Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hummingbirds and the First Dawn of October

Every spring in Minnesota, we put up hummingbird feeders to attract the ruby throated hummingbirds that migrate north from Mexico and Central America (including Belize) to nest and rear young before making the return trip south in early autumn.  We brought some feeders with us and put one up in hopes of attracting the migrants that pass through or even entice some to overwinter right here in Englishtown, Belize.  Although it did seem odd to put the feeder out in late September instead of taking down, it was not even 24 hrs later that we had our first ruby throated hummer sussing out the feeder.  We hung the feeder off the deck in a place we can see it from the screened veranda and quite near the red hibiscus that should attract the ruby throats.
The feeder is easy to reach to change out the sugar water.  The red hibiscus is just below it. In the background, you can also see the foundation for our addition.
It took the 2 ruby throats only a few visits to get comfortable enough at the feeder that I could take photos if I didn't make any sudden moves.  The next photos were taken from the veranda through the screen, so they aren't crystal clear.  But they will be good enough for us to ID other hummers and maybe even learn to recognize some individuals. 
For the first visits, they just hovered to feed.  The streaks that look like rain drops are on the screen that is between the camera and the feeder.  I cleaned the screen later!
Ruby throated hummer females can live up to 9 years in the wild and the males up to 7 years.  The females migrate first and so far we have seen only females; the males should arrive within the next couple of weeks.
The females take a look at us through the screen before they alight to feed.  See her little tongue sticking out?
There are at least 2 individuals and they chase each other away from the feeder.  I didn't realize that they would be so territorial when not nesting.
These little birds are only about 3.5 inches long.  They migrate a fearsome distance for such little birds.
The next shots are totally unrelated to the hummers, but they were just too beautiful not to share.  This is sunrise on October 1st.  
The moon was a waning crescent preceding the sun by a bit and the solar light at the end of our dock was still on at 5:25 AM when I took this photo yesterday.  Sunrise was at 5:42.
The high clouds caught the sun's warm rays before sunrise. 
The intervening rows of clouds make the horizon looks very distant.  I wish these photos could truly communicate how amazing this dawn was to witness in quiet solitude from our little dock.
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14 comments:

  1. Lovely landscapes beautiful sky and great little birds.

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    1. Thanks, Anthony. Hard to take a bad photo of the dawn around here. We hope to entice some of the other hummer species to the feeders as well.

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  2. So you probably have shared this in previous blogs, so sorry to ask you to repeat it....what camera and lens are you using and please don't say camera phone....

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    1. Alice - Nothing too fancy, but decent high-end amateur gear. I have a Canon EOS Rebel XTi with a 75-300mm zoom telephoto lens and a 18-55mm zoom wide angle lens. I have used and abused them over the years and they are just beginning to need some expert attention. Although maybe this is good "reason" to replace them with something else. ;-)

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  3. I remember photographing Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in Tobago Wilma. Lovely birds and lovely memories!!

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    1. The ruby-throat, and really all the hummers, are endlessly entertaining and quite memorable. They remind me of one of the scenes in the first StarWars movie when they chase each other around so fearlessly.

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  4. Amazing images of the dawn Wilma especially the second from last.

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    1. Thanks, Roy. The glowing-hot anvil-shaped cloud was almost due north of me. Almost every direction was photo worthy.

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  5. How lovely to have such fascinating birds visit. Lovely set of dawn shots.

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    1. They are a delight to watch; I guess that goes for the hummers and the dawns both! ;-) Thanks for visiting, John.

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    2. Pic 4 is a tender sight to see, such tiny crossed wings on its back.
      Nothing like the dawn skies, to few ever get up to see them.

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    3. Thanks, Ima B. Even if I don't get up to see the dawn, I can see it from my bed. My favorite time of day.

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  6. Great pics... we just said goodbye to our last hummers last week and I took down the feeders just today! Say hi to ours when they arrive!!

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    1. Will do, JR. Welcome to my blog. I see your frequents comments on Dave's "Belize - Adventures in Paradise blog (http://winjama.blogspot.com/) and feel like I know you already. Funny how blogdom is!

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