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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Aug 16, 2012

My first hummingbird

One morning this week I went out to try and spot some new birds.  Migration has begun, ever so slowly. There are birds arriving in one's and two's that I don't normally see after spring migration.  At first I didn't see much, so I busied myself taking photos of wildflowers, butterflies and dragonflies, knowing that eventually there would be birds about.  Birds have a tendency to move about from place to place in any forest, so all I had to do was wait.


It wasn't long before I began hearing the cheerful song of Chickadees.  Where there are Chickadees, it is quite likely that other birds are about as well.  So I stood very still, under cover of a Mountain Ash tree, and concentrated on noting flurries of movement.  I spotted a juvenile American Redstart almost right away, in amongst the Chickadees.

Juvenile American Redstart

There was nothing more for a few minutes as I continued to stand very still, and then something very tiny zipped by me so fast that I almost believed I had imaged it.  A few seconds later it zipped by me again, it was so fast that when I tried to keep my eye on it I had difficulty following where it went.  It took some time, and I had to step out from under cover to do so, but I finally spotted something the size and color of a new leaf perched at the very top of a dead snag.  If I hadn't been looking there just seconds before, I wouldn't have recognized that it was a bird.

Black-chinned Humming bird
Black-chinned humming bird profile

I realized almost instantly, by the size and bright color, that I had to be looking at a humming bird. While my heart rate kicked up and sounded like a drum to my own ears, I also realized, that it would have to stay perched so I could focus on it with the camera.  The problem was, it would perch only for a second or two before it would zip off again, and much like a butterfly, it was unpredictable as to the direction it would take.

Humming bird is getting alarmed

Now there are times when I can be very patient, especially if patience is essential. So I waited and watched, and waited some more.  It zipped by me several times more but finally landed behind me on the branch of a bush, near the Mountain ash I had been using as a blind of sorts earlier.  I slowly turned around, not wanting to startle it.  But it stayed, and to my great joy, I managed to get about twenty shots off before it disappeared for good.

Humming bird is making eye contact

Thank goodness for shutter speed settings. I couldn't wait to get home to check out my new photos and identify this little jewel of a bird.   I was delighted to find that not a single photo was blurred, although the light hadn't been great. With a little tweeking I managed to make the photos somewhat lighter and identify the humming bird as a female or juvenile Black-chinned humming bird. What a delight.

Here is the humming bird again

I had to go back and see if I could spot it again. This morning I got the little gem on camera in full sunlight.  Although this time it is a male, judging by the forked tail you can just make out through the branches.  Mind, I had to crop the photo so I could share it, but I'm still dancing a little jig in my head.  You may have to click on the photo to see a larger version.


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