Tag Archives: Hummingbird

Late Summer Visitors During An Early Fall


Resting on a dead crab apple tree--the flashy green of a male hummingbird, just getting ready to take off.

Resting on a dead crab apple tree–the flashy green of a male hummingbird, just getting ready to take off.

It felt like fall for part of the first half of September, but now that we are starting the second half, it’s warming up again.

Probably not really summer warm, though.

Still, as I was getting dressed this morning, my preparation for work was temporarily delayed and I ran to grab my camera and shoot these images out of my bathroom window. They are not as clear as they could be for several reasons, including low morning light (it was just after 7) and shooting through a screen.

I think this is the female half of the pair--more brown than green. They did visit together, but I didn't get lucky enough to capture a photo of the two at the same time.

I think this is the female half of the pair–more brown than green, although it’s not easy to see from this side. They did visit together, but I didn’t get lucky enough to capture a photo of the two at the same time.

But a pair of hummingbirds, a male and a female, were visiting the feeders in my backyard.

They should leave soon. Hummingbirds migrate south, following the blooming flowers that are their food. The sites I consulted say that feeders such as mine don’t change the timing of that migration, which should occur soon.

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It looks like it’s sitting on the post, but I think she is hovering on the other side–note the beating wings barely visible.

Before they left, I’m glad to have caught them. I’ve seen hummingbirds now and then this summer, and I’ve been aware that something is drinking from the feeders. I’m glad to have proof that at least some of this food is going to its intended recipients!

Thanks for one of the final sights of summer, hummingbirds.

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Posing. Don’t often catch a hummingbird just sitting there.

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Luck be a Lady? Or a Random Sequence?


Puzzle

Lucky day, a done puzzle! Wait, Ben started working on it first. Shucks.

Is today your lucky day? Did you wish upon a lucky star? Is luck a lady?

I am not sure what luck is. I don’t have a strong hang up on fate. I do believe what has gone well in my life is sometimes a result of careful preparation and hard work—but a great deal of what has happened to me just happens.

I’m on the edge of 53 and healthy. Sure I bike and otherwise exercise, but I also take in way too many calories and many of the wrong calories. Luck or fate?

I have what I think is a healthy marriage and decent family life. But, why did I meet and fall in love with Audrey? I don’t think there was much destiny or fate there, and it seems to be a fair amount of random events that added up well.

Still, knock on wood. I feel I’ve lived a lucky life. Not all has gone well, but overall much of it has gone well enough. “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you have.”

I consider myself a fairly rational person. I don’t believe in ghosts, for example. Not that I reject the idea of an afterlife or spirits, but I don’t believe the dead interact directly with us.

Yet, I do engage in some superstitious practices. I try to do the crossword puzzle almost daily. My oldest daughter originated the idea of the “crossword wish” and the idea that you gain some luck karma by completing the puzzle. In her conception of the idea, if two collaborate, they share some luck but more luck is gained by a solo effort.

Really? Do I believe in crossword karma? Well, no, but you still feel luckier when the puzzle is done.

And the other day, I was looking outside on the back deck. There he was, a male hummingbird at the feeder. I snapped a few photos, but when I tried to slide open a door for a better look, well, he was quickly gone, speeding away fast like a hummingbird.

When I downloaded, though, one of the three photos I snapped did at least did show the bird.

How lucky.

Humming bird

Here then gone, hummingbird at the back feeder. Lucky shot.

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Changes in the Garden While I Was Gone


Hibiscus

Hibiscus began blooming during my week riding a bike across Iowa on RAGBRAI

What happened in the world while I was off the grid?

Oh, yeah, Obama caved and there is a budget deal. I’m not quite as angry as some seem to be—congressional Republicans seemed in no mood for rational thinking—but I can’t say I’m happy, either. With a crushing federal deficit to erase, the only answer is crushing spending cuts?

Blah. But I don’t feel into it enough to write a political rant just yet.

It felt a little odd getting back to my gardens after riding across Iowa on RAGBRAI. Despite oppressive heat—the first three days of the ride were proof that despite advanced pudgy middle age, I’m apparently able to tolerate hot weather—Iowa appears fairly lush. A lot of native cone flowers and lilies are in bloom. The corn is high and breathing out a lot of water vapor.

When I got back home, the lawn needed to be de-sticked and mowed, but it felt a little odd that seasons had not changed or anything. RAGBRAI was such an ordeal that it felt like it was much longer than a week—my son Jon and I noted to each other on day two that it seemed we’d been on RAGBRAI for months and not days.

Lizzie and mushroom

Granddaugther Lizzie looks at giant mushroom that came up in front yard--proof it could not have been all dry the week I was gone on RAGBRAI.

Mushroom in yard

Close look at mushroom of doom

When I got back, two of the hibiscuses were in bloom, though not the Rose of Sharon, yet. The biggest surprise is that one of the new hollyhock flowers I had planted chose to bloom this year—hollyhock aren’t always in a hurry to get into gear, and I wasn’t expecting much from these new plants. Nice to see this flower return to my garden, even if I miss the cool looking black ones in back that the bunnies ate out last year.

Well, here are some yard and garden photos. I moved several favored young trees—the walnut tree and two oak trees were sent to the deer garden behind the fence, where I hope one survives but I fear all will be salad. The mushrooms were put into the yardy cart before I began mowing.

Lizzie helped me take these garden photos, in that my visiting granddaughter from England babbled to me and walked around with me while I photographed.

All in all, it was hard to fathom that I’ve been gone only one week. The best sight I saw in the garden I had no chance to photograph—during a family gathering on Sunday, I took out some recycling and was walking by the east side of the house.

A male hummingbird chose that moment to feed on some hostas just two feet away from me.

Well, cool. It was a nice welcome back to the garden. Hope you enjoy the photos.

Hollyhock

New hollyhock in bloom

Peace Lily

Potted peace lilies--Spathiphyllum--also bloomed during RAGBRAI

Walnut tree

Couple of oaks and walnuts were transplanted before the post-RAGBRAI mow

Butterfly bush

Butterfly bush in front was already in bloom, but bloomed a lot more.

Bug eater

Spider on the deck. Had to rebuild the web after Sunday barbecue, but got the job done

Snake on a hose

Went to water Sunday after RAGBRAI and encountered this big garter snake. If it's Solomon, he tripled his size, so it's proabably not. To me, while a bit startling, the sight of such a snake in my garden is good news

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Bye & The Elusive Bird That Hums


Packed for RAGBRAI

Discovered on a hot training ride this week that camel pack and cooler like to ride together in front basket and get along well--and I can still drink without massive sweat zone on my back. Awesome. See you on the other side of RAGBRAI!

I don’t often see hummingbirds—years have gone by between sightings. I think they may have been more common in California—I do recall seeing some there in my youth. Until this year in Iowa, the sightings have been few and far between.

As you know, I saw one earlier this year in my foxglove.

This week, while watering my sister’s garden, I spied another one at her house. The cool thing was it actually flew to a tree and sat—rarer than seeing a hummingbird is seeing one sitting still. Not for long—I could not even unholster my camera before she (definitely she) took off again, but to see a hummingbird sitting still, well, cool.

Anyway, I’m on vacation sans computer for a bike ride with Jon across Iowa. See you, by blog fans, on the other side! In the meantime, check out the awesome blog by my daughter. It’s awesome.

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Photo Fever: Where the Hummingbird Feeds


Hummingbird.

UPDATE: After posting blog about hummingbird, I saw and photographed it!

Foxglove
Foxglove in wall garden in front yard, tasty to hummingbirds, apparently.

Yeah, I got it,  photo fever. My new Nikon makes me hungry.

The Gazette wasn’t there Wednesday morning, so I called. When they finally delivered it, I went out to pick it up, and a slight movement in the corner of my right eye made me glance towards the wall garden.

Where a hummingbird was feeding in the foxglove.

What a freaky, fast, funny bird. Hovering like a Huey for an instant, but then flitting off like lightning.

I watched it for maybe 5 seconds. Of course, I thought of grabbing my Nikon. Of course it would have been hopeless, the hummingbird finished its breakfast in a few seconds and flitted off.

Well, I was ready today. I sat on the front stoop reading The Gazette, camera worn like a necklace. But, did not see the bird, so I took some flower photos, most in the front wall garden where the bird-drawing foxglove are finishing their blooming, but a few in back, too.

Some photos here, more in a Facebook album.

And I have to be philosophical about the hummingbird. Even if she didn’t cooperate and get her photo taken, she was cool to see and I hope I glance her again. Catching her image isn’t likely, but it would be really, really cool.

And now I want a close up macro lens Garden Muse uses for her excellent photos. Oh well, I’m getting better garden photos this year anyway, and I need to learn how to use the Nikon.

The daddy longlegs is OK, but he’s no hummingbird.

UPDATE: Well shoot darn.  Spoke or wrote too soon.  After posting this entry on my blog, I cut myself a couple of slices of Audrey’s excellent homemade banana nut bread and sat down on my front stoop to enjoy breakfast.  With my Nikon, fortunately, as you can see on the first photo and in the final two at the end of this post. I was a bit far away, but the bird wasn’t staying long–still, it’s exciting to get any images at all of this quick little creature, and just cool to see it again.  (Looking at the photos, I’m not so sure the colors are dull, with hummingbirds it’s hard to see.)

Spider on bud

Spider on cone flower bud--actually, a daddy long legs, I think, a spider-like bug.

Asian lilies.

Asian lilies and buds in front wall garden (near foxglove).

The bird!

Humming bird ready for a foxglove snack.

It's a bird!

The hummingbird, ready to fly off after a 3-second breakfast.

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