Hummingbirds!

A little less than two weeks ago I added a hummingbird feeder to the peach tree. It took less than 48 hours and I had my first visitor and so began the often missed attempts at getting pictures. Man, those creatures are hard to capture! I put the feeder in a spot on the tree that I could easily photograph through the freshly cleaned french door, but I am still working with a pretty basic use camera with a pretty slow shutter speed. I’d have the shot lined up and by the time it got done with it’s process, the bird would have buzzed off. Or, all it would take was for one of the other birds in the yard to be spooked off by me and the hummer would fly too. The thing is, I long ago learned that since hummers move at such a high rate of speed, their world does too, and slow movement does not register with them as it does with other birds. So you can stay relatively still, or use smooth, slow movements near them and they wont spook. My problem was the other damn birds!

Anyhow, I got lucky this weekend. I was able to capture both a female and male in pretty good view:

 

Female Anna's Hummingbird, resting on branch closest to window - sweet!

You might ask how I knew this was the female – well, you’ll the contrast in a second, but notice the size of the patch on her throat. That’s the spot that, caught in the right light, would shine a bright pink. On the female it is very small and often quite hard to spot if the sun is not shining on it. Her whole head and front are uniformly a light gray.

 

Female at the feeder - completely green back

Just as I was wondering to myself if I really had only spotted a female so far, this little guy appeared:

Male Anna's Hummingbird

See the difference? Completely dark head that even in the only partly sunny light is giving off that tell tale pink shine.

Success!

Breakfast at the backyard feeder

It’s a gray, drizzly morning and rain is in the forecast for tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if this fall/winter season proves what seemed to be a trend last year – more activity at the feeder when the weather is bad.

This morning there was a 15 minute flurry of activity beginning with my first ever sighting of Brown Towhees in the yard. While I was focusing on them, the White Crowned Sparrows that I had heard for the first time last weekend made their appearance. Then the Mourning Doves dropped in one by one. At one point there were twelve on the ground. The House Sparrows & House Finches fought over spots on the feeder, but all others were content on the ground. Then as I was snapping away I saw a small bland brown bird and did my best to focus and snap a shot before it fluttered away. House Wren! First positive ID of one in the yard.

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Backyard birding season begins!

Adult White-crowned Sparrow

Image via Wikipedia

I signed up last year towards the tale end for Project Feederwatch logging the birds I saw at my feeder every weekend. I’ll keep the stats for my personal use this year in here too. My first report though is on a bird that I *heard* through my open window this morning. 10/10/10 – first recording of a White Crowned Sparrow!

 

Yesterday I saw a female Wilson’s Warbler in the peach tree for several minutes. Not long enough to get to the camera though. Gotta set that up close by again so I can be ready.

Wilsons's Warbler - Female