Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hummingbirds of South Englishtown, Toledo, Belize

Since we put up our first hummingbird feeder in September of 2013 (read about it here), we have witnessed a remarkable insurgence of hummingbirds all around our property.  We started with just one feeder off the front veranda after we had seen a female ruby throated hummer visit the hibiscus in front of the cabana.  We knew it must have recently arrived from North America and that it would winter around here or perhaps fly even farther south.  It didn't take long at all for the little female to start feeding on the sugar-water nectar we provided.  We eventually saw juvenile male ruby throats that year (check it out here) and adult males the following year.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds - they started it all here in Englishtown.
The resident cinnamon hummingbirds didn't know what to make of the hummingbird feeders, but kept a close eye on the ruby throats.  The cinnamons made attempts to feed, but it took them a while to figure out how to get the nectar.  But once they learned, there was no going back. Soon they even learned how to sit on the perches while feeding.

We soon added more feeders off the back veranda (see it here).  The new feeders were positioned much better for photography and I was able to get decent shots of cinnamon hummers (here), rufous-tailed hummers (here), and green-breasted mango hummers (here).  So the migrant ruby-throats, that are so used to feeders in the US, taught the resident cinnamons to use the feeders and soon the resident rufous-tails and green-breasted mangos also learned.  They are smart little birds!

I don't know about you, but I can never have too many hummingbirds, so here are some newer photos.
Female green-breasted mango hummingbird.  She has a white-tipped tail and white underparts with a distinctive irregular  teal-green stripe down the midline.  Can't mistake her for anyone else!
Females and males have black, decurved bills. 
Just look at that teal-green stripe!  It just looks dark, almost black, when it is not reflecting light.  It is a challenge to capture this coloration; I was quite happy to get this shot!
You can just make out some of the bronze-colored tail feathers here.  But look at how dull and black looking the mid-line stripe is from this angle.  You would never suspect how gorgeous it can be.
The male green-breasted mango hummingbirds are a little more skittish than the females, so I had to stay a little farther away and really crop the photos.
You can see how the color changes from head to tail, getting a little more golden toward the tail.  And you can just see the edge of the coppery tail feathers.
Just look at that color on the breast!  Such a magnificent teal next to emerald green.
The tail feathers are dark copper with transmitted light.
Look at the magenta iridescence of the tail when the sun shines on it!
I still have some work to do for better photos; gives me something to strive for.  :-)  I am going to rig up a little blind/hide close to the feeders at the right orientation to the sun and spend some time just waiting to get the right shots.

I also am playing with flash to try to get the iridescence.  Here is a flash photo of a rufous-tailed hummer.
Rufous-tailed hummingbird.  I think this is either a female or a juvenile.  The sexes are very similar in this species, although the adult males tend to be a bit more intensely colored.
I like how it turned out, except for the feeder being in the way.  But I think I am onto something. 

10 comments:

  1. Amazing images Wilma.
    You're just too good.{:))

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    1. Glad you like them, Roy. They don't hold a candle to your images! Loved those nuthatches on your recent post.

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  2. Super Hummers Wilma!
    I was just getting used to not being in Costa Rica, now I'm right back there........... :-))

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    1. Thanks, Phil. I guess you will have to be satisfied with virtual images and all the wonderful photos you took until you make your next trip. You sure had some good birding in CR! We get many of the birds you saw right here in our backyard, but not all of them. Cheers.

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  3. You're so lucky to have these on your doorstep..............regardless of which part of the Americas you live in....................

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    1. Incredibly lucky to have them as part of my everyday life. I am watching them out the window as I write this reply. I would love to see what you could do with them!

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  4. You can imagine how in awe of those birds that we are here in the UK Wilma, certainly knocks spots off anything that we get here around the bird table.
    The closest that we can hope for in the gardens here is the Humming-bird Hawk moth, which remarkably like a humming bird when taking nectar from flowers, I've had them in my garden but they're not common.

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    1. They are pretty special even to those of us who grew up with them, Derek! We see the occasional hummingbird moth and they do look amazingly like the birds. They aren't common here either and are always fun to see. cheers.

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  5. Brilliant photos Wilma. It is difficult to get just the correct lighting to show iridescent coloured feathers.

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    1. Thanks, John. It is a continuing and fun challenge to photograph these little gems. Never a dull moment - literally!

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