Posted in child death, Colombia, Colombian life, family, Grief, hummingbirds, mother nature, nature, Nature Symbolism, parents of deceased children, Perfection and Peace, photo challenge, Signs of the Universe, Spiritual Presence, Uncategorized

A Little Sign from the Cosmos

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hummingbird feather
Hummingbird Feather

The moment I spotted this little treasure I felt chills. It was early morning and I entered my kitchen and my eyes were drawn to this tiny feather on the tile. It is so minute I do not know what drew my eyes to it, except Misha, my deceased daughter. She left it for me. Just one white feather, like an angel wing. I stopped and inhaled slowly because a white feather that is from a hummingbird is a sign, a sacred encounter with the ethereal. How my eyes saw this beautiful little quill; so small it is about the size of a babies fingernail. I could easily have walked past it without notice and it would have blown away as I was opening the doors of my Villa for the morning.

Open doors define my life in Colombia. Not only actual open doors but the doors that have opened for me since I left the United States on this journey to a new country. Colombia, a country that many do not understand nor have an accurate account of how life really is here in the most bio-diverse country besides Brazil in the world. Colombia is full of happy people, beautiful mountains, birds, flowers, and moments. I need moments.

Happiness, unfortunately is elusive to me. I feel happiness, but rarely since Misha passed. Happiness is a gift that we need to strive to achieve, all of us. We need to grasp the split second that we feel any form of hopefulness, and keep it in our hearts. This little hummingbird feather made me smile this morning. It was like she was giving me reassurance of her love. Confirming to me that she is with me, even though not in a physical form. So now I am going to frame this jewel and keep it nearby for those days I feel down, when I have had a sleepless night which so often plaque me. I will have it to look at forever.

I wasn’t sure how to photograph this tiny plume so I put it on a crack. The cracks represent my heart since I lost her. I doubt my heart will ever be whole again, but the magnitude of these moments keep me going on with life. A life I appreciate more than I ever did before she left this world. I know what grief is, I know that I will always feel it, but I also know that I can make a life in her memory. This Villa is all for Misha. She shows me her appreciation in small ways. The little feather of a hummingbird.

 

 

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Posted in Birders, Colombia, Colombian life, farm life, hummingbirds, mother nature, nature, Nature, photo challenge, Perfection and Peace, photo challenge, photo challenge, Uncategorized

The Birds Glow in South America

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Here at Villa Migelita Ecolodge  we have so many birds it is hard to feature all of them. Colombia is the second most bio-diverse country in the world! At Villa Migelita Ecolodge we now have scientists coming to classify my birds and catalog them for my area of Valle del Cauca, Colombia. I would love to say these photos are mine but they are not, they are from the scientists that visit. So if you are a birder and haven’t visited Colombia, you should! These photos I am displaying were taken at my Villa by those trained in Ornithology. 

They all glow. The cover photo is a Roadside Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris), there are many sub-species. They just call this one Un halcón de carretera azul, which means the blue falcon.

shiny cowbird
Look at the glow of purple caught in this photo of: Molothrus bonariensis
Andean Emerald
Purple glows in the sunlight: Amazilia franciae
Cariqui (5)
Every single inch of this bird glows: Cyanocorax yncas galeatus
Barranquero (11)
Momotus Momota
httpwww.hbw.comibcspeciesbronze-winged-parrot-pionus-chalcopterus (8)
 Pionus chalcopterus
Hummingbirds (3)
Very difficult to distinguish the Emerald Hummingbirds but I think this is a black winged Emerald male juvenile.

These are just a few of the many birds photographed at Villa Miglelita Ecolodge.

 

Posted in Colombia, Colombian life, expat life, hummingbirds, minimalism, mother nature, nature, Nature Symbolism, Perfection and Peace, photo challenge, Uncategorized

Outside my Windows. All of Them.

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Window where I blog
The view from my office, filled with nature and hummingbirds

This butterfly is truly a part of nature that is so miraculous. The first time I saw this species Diaethria neglecta which can be found throughout South America occurs from Panama to Bolivia. I didn’t believe what my eyes were seeing. This is a window of the Villa Migelita Suite. We have a lot of butterflies enter when doors are open, also hummingbirds.  These butterflies that enter sit for hours even if I open the screen to let them out. In Colombia the doors and windows are open all day.  At Villa Migelita I do have screens on my windows in the bedrooms, but I also have some very old windows I chose to keep when I updated my Villa. My office window is very, very old. I do not have a screen on it. I have left it alone, along with the front door and another window in the main living area. As I look outside at the hummingbirds and the lemon tree they perch on, I feel peace.

A view form the VM suite
The #89 butterfly of Colombia
Close up photos 007
Orchids outside my office window
Brown Inca
The Brown Inca Hummingbird outside my window

There is nothing but photos to explain how wonderful my view is from the window I write at. I will leave you all with this video of all the hummingbirds having a great time feeding and dancing in front of my window. This is where I sit and spend much of my time when I am not entertaining my guests. Sometimes I wonder what I would do if I didn’t have this view to keep me at peace. I can go to bed feeling sad and then the next morning sit at my desk and see the natural beauty that surrounds me and all is right with the world again.

Posted in Colombian life, hummingbirds, nature

An Imperfect World

My rescue hummingbird has passed. It happened suddenly and without warning. Just a couple of days ago he was escaping through the slats of his little cage. He was so active. I had to put a mesh net around his cage so he couldn’t breakout and be killed by a predator. I am not sure why he died, but I knew he wasn’t well anymore. It happened so fast and I wasn’t prepared for it.

I have a cage coming from the USA and some additional food supply that hummingbird rehabilitation experts use. The wonderful thing that has resulted from his care is I will have a nice cage and products  anytime I rescue any  bird at Villa Migelita from this day forward. All of these products sent from loving friends in the United States  and will be in remembrance of Grigio. When I put another bird in this new cage I will have his spirit guiding me. I know this with my heart and soul.

To say I am sad today is an understatement. I awoke to a table without his cage that I have looked at for over a month. The joy of removing the towels I put on his enclosure every night to find him moving and drinking his nectar of smashed insects and sugar in the morning is a wonderful and loving experience in my lifetime. The hope I felt that maybe, just maybe he would be my miracle.

I am sad, frustrated and of course I am blaming myself. If only I had added even more insects to his water. If only I had more resources available to me here in Colombia . If only, if only. I became very attached.

He was fighting to live to the end. His last breaths were in the palm of my hand. He was still charging his wings, which gave me unrealistic hope. I felt he could pull through this with my loving care. I watched as one eye closed but the other eye was wide open and staring at me. That eye kept contact with me until it closed with his final breath inside my palm. So tiny, so precious, so magical. I will never be able to describe adequately the joy he brought to me by being able to care for him.

Posted in hummingbirds, Uncategorized

The Learning Curve

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I have had a  little hummingbird rescue for a month now. I had no idea what I was doing when I first had him in my care. I had put a towel down in the cage. That is a big NO! He has the tiniest feet as you can see and they can get caught in a towel and can be ripped off. I contacted a wonderful page on Facebook called The Hummingbird Whisperer and was given great advice, except for one rehab specialist who said I had to put him down because of his bad wing. A major drama unfolded: especially since I am not in the United States. I looked for someone to put Grigio down and no one answered me. We have so many hummingbirds in Colombia all year round, no one cares about just one little guy.

I took in all of the advice I was given and did what the experts said (except for killing him). I removed the towel and put paper towels in his cage. I added smashed up insects to his sugar-water. That is not something I enjoy at all! But we have a lot of insects in the Rainforest and he is drinking his water full of mash-up and is getting plenty of protein which is the main staple of the hummingbird diet.

Lilliana 012
Grigio the very first day I rescued him.

Grigio  is doing very well, but he is still not free. I strive to let him go to fly with his friends. He has a wing that is damaged. I carry him everywhere in his little cage. He sometimes holds on to the sides of the cage like he is in prison, reminding me of movies where an inmate grips the bars in misery.

I have a parrot named Luci whom I rescued when she was about 2 months old. Parrots are so social and always in the middle of things going on around them. She has clipped wings but has free run of my farm. She climbs the rose bushes and enters the house. She follows the dogs everywhere, and she shows off for my tourists here at Villa Migelita. She is the mascot of birds here at my Bed and Breakfast!

Luci in the window 008
I see you

With Grigio it is different.  He is not a way for me to give entertainment on my page Villa Migelita. Luci is a rescue, but she lives a very happy life. I am not so sure with Grigio. Seriously, hummingbirds are not really social birds. Hummingbirds fight each other constantly, and none seem to have any bond with others. Perhaps he is fine in his cage with his personal feeder. I can’t tell except when he does that prison break-out move that really freaks me out! I can’t let him go, he cannot fly!

He has become a part of me. I know that is probably not the correct way to view things if you are an actual rehab specialist with birds, or for that matter any animal. I just identify with him so much. He is broken but trying to mend himself. I understand that. I am broken inside. I have been a cracked, collapsed, busted mess for years … ever since my daughter was murdered. I know about feeling imprisoned. I feel that almost everyday of my life. I struggle many days with sadness…but I make myself go out and walk, exercise, Yoga, write, read, study! You name it, I try to do it. So Grigio is a piece of me. His will to live is exactly like my will to live despite horrific life circumstances. So I say “You go Grigio, I have your back! You have a home in my Paradise here at Villa Migelita always”

Every night I put this special ‘gift’ to bed. He sleeps like we do…who knew? He goes to bed at 7 pm and I hear the little whir of his wings at 6 am. I always smile to myself. I wonder if he is a gift from beyond. He is certainly defying all odds. With that I say he is with me now, and I am letting him live each day in the moment. I do the same. I realize that is all we have in life, and so does Grigio.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Colombian life, hummingbirds, nature, Nature, photo challenge

Rarity in Nature

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I am surrounded by nature. I never know what is going to show up around me. It is a delightful way to live. I come from South Florida. I remember growing up in a middle class neighborhood with a lot of empty lots that all of us neighborhood kids would explore. Many a time we would come home with scrapes, bites or bloody knees. I love to reminisce about my times in the Smoky Mountains with my children every summer. I am a nature gal. I started young and I have never lost the wonder I feel when I see some new insect, bird, flower, views of the mountains, anything related to nature.

There is so much to be seen when you are looking for good photos. I am no longer the person who finds spiders creepy, bees scary, and insects gross. I find them all to be a much-needed part of our ecosystem. I respect all life. I wrote about my new rescue here at Villa Migelita in my last blog; a hummingbird who has a hurt wing. He is still with me after three weeks and that in of itself is rare. Hummingbirds need protein, which I hopefully am supplying by crushing insects into his sugar-water. It must be working because he is still alive. His wing is still unhealthy as you can see. But he is a fighter.

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Grigio on a rare Jade Orchid

This spider is a common Cross Garden species..but I love this photo. He looks so intimidating.

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Normal Garden Spider

What about the birds I see daily? Sometimes I am lucky enough to get a good shot. The wonder I feel when I see a rare Toucan still keeps me captivated. I never have my camera when I need it, but I get to enjoy rare sightings of many birds every single day.

Dragonfly and flowers 025
Vermilion Fly Catcher

Colombia has the most species of birds in the world and is the second most bio-diverse country in the world. I have settled in the perfect place to satisfy my nature needs.

Rare in nature can be completely defined by this one butterfly:  Diaethria neglecta, a very rare phenomenon of nature.

#89Butterfly
The #89 butterfly on my screen

When you visit Colombia, you never know what will show up. A Preying Mantis, an insect I have no idea what the name is but it is a flying leaf!

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A leaf insect

I no longer am afraid, I just wish I knew what they all did to help our planet. Because they are all part of a very intricate ecosystem called our world. We need to protect and defend each one in any way that we can.

 

 

 

Posted in hummingbirds, Uncategorized

May Peace be with You

I’m sitting on this Sunday after exercising and doing my Yoga and all I can hear is the sounds of my hummingbird’s attacking each other. They are posed for fight, tails spread. Their sounds of hitting each other while their wings rapidly flutter is  a constant whir in my consciousness. They are relentless. I’m just relaxing and trying to read, but I cannot because I’m endlessly fascinated by their behavior. They never let up. They are little gangs of brutality and beauty.Looking up 008

I have hummingbirds year round. The many species I have interact and accept each other as best they can. I’m an impartial observer. That is why I find them so interesting. Sometimes they drink from my feeders without much fighting, but today that is not the case. They all are militant like fighter jets bombing the enemy. My presence so near is not even acknowledged. They are going for the feeders like it is their last meal.

As I am distracted by them, I have a lot of thoughts running through my brain. They actually remind me of how people are responding to this presidential campaign going on now in the United States. They are ready to kill for the nectar, just as people are ready to give up friends and family for their beliefs about this election.

Maybe I have mellowed in my life since I’ve moved to Paradise, but one thing I have learned is you are not going to change anyone to your way of thinking. Just like my hummers. They are not going to stop fighting for their time at the feeders, taking that precious sip of nectar. Let it go. Vote your choice and be done with it. Hopefully, the world will survive just like my very aggressive hummingbirds and we will find something else to be scandalized about.

Me, well I’m aggrieved that there is no true fairness in this world. Some people win and some people lose. I lost in my quest to get the murderer of my daughter in jail. It breaks my heart, and there are many just like me who have not seen justice. We go on. Just like those hummingbirds who fight every single day for the chance to drink the nectar. Let your life become about good things, peaceful things, happiness. Stop trying to make everyone see it your way. It’s not important. What is important is being a good human.

Sometimes my hummingbirds are peaceful with each other, they sit nicely while they all feed together. Let us try to be that way with our lives. They often sit peacefully together drinking nectar and flying off to rest on a branch.  My home is a place of peace where the hummingbirds entertain and amuse all who visit.  I’m certain they are not worried about the other species, sizes, sex , or colors of those they battle with to get the feeders to themselves. Maybe, just maybe, us humans should look to nature more often. The fighting seems to be a bit more fair. No prejudice involved, just wanting to have a place to feed. That is why I have so many feeders: I give them all an even chance. What they do with that chance is a decision they make. What happens in this world is kind of like the hummingbirds, it is all out of our control even when we want so much to have the control. Just do your part and vote. Then let it go. Don’t lose friends over this. It is not worth it.Looking up 031

I’ve come to the conclusion we all think differently. We have brains that look at the exact same message and process it in completely different ways. If we only associate with those who think exactly like us, what do we learn? I’m all for freedom of speech, but I remember my mother and father always saying to me “politics and religion are not to be discussed with others ” and I have to agree. It is just not worth it. When I was younger I didn’t know what any of my friends believed. Because we were just having fun and liked each other for the people we were.

I’m certain we can choose to do this again. With social media it is difficult: but you can stop the hate by posting good things, happy things on the Internet. If you are offended bite your tongue, let it go. Let peace become your way of life, not hate. Hate never wins, even when you are seeing so much of it. Just let it go. Let peace be with you.