Saturday, January 18, 2014

Today's walk report: 011814

Hummingbird population on the rise?

It would seem so. For the past few weeks I've only seen one or two hummingbirds in the botanical garden. Today there were at least 3 pairs. It's really hard to tell who's who sometimes since they zip around so quickly. I think the most I've ever counted, with reasonable certainty that I wasn't counting any more than once, was 12. That's me standing in one spot and trying to figure things out. As soon as I move it's a whole new ball game.

Yesterday I mentioned "the other" male Anna's hummingbird. Today the two of them took turns perching in the same relative spots. One of the two appeared to have a mate but I never got a really close look at a female, I just saw them paired in flight and they seemed to be together.

If I can get to "know" the birds I'll mostly likely stick with numbers for names. Here's Anna's male #1. I'll go back and cross check later but right now I'm reasonably confident this is the same bird as yesterday and is the 1st Anna's I saw close to Christmas.

This is #2.

Here's another shot off #2 taking off. Unfortunately the flash was still charging from a previous shot.

Knowing which bird is which allows me to understand their personalities better and can make for better photo ops. Male Anna's #1, for example, seems less bothered by my presence and that means I can get in closer and also maneuver around more before the bird takes off.

This Northern mockingbird was watching me so for a change of pace...

and from the other side...

This male rufous and another one pretty much kept their distance from me and hid in shadows whenever I approached. This is behavior I first noticed last year. Anna's hummingbirds are definately braver. They're also larger.

This most likely is the same Cooper's hawk I've seen in this tree and general vicinity before. This is about 45 meters away. I took the picture mainly because I need the practice identifying my birds. On that front I discovered this app today. It's free, published by Cornell University.

Big Red, once again waiting on sunset, also in his regular territory. This is one big bird. I was right under him when he took off and went atop a tree just in front of here.

It was a really nice "full" campus walk, 8.79 km. Low 80sº at the start to upper 60sº at the end. Once the sun goes down it cools off quick but we're still having a very warm winter.

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