May 1 – one baby left
Late this afternoon I walked over to inspect the nest and saw only one baby. I had to use the flash to get a picture as the nest was in deep shadow. Two days ago there were still two in there:
April 29th – still 2 on board
Late afternoon light is a good time for pictures as the low sun makes for dramatic contrast.
The babies are 10 days old now, and have increased in size enormously. They should be in the nest for another 10 days before they can fly. When I arrived the pair were sitting with beaks up, and no mother in sight. Then a squeak and she appeared on the nest. A quick feed and then she was gone. One baby got up and stretched, then they went back to their repose with beaks up.
baby stands up for a stretch and a look around
hey, there’s a world out there
back to sleep again
view from the sunny side – she always has her back to the sun
The baby hummingbirds arrived either Sunday April 8, or Monday the 9th. Anyways, on Monday the mother was feeding and the day before she was not. She keeps her back to the sun and so when I shoot from the east side my camera can’t deal with the brightness of the sky and the dim light within the tree.
feeding baby hummingbirds
I managed to fix them up as best I can, and they do give an idea of what’s going on. I was lucky to get a shot of the mother’s long tongue quite by luck.
Coincident with the hatched hummers, comes the first turtle of the season.
quietly she waits, keeping the eggs warm
The hummingbird sits patiently still. No babies yet to be seen. Nearby we see some other birds, no doubt thinking about nesting, or are they?
flicker chipping holes
spotted towhee, and a golden crowned sparrow
I visited 2 days ago, and it was raining.
I thought the nest was empty:
not quite empty
On closer inspection I saw that the mother was there, when she decided to shift position.
Back to the nest this afternoon, and the momma was sitting there when we arrived. No babies yet. Once again it was sunny and windy. I sat on the opposite side of the sun and tried to get some shots but the light was bad. Just then I looked up and there right above the nest, perhaps within 20 feet, sat a very windblown red tailed hawk. It too had the sun at its back so I had to move about to try and get a shot from a better angle. I was going from hawk to hummingbird, adjusting my camera and trying for a good shot all the while the wind was blowing the hawk’s feathers and the hummingbird nest all over the place.
female Anna’s Hummingbird
I bet the hummingbird knew the hawk was there – she hardly moved while we observed her, the hawk right above her nest.
Red Tailed Hawk
A few people passed by and didn’t notice anything, so we didn’t bother to tell them what we were looking at either. Further on we saw numerous birds and one oddity – a Rufous, or Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus), an uncommon bird hereabouts.
Rufous or Eastern Towhee
The regular crowd was out too; one Great Blue Heron, Mallards, Song Sparrows, Coots and Stellar’s Jays
More scenes from forest and field:
Stellar’s Jays are back for a while in transit
established lodgings for sparrows, after years sitting empty
Grape Hyacinth (muscari) in the field
March 24, 2017
1.30 pm – back at the nest waiting for the mother hummingbird. Got the 500mm lens on the camera now. Checked my focus and exposure ten times. Been here 5 minutes. Saw hummingbirds flying here and there but not near the nest. When I arrived I saw a squirrel heading down the trunk of the tree. Did it find the nest? I suppose not, as the nest is intact. Much chirping in the area.
Waiting… waiting… saw two Hairy Woodpeckers and a Red Tailed Hawk. People pass by on the trail, but I just sit here. No one sees the nest, and I don’t point my camera at it.
1.50 pm – the mother has to come soon. How long can she stay away feeding herself? Hold on, she’s over there on a branch. I blink and she’s gone again. Where did she go? She’s on the nest! I missed her fly 15 feet in a blink. Camera up, start clicking.
feed baby #1
baby #1 fed, check around
time for #2 next
feeding baby #2
done and gone in a second
Today on the trail I met two chaps observing something through a huge 3′ telescopic lens. I stopped to chat, curious about what they were looking at. It was a hummingbird nest.
I looked but didn’t see it at first, thinking it must have been 100 feet away. But it wasn’t – it was close at hand right on top of a bare branch, exposed to the weather. The mother returned and flitted around for a minute or so before a lighting on the branch, whereupon she began feeding the babies. I could see wide open tiny yellowish beaks from where I stood, but there was no sound. The big camera began clicking away and I didn’t want to horn in while watching, so I waited until many pictures had been taken then raised my own camera and focused on the mother. She stopped feeding, looked up and flew away. I did get one picture of her, however.
hummingbird and nest
Not far from there I saw a squirrel lying unusually still.
squirrel at rest
The field nearby is full of daffodils.
Going through the pictures from the last month I was struck by how much the weather has changed. In February we had plenty of snow.
Today when the sun came out it seemed like winter was long gone. Three days ago I saw a turtle, sunning.
People here are saying spring is a month later than normal.
red tailed hawk
flicker ground feeding
one of the “wild” cats that hang out in the park
a mouse, after the owl ate it
blue bug on the window
There has been a noticeable shift in the weather lately – despite almost constant rain for days, the sun’s warmth can be felt when it deigns to shine. Spring means migration, and the appearance of birds which either left town or went into hiding over the winter. I also got a very close look at the heretofore very shy muskrat, which inexplicably one day last week stood its ground despite the loud attention of numerous enthusiastic kids, and me with my camera almost in it’s face. Only the attack of an irate duck sent it on it’s way. Green buds abound in the brush, and in the field I saw new flowers poking up suddenly.