Monday, October 3, 2005

Hummingbird Hangout

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Catch a critter in a picture! For the purposes of this photo shoot, a "critter" is a creature that is not a pet, so no dogs or cats, but mice, squirrels, pigeons, badgers, hedgehogs, wolverines, deer, dragons, sasquatch or any other sort of ambulatory thing is acceptable (as are bugs).

The problem with this Monday Photo Shoot is that by the time I got home and saw John Scalzi's entry, it was just about dusk on a rare cloudy Tucson day.  There was no time to go seek out wildlife beyond the confines of my neighborhood.  Our fenced yard gets no "critters" except lizards, geckos, spiders and bugs, and a very limited selection from the hundreds of bird species found in Southern Arizona.  That's what I miss most about our old house in the foothills on the west side of town.  We'd get coyotes and bunnies, javalinas and tortoises, toads and snakes and over 50 species of birds.  Not here, though.  *Sigh*.

I found no lizards tonight, but I did find a hummingbird in our dead grapefruit tree.  Unfortunately, a tiny bird at dusk, backlit with no sun shining anywhere, is not a colorful sight.  But I took a bunch of pictures anyway.  As I did, something mildly interesting happened.

hummer at dusk.

Hummingbird on a cloudy dusk.  In these conditions, I'd be hard-pressed to identify which of the many species of hummers that pass through AZ I'm looking at here.

hummer in context

The hummingbird in context.  Tiny!  This is a flash shot, not because I planned it, but because the camera decided a flash was needed.

hummer out on a limb.

The hummer impersonates a mourning dove.  This is redundant of him, because real mourning doves, as always, are on the telephone lines nearby.

hummer and friend.

New arrival - a male hummer, probably a Black-chinned Hummingbird.

hummer tete a tete

 Hummer consultation.

the female leaves.

The first hummer flies away.  The second one stays.

There she is.

Oh!  There she is, on another branch. On second thought, this is a different one.  The first one was probably a male Anna's Hummingbird.  This one may be a female Costa's Hummingbird, but is probably a female Anna's.  The second and third hummingbirds completely ignore each other.

hummer in motion.

The second hummer flaps his wings.

Eventually, both the second and third hummer flew away, leaving the tree empty.  Except for the Anna's Hummingbirds, they will soon leave the neighborhood entirely.  Of the eighteen species of hummingbirds found in Southern Arizona (most of which never reach my back yard), only the Anna's and Costa's will stay for the winter.

As I examine these pictures, I'm less and less sure exactly how many hummingbirds were involved in this little encounter.  There may have been as few as two, or as many as four.  But does it really matter?  The hummingbirds themselves didn't seem to think so.

Karen

Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory:  Hummingbirds of Arizona

5 comments:

onemoretina said...

Oh, I love hummingbirds.  They always make me smile !  Thanks for sharing, Tina
http://journals.aol.com/onemoretina/Ridealongwithme

rap4143 said...

Our hummingbirds have left to fly south :(.
Betty
http://journals.aol.com/rap4143/MyDayMyInterests/

deabvt said...

Wow! That is a wonderful picture story.
Thanks,
V

alphawoman1 said...

Good shots!

dornbrau said...

I don't see hummingbirds in my yard, its quite bare.  I would love to have them visit but my gardening skills leave a lot to be desired.  Don't you just love the little tinkling sound they make?