With most of the bats having migrated this week, servicing the 33 hummingbird feeders takes less time and early mornings now allow time to watch life from the Upper Hummingbird Patio. Sitting with tea in hand, the light was such that a camera was necessary. (ALL photos from the next hour save the final one.)
There wasn’t any hurry, so sipping tea allowed time to observe. Many small birds were moving to the ‘birdbath’ area and the Hackberry/Mesquite Trees above it. Climbing to the top of the Upper H-bird Patio wall allowed a view and excellent angle on activities. Color was abundant, in many shades and hues.
Seed eating birds, bug eating birds, bathing birds, combinations of all working their way towards their individual goal. A female Western Tanager was detached from the fray, consuming Hackberry fruit from the upper reaches of the tree.
She ate constantly and quietly. Not could be said for this fellow, the Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps). It moved about making noise, assumedly about all the traffic in it’s home turf. It was gleaning the many bugs that reside in the bark of the mesquite.
The bathing birds were a great source of entertainment. Like people, some just ‘got their toes wet’, while others daintily splashed about or went completely for the big splash. The Western Tanager was a ‘dainty one’, she never really jumped into the water, but spent a lot of time curiously watching the others.
Calm communal bathing was briefly interrupted when our friend Felix emerged from under the juniper at my feet. The birds gave alarm calls, but he showed no interest. He had been sleeping down by the bike shop, but MaryEllen was making some noise, so he sought another place. Lazily, he scanned the BP Meadow before three bounds took him under the Mexican Elderberry Bush. He was so close, this is all I got…
He didn’t visit long, just a quick glance under the Lower Hummingbird Patio feed zone.
The Lucy’s Warbler (Oreothlypis luciae) was the first to return. It looked from the interior of the brush overhanging the bath before dropping to the ground.
Skipping across the water with short quick bursts, it was soon very soaked and happy before flying immediately into the top of the Hackberry to warm in the sun.
The Hermit Warbler was hermit-like, choosing to stay in the cover, moving quickly and not allowing great views. the tell-tale unstreaked flanks are a distinguishing characteristic. The slight shadow across the bill (in the photo) can cause a slight hesitance in identification, upon first glance.
Not as shy as their ‘cousin’, the Townsend’s Warblers (Dendroica townsendi) enjoyed the clean bath. Upon sharing this photo with a friend (and you), while I’m going to identify it as such, we believe it could be a Townsend’s/Hermit Warbler hybrid, a very common thing.
Our winter sparrows are rapidly returning. Besides the Rufous-winged sparrows bathing, there were several other species. Two of three have been identified, both being rather easy. The Chipping Sparrows have returned in good numbers.
A juvenile Chipping Sparrow (see chest identifier…thanks Rick Wright) was present, just a bit reticent to bathe with all the traffic.
The Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia) was the best! First the feet, toes and tail-feathers were ‘dipped’.
After a little movement to check the temp, ‘head and shoulders’ were plunged underwater!
Standing upright quickly and alert, it looked for any response of anything in the brush. Droplets were flying!
Apparently, it didn’t sense danger because the next step was crazy! PLUNGE and complete immersion, with rapid wingbeats!
I want to reiterate that ALL of the previous photos were taken from one location, not moving a foot! Our place is getting a following for the hummingbirds, but, with several acres of restored habitat, we are so much more than ‘just hummingbirds’. So, with that, here’s a closing hummingbird ‘feeder’ shot, taken in the evening (from the same patio). This is a male Broad-billed Hummingbird (Cynanthus latirostrus).
Thanks for looking!