of people complaining ever again!
“Worry less about what you want to be, and more about what you want to do.” – President Barack Obama in Chicago today. I love this quote because it describes me and my life to perfection. I want to be successful in my small business. But if I am not I can accept that. I want to be immersed in nature as an avid photographer. I love getting up early and going out on my own with one of my dogs to walk and photograph the beauty that surrounds me. Photography is part of me. I am part of the photos I take on my hikes. I see people and talk to them. There is no such thing as a Colombian who ignores someone they pass, whether in an office, or on the street. Even if they dislike you they acknowledge you. I find that a wonderful way to live. What is the use of hurting others? With that I share some photos of my life around and about as an avid photographer and the life I lead as an expat.
Earth day is April 22, a favorite day to me. The Earth is substantially more than just us humans. It is every little creature that surrounds us to bring our ecosystem in sync. Look at my cover photo carefully. You will see the tiniest little wasp.
Without bees, wasps and all insects we would not have flowers. We would not have pollination, we would not be alive on Earth. So when any of us use products from Monsanto, or any poisons we are killing the Earth. We are destroying the planet for future generations. These little insects that bother us are very important links to the salvation of the Earth. They are an important part of the chain of events that allow us to live on the planet Earth with water, air and food.
So when I take my photos of nature I always keep in mind that all of nature is intertwined. We humans are not superior to any animal or plant that lives in this Universe. Remember that when you see the ice melting, the water being polluted, and the fish dying in the oceans. We humans are the murderers. We are killing this planet with greed to make money. We are the ones who can stop this before it is too late.