Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hummingbird "teens"

As summer winds down, we see a preponderance of young birds of all species. Many full grown young birds continue to follow the parents around squawking with mouths agape begging for a handout. Hummmm, we seem to have a whole segment of society just like that having been raised on government entitlement programs.

Not so with hummers. They are strictly on their own once taking flight and are even driven away from feeders by their parents! We now have a horde of young hummers out back. I've seen as many as six at once trying to feed from one port as I have the others plugged so I can semi "control" where they are when I shoot. If you let them control things, you'll never get anything. The juvenile birds are somewhat flat color wise as they have little iridescence.
The speckled throat mark this tiny guy as a juvenile male. He'll have the trademark flaming red gorget when he returns next spring. My guess is he's only 4-6 weeks old. As you can see, he' s pretty much devoid of the striking colors this species is famous for.
A prior pic of a juvenile male showing the speckled throat with two or three bright red feathers showing.
Forgot to turn on my main front flash unit (I'm and idiot) which gave a very underexposed but unusual shot

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hummingbird Poem

To a Humming Bird in a Garden

George Murray

BLITHE playmate of the Summer time,
Admiringly I greet thee;
Born in old England’s misty clime,
I scarcely hoped to meet thee.

Com’st thou from forests of Peru, 5
Or from Brazil’s savannahs,
Where flowers of every dazzling hue
Flaunt, gorgeous as Sultanas?

Thou scannest me with doubtful gaze,
Suspicious little stranger! 10
Fear not, thy burnished wings may blaze
Secure from harm or danger.

Now here, now there, thy flash is seen,
Like some stray sunbeam darting,
With scarce a second’s space between 15
Its coming and departing.

Mate of the bird that lives sublime
In Pat’s immortal blunder,
Spied in two places at a time,
Thou challengest our wonder. 20

Suspended by thy slender bill,
Sweet blooms thou lov’st to rifle;
The subtle perfumes they distil
Might well thy being stifle.

Surely the honey-dew of flowers 25
Is slightly alcoholic,
Or why, through burning August hours,
Dost thou pursue thy frolic?

What though thy throatlet never rings
With music, soft or stirring; 30
Still, like a spinning-wheel, thy wings
Incessantly are whirring.

How dearly I would love to see
Thy tiny cara sposa,
As full of sensibility 35
As any coy mimosa!

They say, when hunters track her nest
Where two warm pearls are lying,
She boldly fights, though sore distrest,
And sends the brigands flying. 40

What dainty epithets thy tribes
Have won from men of science!
Pedantic and poetic scribes
For once are in alliance.

Crested Coquette, and Azure Crown, 45
Sun Jewel, Ruby-Throated,
With Flaming Topaz, Crimson Down,
Are names that may be quoted.

Such titles aim to paint the hues
That on the darlings glitter, 50
And were we for a week to muse,
We scarce could light on fitter.

Farewell, bright bird! I envy thee,
Gay rainbow-tinted rover;
Would that my life, like thine, were free 55
From care till all is over!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lazy Summer days

Can you believe there are only about six weeks until fall! By mid Atlantic standards this summer has been a pussycat having just turned consistently hot and humid the last thrre weeks or so. Haven't been doing any ditch patrollin' lately as I have a zero tolerance for heat coupled with a very severe and chronic case of tendinitis in my left elbow brought about by using a manual wheelchair and crutches both of which put stress on the triceps tendon in the back of the elbow. After I can't count how many cortisone injections, I'm basically not using the arm at all for now to give it total rest and keeping it packed in ice 30 mins on 30 off. If this fails, dunno what the next step will be.

I can shoot hummingbirds one armed so here are two recent takes. I won't go into how many throw aways there were. If you're unfamiliar with hummingbirds, the only species in the eastern US is the Ruby throated with the male having the brilliant red throat (gorget) which can appear red, yellowish, brown or black depending on the angle the light hits it. It's ladies first though :o)