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A Hummingbird's Feast

A Hummingbird's Feast
Photo Information
Copyright: Kathy Meader (writerscrawlz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 277 W: 2 N: 924] (2961)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-08-09
Categories: Birds
Camera: Cannon EOS Rebel XTi, 28-300mm
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/800 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2009-08-12 11:15
Viewed: 3294
Points: 4
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
From what I can tell by going through my Birds of the Inland Northwest this particular hummingbird appears to be a male Calliope (Stellula calliope), but I could be wrong. Sometimes I miss small details that help me identify a species due to some diminished vision, so if the identification is incorrect, I'd appreciate the heads up so I can make the appropriate changes.

On this particular morning, I wanted hummingbirds in a natural setting instead of on a bird feeder. The vast array of colors, insects teaming about, bees buzzing from here to there, and the various calls of songbirds were the things my heart needed; I call it a natural high.

This was taken around mid-morning, but I had to wait at least an hour for them to show up. There's several gardens around, and as I've always done, I spy on my neighbors' flowers (even using field glasses now so I'm not quite so obvious - amazing how many houses I can study from the park - and how vivid the flowers are!) to see who has the most birds, the most dragonflies, or whatever else I'm looking for.

Rumor had it that a dozen or so hummers showed up at a particular place, and wanting to check it out, I took two cameras, strong field glasses (actually once used for hunting that my friend in California gave me) my dog, water for dog, water for me, tripod, doggy treats, human treats (not for the doggy!), nuts and corn for the squirrels, nature books to read while I waited, actual recordings I downloaded off the net and also recorded myself while out in the field on a digital recorder (to bring them in), and a toy for doggy if he got bored. I also attempted to bring a folding camp chair that I kept dropping; that, I'm afraid I had to leave at home.

Everything was loaded into two backpacks (except for the cameras and field glasses; those were around my neck - each with a different lens), and I made the two block trek.

Doggy, my sarcastic and playful collie, found it quite amusing to pinch my rear as we trekked to the place I staked out. Others we passed found it more amusing than I did. So, while walking and carrying all my booty, I felt like I was doing the old dance "The Twist" as I attempted to dodge Bad Doggy's eye-teeth nipping at my rear (and a large one it is!)

Eventually we arrived at our destination. Oh, I also brought a blanket for doggy so he didn't have to lie in in stinging ants, though after the rear thing, I doubt I would've felt too sorry for him!

I spread out the blanket, filled the dog's water bowl, gave him a treat to chomp on (which he promptly ignored), and readied my camera - only to discover that the lens cover that keeps the sun off the lens had fallen off.

I dragged...okay, took somebody's plastic chair (would have asked if there'd been somebody, and yes, I returned it!), placed my backpacks on it, made sure doggy was secure, and proceeded to retrace my steps in order to locate the lens cover.

With the use of my field glasses, I quickly spotted them roughly a block away on the grass in the middle of the park. I'm assuming it fell off when I twisted to avoid another doggy pinch...

Once more I returned to my stake-out site. Gulped down the cup of ice water I thought to bring with me, and then waited...and waited some more.

Although I was there to capture hummingbirds, I did notice several bees, dragonflies, and golden finches. I figured I'd shoot a few; I didn't want to go home without any photos.

I was probably there a little over an hour and was about ready to head back home due to the heat and sun when the first hummer arrived. Gold!

The treasure I was after appeared - almost like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

In my quest to get as many hummers as possible, I forgot about the sun and the heat until doggy gave me a warning bark. (He was in the shade; I was not.)

The hummers were moving so fast that I didn't think I could keep up with them if I used the tripod. Also, knowing how my hands will sometimes have tremors, I set the shutter speed at 800 to account for those.

The sun was especially bright, but the fast ISO seemed to help negate that. For this photo, I cropped and added a bit of unsharp, and a dab of contrast. Other than that, this just a smaller version of the original.

One thing I noticed - and I'm not sure if other senses are responding to my sight, but my hearing seems to be more keen. Different hummingbirds seem to have a different humming sound as they fly. I don't mean their voices; those are obviously different.

There were two distinct species that day, but the other didn't come out so well, and that was the Rufous Hummingbird. (I have one of those on a feeder I may post in a day or two) I could actually tell which one was flying around me by the sound of its wings; I felt something swell within me. The best way I know how to describe it is the feeling a baby or toddler might get when he or she discovers something for the first time and it brings immediate pleasure.

I walked away with more than photos; I walked away with a little more knowledge, a little more peace in my heart, and my soul felt a little lighter.

My load was also a little lighter...wanting to get even for Doggy's devilish trick of pinching my rear on the way to our spot, and at the same time wanting to cool him down, I took great pleasure in dumping what water we had left on top of him. Given he's afraid he'll melt whenever he gets wet, it brought me a bit of satisfaction of payback!

In the end, even though I spent too much time in the sun and heat, the pictures were well worth it. And, that, my friends is why I'm not online as much. I love the outdoors, but it takes a lot out of me - but the pleasure I get from being around nature isn't diminished; it just means that I need to recover longer from my excursions - and for me, the captures are worth it.

Now, since I was told yesterday's posting was my 300th, I'm proud to dedicate this 301 posting to all here who have encouraged me, laughed at my stories, given me pointers, befriended me, and in general, contributed so much to my life that even when I feel at my worst, I press forward for one more capture, one more photo so that I can post it here and share my joy with all of you.

Without realizing it, all of you have become such a wonderful part of my life and it keeps me motivated to press forward and focus on what I can do instead of what I can't. I am inspired by all of you, and for that...thank you.

Enjoy your day!
Kathy :-)

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To NinaM: still laughing!writerscrawlz 1 08-14 18:08
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an absolutely lovely bird.....wow..Kathy you have improved in the past 2 years 200 percent...i told you by voice the other day and I'll testify here....same thing...don't know if it was just motivation or what....

  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2009-08-14 6:47]
  • [+]

Freeze! Coucou Kathy, me again enjoying your notes and picture, love the "colibri" (hummingbird in French) that is stopped short by the camera. How sharp and neat. You are lucky to get many species of hummingbirds, here we only have one. Have a great day and beware of the Ass-Biter! ;-)))) Do you know The Fool in the tarot cards? It's the last card where you see a man walking with a little white dog biting its butt. A nice card to meditate upon.


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