Hummer Haven UnLtd.: Blog http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog en-us (C) Hummer Haven UnLtd. (Hummer Haven UnLtd.) Sat, 14 Jul 2018 15:01:00 GMT Sat, 14 Jul 2018 15:01:00 GMT http://hummerhavenunltd.com/img/s/v-5/u594331759-o146253739-50.jpg Hummer Haven UnLtd.: Blog http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog 120 80 Dog days of Summer 7-14-18 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/7/dog-days-of-summer-7-14-18 They are here, the dog days of Summer. It seems like every critter has slowed down a bit, conserving energy in this heat. I've never seen a squirrel get in the water to cool off, but they do like to lay on the stone wall, close to the cooling effect of it.

 

Eastern Gray Squirrel 7-10-18Eastern Gray Squirrel 7-10-18

 

Birds are different indeed. They love to find the nearest bird bath and refresh their little selves. Sometimes one by one, and sometimes two by two, they dive in. These young Carolina Wrens were soon chased off by the female cardinal who wanted a bit of the action.

 

Two juvenile Carolina Wrens 7-13-18Two juvenile Carolina Wrens 7-13-18

Northern Cardinal 7-13-18Northern Cardinal 7-13-18

 

The other bird bath had a pair of Eurasian Tree Sparrows thinking about it. Once they left, a Tufted Titmouse didn't hesitate.

 

Pair of Eurasian Tree Sparrows 7-13-18Pair of Eurasian Tree Sparrows 7-13-18

Tufted Titmouse 7-13-18Tufted Titmouse 7-13-18

 

Birds like this Carolina Chickadee continued the splash-fest while the temperature climbed to 97 degrees.

 

Carolina Chickadee 7-13-18Carolina Chickadee 7-13-18

 

We've started watering again to help the plants until the rains come. The sprinkler was on the garden when we saw a Ruby-throated Hummingbird take a little shower before perching in the pond cypress. Dan spotted an Eastern Phoebe splash-bathing in the stream bed late one afternoon. Another day, an uncommon Yellow-billed Cuckoo went to the Bubbler for a long drink. So the birds remain active during this time. Be they thirsty, hungry or needing to feed young, almost anywhere we look at any time of day, there's bound to be something to see.

 

We hear the Barred Owls at different times but I have yet to find a youngster. The Red-shouldered Hawks slip into the woods and perch, waiting for a vole to make its last move.

 

Red-shouldered Hawk 7-10-18Red-shouldered Hawk 7-10-18

 

The hummingbirds still hit the feeders in between nectaring at various flowers. This beauty is a favorite, the native Royal Catchfly (Silene regia).

 

Royal Catchfly (Silene regia) 7-12-18Royal Catchfly (Silene regia) 7-12-18

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird 7-13-18Ruby-throated Hummingbird 7-13-18

 

I've been hearing a House Wren across the street when I water the plants on the front porch. Yesterday, I happened to catch it looking for food near the pond.

 

House Wren 7-13-18House Wren 7-13-18

 

Summer is also the busiest time for butterflies and other insects. I saw a female Monarch one day, laying a few eggs in the garden. She headed south before I could grab the camera. Great Spangled Fritillaries bounce about the coneflowers when the sun is high. This one is a bit tattered. The underside of its hindwing has large silver spots, which help to differentiate it from the Variegated Fritillary.

 

Great Spangled Fritillary 6-20-18Great Spangled Fritillary 6-20-18

 

A velvety Spicebush Swallowtail nectared at Black-and-blue Salvia in the shade before resting on some Cliff Goldenrod (Solidago drummondii).

 

Spicebush Swallowtail 7-11-18Spicebush Swallowtail 7-11-18

 

One of many Silver-spotted Skippers nectared at this Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) in the garden.

 

Silver Spotted Skipper 7-11-18Silver Spotted Skipper 7-11-18

 

A Familiar Bluet damselfly found a stem of Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) to rest on.

 

Familiar Bluet 7-11-18Familiar Bluet 7-11-18

 

So, keep a lookout for activity in your gardens. Fingers crossed, the rains will come and cool things off a bit. Who knows, maybe there will be a few first of fall migrants soon?

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/7/dog-days-of-summer-7-14-18 Sat, 14 Jul 2018 15:00:33 GMT
Bubbler Pond Makeover 6-29-18 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/6/bubbler-pond-makeover-6-29-18 Our good friends, Sue and Kim Poley decided this past winter that it was time for a facelift for their Bubbler Pond. They had followed our lead years ago and found a preformed pond on sale in the fall of 2004. They started with that pond, one Bubbler rock and basin/cascade for their Bubbler, doing all the work themselves. They soon added a second Bubbler rock and cascade for it. Sue had diligently added native trees and perennials to help feed the birds as well. In March, I took some 'before' photos.

 

Before View of Poley Bubbler Pond 3-18-18Before View of Poley Bubbler Pond 3-18-18

 

The water flowed through the two main Bubbler rocks, into the cascades and then into the pond. The water constantly re-circulated via the pump and a filter. They used a similar heater to ours in the coldest weather.

 

Before View of Poley Bubbler Pond 3-18-18Before View of Poley Bubbler Pond 3-18-18

 

All of this was functional and had attracted many birds over time. Sue has documented a variety of species including Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Red-breasted Nuthatch in addition to many resident birds. She has also seen at least 18 species of warblers, including Golden-winged, Yellow-throated and in 2015, a female Black-throated Blue Warbler. So, their bubbler was working yet it was not aesthetically pleasing to them. Their situation reminded me of this quote, which I think can apply to a garden or water feature as well. 

 

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."  William Morris

 

Why not have a thing be both useful and beautiful at the same time? Sue and Kim wanted to achieve a more natural and appealing look by hiding the mechanics of the water feature. It was time to call in some pros to help them. I recommended the company that we've had here to work on our large pond, Bauer Falls LLC. The Bauers were part of the initial crew that installed our pond ten years ago. (Disclaimer - I receive no monetary benefit from recommending them, I just love their work and apparently, so do the birds!) 

 

Josh and Caleb Bauer have installed water gardens and pondless bubblers for other friends and also for the Brightside Demonstration Garden in the city of St. Louis. Here are a couple of photos from the Brightside Garden. What a great resource! You can learn more about it here:

 Brightside Demonstration Garden

 

Brightside Water Feature 6-7-17Brightside Water Feature 6-7-17 American Robin bathing in Brightside Water Feature 6-7-17American Robin bathing in Brightside Water Feature 6-7-17

 

Work on the new look of the Poley Bubbler Pond began the first week of June. The old pond was removed first, then the pond area was dug out to enlarge it. A shelf was added for a shallow stream bed. By Thursday, June 7, 2018 the transformation had begun to take shape. Following the original idea of having two Bubbler rocks, Josh prepared two new ones with larger holes. This really helps the water to 'bubble' as it comes up through the rock instead of shooting high. Josh uses a larger pump to recirculate more water each hour. One rock would sit in the main pond area, the second in the shallow stream bed. The water then flows over all the crevices in the rocks. The valves can be turned to adjust the flow if needed.

 

Bubbler Rock #2 6-7-18Bubbler Rock #2 6-7-18 Bubbler Rock #1 piped in 6-7-18Bubbler Rock #1 piped in 6-7-18 Bubbler Rock #2 piped in 6-7-18Bubbler Rock #2 piped in 6-7-18

 

On Monday, June 11, it was time to test the flow by partially filling the pond. Yes, it was still a construction site, but it was time to get excited. Sue and I were beginning to understand how well this was going to work!

 

Poley Bubbler Pond testing the flow 6-11-18Poley Bubbler Pond testing the flow 6-11-18

 

The men wrapped it up that afternoon. The water would take a day or two to clear, but that is par for the course. Sue and Kim love the new look as the rough limestone rock blends into their native garden style so well. The sound of the moving water effectively masks other noise and helps them relax when they sit on their adjacent patio.

 

Poley Bubbler Pond 6-11-18Poley Bubbler Pond 6-11-18

 

Here's the schematic. The water is pulled through the Bio-filter and then pumped up through both Bubbler rocks and out another pipe from the Bio-filter, into the pond and then recirculates. This system refreshes all the water in the pond 3 times an hour. There is an overflow on the left side that ensures the water will stay at the current level even if there is a heavy rainstorm.

 

Poley Bubbler Pond 6-11-18Poley Bubbler Pond 6-11-18

 

Here is another view of the stream bed or shallow pool area on the left and a couple close-ups of the Bubbler rocks.

 

Poley Bubbler Pond 6-11-18Poley Bubbler Pond 6-11-18 Bubbler Rock #2 Poley Bubbler Pond 6-11-18Bubbler Rock #2 Poley Bubbler Pond 6-11-18 Bubbler Rock #1 Poley Bubbler Pond 6-11-18Bubbler Rock #1 Poley Bubbler Pond 6-11-18

 

So, the work was done. Sue had added some wonderful, stable branches from her collection for perches. At this point, it was a waiting game to see who would venture in first. I went back to photograph any activity on Tuesday, June 19. The birds were not used to anyone sitting outside and watching them, Sue usually keeps tabs from inside the back door. Carolina Chickadees, Mourning Doves and others came to the feeders and kept an eye on me, aware and a bit wary of the green hat with the big lens.

 

Mourning Dove Poley Bubbler Pond 6-19-18Mourning Dove Poley Bubbler Pond 6-19-18

 

An Eastern Chipmunk was the first to get a drink.

 

Chipmunk Poley Bubbler Pond 6-19-18Chipmunk Poley Bubbler Pond 6-19-18

 

Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals and American Robins were using other trays of water or bird baths that Sue had nearby.

 

Blue Jay at Birdbath 6-19-18Blue Jay at Birdbath 6-19-18

Northern Cardinal 6-19-18Northern Cardinal 6-19-18

A House Finch watched me, quizzically.

 

House Finch 6-19-18House Finch 6-19-18

 

A young Brown-headed Cowbird finally came down and took a drink from Bubbler Rock #1. Sue had seen this bird there several times.

 

Brown-headed Cowbird Poley Bubbler Pond 6-19-18Brown-headed Cowbird Poley Bubbler Pond 6-19-18

 

The bird went over to the bird bath where its adoptive parent, a Northern Cardinal, met it with some food.

 

Brown-headed Cowbird fed by Northern Cardinal 6-19-18Brown-headed Cowbird fed by Northern Cardinal 6-19-18

 

A Common Grackle came down but left quickly when it spotted us. Yep, Sue's birds were not used to our presence out there. But another issue was obvious to me. I counted five other small bird baths surrounding the Bubbler Pond, nestled into the garden beds. It is really important to offer fresh, cool water in this heat. Perhaps it was easier for the birds to go to these rather than investigate the new Bubbler Pond? "Sue, I think it's time for some tough love!" I really couldn't imagine a finer water source than this new water feature for the birds and maybe they needed a bit of a push to come to it. Sue agreed and emptied some of those bird baths and turned them over. This would be less maintenance for her, too!

 

Common Grackle Poley Bubbler Pond 6-19-18Common Grackle Poley Bubbler Pond 6-19-18

 

I returned on Saturday, June 23 to sit again and see what might come. Birds were in the surrounding Serviceberries and at the feeders. The water was beautifully clear and inviting with room for plenty!

 

Poley Bubbler Pond - Shallow Stream  6-23-18Poley Bubbler Pond - Shallow Stream 6-23-18 Poley Bubbler Pond - Shallow Stream  6-23-18Poley Bubbler Pond - Shallow Stream 6-23-18

 

There was one interested customer, a young male Northern Cardinal. Well, the bird came pretty close to getting in. Patience will prevail. As Sue tucks in more native plants around the Bubbler, it will look even more natural to them. 

 

Curious Northern Cardinal juvenile  6-23-18Curious Northern Cardinal juvenile 6-23-18  

 

I mean really, how can they possibly resist?? Sue told me today that the Northern Cardinals, House Finches, Eurasian Tree Sparrows and Carolina Wrens have been coming in and getting drinks and an occasional bath. I think the new Bubbler has begun to win them over! The residents will soon be used to it and by August when fall migration begins, the place will again be a hub of activity.

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/6/bubbler-pond-makeover-6-29-18 Sat, 30 Jun 2018 02:52:53 GMT
Summer is here! 6-21-18 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/6/summer-is-here-6-21-18 Summer has officially arrived, although it has felt like summer since early May. Today, we've had a bit of a respite and tomorrow's high may only reach 75 degrees. We'll take it!

 

Nesters have been busy and calling a bit more when it's cooler in the mornings. I heard a Warbling Vireo two days ago, which means that species may now be raising young nearby. The Northern Cardinals are raising a second brood. This juvenile male is on its own now.

 

Northern Cardinal juvenile 6-13-18Northern Cardinal juvenile 6-13-18

 

The Red-shouldered Hawks have been seen in the woodland, hunting voles and possibly larger prey. The male often works from this stump.

 

Red-shouldered Hawk 6-13-18Red-shouldered Hawk 6-13-18

 

The female Red-shouldered Hawk has been taking a different approach, sometimes trying to catch goldfish!

 

Red-shouldered Hawk fishing 6-14-18

 

I've been seeing both male and female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and managed to photograph this female at the south feeder. The bird is just refueling to be able to capture more insects to feed the nestlings. Instead of the nectar from plants, this time the feeder was more convenient. 

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird female 6-13-18Ruby-throated Hummingbird female 6-13-18

 

A young Great Crested Flycatcher perched near the bubbler one afternoon, checking out the water.

 

Great Crested Flycatcher juvenile 6-14-18Great Crested Flycatcher juvenile 6-14-18

 

My friend, Sue Poley and I were getting ready to leave for the Native Plant Garden Tour last Saturday, June 16. We were looking at pond plants that I was going to share with her when I heard an Eastern Wood-Pewee call. Sue spotted it on the cedar perch near the dripper in the east bed. The bird then hovered, sipped from the dripper and flew higher in the tree. Some sightings we just smile and enjoy! We also enjoyed seven of the ten gardens on the Native Plant tour that day, despite the heat warning and 107 degree heat index. It was well attended and I did take some photos which you can view here:  

2018 Native Plant Garden Tour

 

The next post will feature the makeover of this well-loved Bubbler! Check back in a week when I'll share the creative transformation! 

 

Before View of Poley Bubbler Pond 3-18-18Before View of Poley Bubbler Pond 3-18-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/6/summer-is-here-6-21-18 Fri, 22 Jun 2018 03:17:34 GMT
Babes in the Woodland 6-7-18 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/6/babes-in-the-woodland-6-7-18 Babes of all shapes and sizes are seen at this point in the year. The Northern Cardinal pair have nested again in the Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) on the arbor by the pond. Their first brood is out and about. It is always somewhat gratifying as I watch them lead the young to the Bubbler and leave them to it. To me, that signals the Bubbler to be a safe place for the fledglings to explore on their own while the adults are off finding food.

 

Northern Cardinal fledgling 5-29-18Northern Cardinal fledgling 5-29-18 Northern Cardinal fledgling 5-29-18Northern Cardinal fledgling 5-29-18

 

The female Northern Cardinal is seen in this clip carrying more material to rebuild the nest. Look closely on the left, there's a Ruby-throated Hummingbird nectaring at the flowers of this native plant. Coral Trumped Honeysuckle is also a host plant for the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth.

 

Northern Cardinal and Ruby-throated Hummingbird 6-1-18

 

Two Tufted Titmouse siblings were investigating the Bubbler and surrounding trees one day while I was planting pots on the deck.

 

Tufted Titmouse 6-4-18Tufted Titmouse 6-4-18 Tufted Titmouse 6-4-18Tufted Titmouse 6-4-18 Tufted Titmouse 6-4-18Tufted Titmouse 6-4-18

 

The Eastern Phoebes are nesting nearby, possibly under the eave of a neighbor's porch. But the pair have been coming in and collecting material to reinforce their nest. It was a surprise to me to see one pulling string algae off the Bubbler rock. That's the first time I've witnessed this behavior and the algae has practically disappeared. Moss is commonly used and the rocks in the basin are covered with it. The basin has become a very convenient source for them.

 

Eastern Phoebe gathering string algae 5-30-18Eastern Phoebe gathering string algae 5-30-18 Eastern Phoebe gathering moss 5-31-18Eastern Phoebe gathering moss 5-31-18

 

There are other critters as well, baby squirrels, chipmunks and deer.  We had lived here for 15 years before I ever saw a deer.  It became the joke of the neighborhood. "She can see the tiniest bird and not see a deer?!!!" It was true. Boy, has that ever changed. Deer are multiplying rapidly around us and it amazes me with our proximity to the busiest 4-lane road and interstate in the county. Deer find it comfortable in the suburban areas partly because of all the invasive bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) in yards. Deer move easily through it, are well-camouflaged and will bed down under it. That means that the ticks that feed on the deer increase as well, bringing the higher possibility of disease to us. That reality is not a comforting thought. Deer also jump into the paths of cars, I know of at least four incidents. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt. 

 

We have removed all of the invasive bush honeysuckle in our yard, and there was 8,000 square feet of it to tackle. It remains throughout the neighborhood, though. Deer have learned where the dogs live and avoid those yards. They come to our yard when other yards are being mowed. Over the last few years, does have been bringing their young fawns here, to feed, drink and rest. One has to admit, the fawns are pretty cute; we are programmed to appreciate "cute". 

 

White-tailed Doe and Fawn 5-30-18

 

This doe was feeding on violets, jewelweed and sweet coneflower in the garden one afternoon.  The doe will leave the fawn in cover to rest while it feeds.  

 

White-tailed Doe 6-1-18White-tailed Doe 6-1-18 White-tailed Fawn 6-2-18White-tailed Fawn 6-2-18

 

Now, we all have our limits! This morning, I had come in for another cup of coffee to take to the gazebo when I looked up to see a doe eating a lovely Fuchsia "Gartenmeister" I had just planted in a pot on the deck.  "NO!" I clapped my hands and the doe looked at me first to see if I was serious, then bounded off a ways.  Eating jewelweed is one thing but I draw the line at anything on my deck or porch.  I chose the Fuchsia so my blue-eyed boys could watch for the hummingbirds that come to it. Good grief!

 

Fuchsia eaten by doe 6-7-18Fuchsia eaten by doe 6-7-18 Doe under bush honeysuckle 6-7-18Doe under bush honeysuckle 6-7-18

 

And so it goes...the daily challenges of trying to live in peaceful coexistence.

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/6/babes-in-the-woodland-6-7-18 Thu, 07 Jun 2018 16:06:58 GMT
May is a wrap! 5-31-18 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/5/may-is-a-wrap What a month it has been! The weather turned warm and with those southerlies, the birds swarmed in.

Here is the month in numbers:

 

Year-to-date Yard Species Total: 106 species

Year-to-date Bubbler/Pond Species Total: 77 species

Total Species for May: 87 species

New record: 8 days of 50 species or more

New Best Day record: 58 species with 16 warblers on 5-4-2018

 

A couple weeks ago, I said that the Kentucky Warbler seen on 5-8-18 might have been the same one I had seen a week earlier. I've reviewed the photos and now believe they were two different birds. The first bird seen on 5-1-18 is richer and deeper in color overall. It was a bit further away, but one can tell the difference. I don't recall ever having two of these beautiful birds in the same season before.

 

Kentucky Warblers seen 5-1-18 and 5-8-18Kentucky Warblers seen 5-1-18 and 5-8-18

 

Details keep life interesting! I was able to add an image of the second Kentucky Warbler to the exhibit at Powder Valley. The exhibit will be up another week, until Friday afternoon, 6-8-18 for those of you who may still want to view it. Here are the particulars again:

 

The exhibit is free! You are invited to stop in at Powder Valley, stroll through the Art Hallway and enjoy the display.  

The area is open every day, but building hours are restricted, see below or check here:  Powder Vally CNC

Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

11715 Cragwold Road

Kirkwood, MO 63122-7000

314-301-1500

Building Hours:

Sun Closed

Mon Closed

Tue 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Wed 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Thu 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Fri 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Sat 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

 

As promised, here is the link to my online gallery of the photos in the exhibit:  Warblers!

The 8" x 10" metal prints will be available for purchase. Contact me for information at: hummerhaven@sbcglobal.net 

 

Check back next week for a new blog post on "Babes in the Woodland". 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/5/may-is-a-wrap Fri, 01 Jun 2018 02:11:05 GMT
A Bevy of Beauties 5-15-18 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/5/a-bevy-of-beauties-5-15-18 The details of life are exquisite!

 

This is our 21st spring here and as of today, I have documented 105 species of birds for the year. This includes 26 warbler species and 77 species at the Bubbler.  For a slow start to migration, it has been truly remarkable with 12-14 warbler species here each day. I have been burning the candle at both ends to photograph, go through hundreds and upload the best photos. From those, here are my favorites of the past week.

 

First are Blackpoll Warblers, male and female. Note those diagnostic orangey legs!

 

Blackpoll Warbler 5-10-18Blackpoll Warbler 5-10-18

Blackpoll Warbler female 5-14-18Blackpoll Warbler female 5-14-18

 

Wilson's Warblers wear their little black caps.

  Wilson's Warbler 5-10-18Wilson's Warbler 5-10-18 Wilson's Warbler 5-12-18Wilson's Warbler 5-12-18

 

The "Firethroat" or Blackburnian Warbler is next. Male is in photos 1 and 2, and a female in photo 3. The female even has a hint of a fiery throat.

 

Blackburnian Warbler 5-10-18Blackburnian Warbler 5-10-18 Blackburnian Warbler 5-10-18Blackburnian Warbler 5-10-18

Blackburnian Warbler female 5-14-18Blackburnian Warbler female 5-14-18

 

Black-and-white Warblers were here, male and female which happened to be photographed on the same day. The male has the black throat.

 

Black-and-white Warbler 5-10-18Black-and-white Warbler 5-10-18 Black-and-white Warbler female 5-10-18Black-and-white Warbler female 5-10-18

 

Chestnut-sided Warblers, with a male in photo 1 and a female on the Bubbler rock in the next. A Tennessee Warbler grabbed a snack next to the female in photo 3.

 

Chestnut-sided Warbler 5-12-18Chestnut-sided Warbler 5-12-18 Chestnut-sided Warbler 5-10-18Chestnut-sided Warbler 5-10-18 Chestnut-sided and Tennessee Warblers 5-10-18Chestnut-sided and Tennessee Warblers 5-10-18

 

A Black-throated Green Warbler enjoyed a bath in the basin.

 

Black-throated Green Warbler 5-11-18Black-throated Green Warbler 5-11-18

 

A lovely Yellow Warbler was seen two days in a row. 

 

Yellow Warbler 5-11-18Yellow Warbler 5-11-18

Yellow Warbler 5-11-18Yellow Warbler 5-11-18

 

A female Common Yellowthroat came to the Bubbler several days. We both saw the male, but it did not come in closer this year.

  Common Yellowthroat female 5-12-18Common Yellowthroat female 5-12-18

 

Singing Canada Warblers were here on Mother's Day. This was the first time I had photographed two males! Bird #1 is nicely marked in photos 1 and 2, but does not wear as heavy a "necklace" as Bird #2 in photos 3 and 4. 

 

Canada Warbler #1 5-13-18Canada Warbler #1 5-13-18

Canada Warbler #1 5-13-18Canada Warbler #1 5-13-18 Canada Warbler #2 5-13-18Canada Warbler #2 5-13-18 Canada Warbler #2 5-13-18Canada Warbler #2 5-13-18

 

I was very pleasantly surprised to see another Bay-breasted Warbler come in on the same day. Some years I see them, but don't have a chance to catch any photos.

  Bay-breasted Warbler 5-13-18Bay-breasted Warbler 5-13-18

 

Magnolia Warblers have been very cooperative this year, some years they stay more hidden. They are gorgeous birds, the female is in photo 3. 

 

Magnolia Warbler 5-13-18Magnolia Warbler 5-13-18

Magnolia Warbler 5-13-18Magnolia Warbler 5-13-18 Magnolia Warbler female 5-14-18Magnolia Warbler female 5-14-18 Magnolia Warbler 5-14-18Magnolia Warbler 5-14-18

 

All in all, between the weather and dry conditions, the birds have been tumbling in and seemed glad to find food, water and a place to rest! If ever there was a year to share nature's bounty of warblers, this has been the one! 

 

For all the photos since the last post, start here:  Photos since 5-8-18 

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/5/a-bevy-of-beauties-5-15-18 Tue, 15 May 2018 17:21:05 GMT
Birds, beyond words! http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/5/birds-beyond-words Kentucky Warbler 5-8-18Kentucky Warbler 5-8-18

Roger Tory Peterson on the Kentucky Warbler:  "Learn the song; for every ten Kentuckies heard, one is seen."

 

This May has been the very best of the best so far! It is difficult to put into words how this feels. For years, we've worked together toward removing invasive species of plants, adding natives, and watching the woodland recover. Every layer of the canopy now provides a bounty of food for the birds. This past week has been record-breaking in terms of the numbers of species I've documented here since 1996. I have had six days already with over 50 species each day. The highest count was on Friday, 5-4-18 with 58 species including 16 warblers. It gives me palpitations! I am so very grateful to Dan for his supportive constancy in our efforts; to all of those from whom I've learned about our native plants, native birds, and the insects that are so necessary to their survival. I have had so much help in this endeavor and it's such a joy to share some of what I've seen.

 

A week ago, I saw a Kentucky Warbler and shared two images. What I didn't say was that I had not laid eyes on one in 6 years and then I only took videos of it. Here is one video from 5-2-12 that shows some of its behavior.

 

Kentucky Warbler 5-2-12

 

Yesterday, while I was photographing birds, a swarm of flying ants began to emerge from a log on the path about six feet away from me. Oh, the breeze was carrying them my way, between me and the camera, under my glasses. So, I Ieaned back in my chair out of the way and realized birds were overhead, coming in to catch them. I picked up the camera and moved a few feet to my left to photograph a Blue Jay that had come in for the feast.

 

Flying ant bounty 5-8-18Flying ant bounty 5-8-18

 

The Blue Jays have nestlings and these insects would make a perfect meal for them.

 

Blue Jay foraging ants 5-8-18Blue Jay foraging ants 5-8-18

 

I began to move back to my spot when I realized that a Kentucky Warbler was on the stone wall just to my left and a step below me! I feel certain that this was the same individual that had been here last week. Shoot, it may have been here all week long, there are so many places for it to hide. This bird was focused on the food, not worried about me and my movements; it quickly caught flying ants, too.

 

Kentucky Warbler foraging ants 5-8-18Kentucky Warbler foraging ants 5-8-18

 

The Kentucky continued foraging in the Celandine Poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) and Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica). It checked out the 'Bubble' and bathed in the basin. What a "Soul-satisfying View" of this bird! The beautiful Kentucky Warbler is a species of high Conservation Concern with a score of 14

 

Kentucky Warbler 5-8-18Kentucky Warbler 5-8-18

Kentucky Warbler 5-8-18Kentucky Warbler 5-8-18

Kentucky Warbler 5-8-18Kentucky Warbler 5-8-18

Kentucky Warbler 5-8-18Kentucky Warbler 5-8-18

 

My favorite images from the rest of the week begin with a Northern Parula and Chestnut-sided Warblers.

 

Northern Parula 5-4-18Northern Parula 5-4-18 Chestnut-sided Warbler 5-4-18Chestnut-sided Warbler 5-4-18

 

There were two first spring male Summer Tanagers, catching insects as one can tell by the tidbits on their bills.

 

Summer Tanager 5-4-18Summer Tanager 5-4-18

Summer Tanager 5-4-18Summer Tanager 5-4-18

 

A young male Baltimore Oriole came down from the high canopy to check out the basin.

 

Baltimore Oriole 5-4-18Baltimore Oriole 5-4-18

 

Black-throated Green, Tennessee, Northern Parula and Black-and-white Warblers splashed and played in the 'Bubble".

 

Black-throated Green Warbler 5-5-18Black-throated Green Warbler 5-5-18 Tennessee Warbler and Northern Parula 5-6-18Tennessee Warbler and Northern Parula 5-6-18 Black and White Warbler 5-6-18Black and White Warbler 5-6-18

 

A bird that has only been seen once in the yard visited the swampy thicket two days in a row, an Orchard Oriole.

 

Orchard Oriole 5-6-18Orchard Oriole 5-6-18

 

A female Hairy Woodpecker found larvae for its brood in another log in the woodland. 

 

Hairy Woodpecker with larvae 5-6-18Hairy Woodpecker with larvae 5-6-18

 

An operatic Tennessee Warbler provided an interlude between sightings of the Kentucky Warbler.

 

Tennessee Warbler 5-8-18Tennessee Warbler 5-8-18

 

A lovely Veery came to the Bubbler to bathe after being here several days.

 

Veery 5-8-18Veery 5-8-18

 

What a magical, memorable week!

 

To view all the photos since the last post:  Photos 5-4-18 to 5-8-18

 

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/5/birds-beyond-words Wed, 09 May 2018 15:22:25 GMT
Bringing in the Birds! 5-3-18 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/5/bringing-in-the-birds-5-3-18 The Bubbler is ready and waiting!  4-30-18The Bubbler is ready and waiting! 4-30-18

 

Monday was the last morning of April and the air seemed to be ready to burst forth with birds! The Bubbler was ready to accommodate them. Seven new birds showed up that day. A Gray Catbird was first at the Bubbler in between quick forays into the bluebells and poppies looking for insects.

 

Gray Catbird 4-30-18Gray Catbird 4-30-18

 

The first Swainson's Thrush had arrived. Last year, my first sighting of this species broke the earliest Missouri record by four days when it came on 4/10/17. This bird was 20 days later. This late migration has not been a figment of our imaginations!

 

Swainson's Thrush 4-30-18Swainson's Thrush 4-30-18

 

The first Baltimore Oriole was heard and then found high in one of the sugar maples. 

 

Baltimore Oriole in Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) 4-30-18Baltimore Oriole in Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) 4-30-18

 

To my delight, a Kentucky Warbler foraged near the Bubbler and I finally was able to snatch a couple images as it worked under the gooseberries and later in back. I do not get to see this lovely bird every year!

 

Kentucky Warbler 5-1-18Kentucky Warbler 5-1-18 Kentucky Warbler 5-1-18Kentucky Warbler 5-1-18

 

A Red-eyed Vireo stopped in to drink at the Bubbler.  Only one other time have I seen one do this and it may be the same bird. Typically, they will splash-bathe. The red eye is well lit in the soft morning light.

 

Red-eyed Vireo 5-1-18Red-eyed Vireo 5-1-18

 

One of two male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks came for a bath but the dominant Northern Cardinal promptly chased it away before it got any closer than this.

 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 5-1-18Rose-breasted Grosbeak 5-1-18

 

This male Indigo Bunting still has a patchwork of feathering but it will soon become true-blue.  It found a flying insect for breakfast. 

 

Indigo Bunting with insect 5-1-18Indigo Bunting with insect 5-1-18

 

Blackpoll Warblers are back!  

 

Blackpoll Warbler 5-1-18Blackpoll Warbler 5-1-18

 

The Bubbler has become the hot spot again with very dry days and new birds anxious to get in. The Nashville Warbler on the left was a bit wary to join the squawking Tufted Titmouse when it chased away the Carolina Chickadee. 

 

Nashville Warbler, Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee 5-1-18Nashville Warbler, Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee 5-1-18

 

Finally, the little bird could say, "It's MY turn!"

 

Nashville Warbler "My turn!" 5-1-18Nashville Warbler "My turn!" 5-1-18

 

A family of Cedar Waxwings have been calling while feeding together. This one came down to investigate and rest.

 

Cedar Waxwing 5-1-18Cedar Waxwing 5-1-18

 

Tuesday, 5/1/18 was a banner day with 49 species of birds and 8 warblers. But Wednesday would prove to be even better! A Great Crested Flycatcher had arrived on 4/27/18. Last year, this species nested here. Conditions have been very dry and breezy. To my surprise, this bird decided to come and drink at the Bubbler for the very first time. That makes it Bubbler Bird species #120! 

 

Great Crested Flycatcher 5-2-18Great Crested Flycatcher 5-2-18 Bubbler Bird #120 Great Crested Flycatcher 5-2-18Bubbler Bird #120 Great Crested Flycatcher 5-2-18

 

The day was certainly not over. A fine looking Blue-winged Warbler was foraging in native hydrangeas behind the Bubbler. These birds are all so hungry and thirsty when they first arrive. Singing happens after satiation.

 

  Blue-winged Warbler 5-2-18Blue-winged Warbler 5-2-18

 

I saw the first Ovenbird of the year before 8 am. A bit later, it popped out from under the deck a few feet from where I was sitting. I didn't move a muscle for fear of flushing it much further away! In a bit, it flew up to a dogwood and studied me for a while. It pays to give these birds space and respect. They're curious, too! It was soon walking along the woodland floor and finding more food.

 

Ovenbird 5-2-18Ovenbird 5-2-18 Ovenbird 5-2-18Ovenbird 5-2-18

 

Chestnut-sided Warblers were finding larvae in the small elms.  A gorgeous Bay-breasted Warbler made several attempts to get near the Bubbler, but there was simply too much activity for it to find a way in. Some birds prefer it a bit more quiet.

  Chestnut-sided Warbler 5-2-18Chestnut-sided Warbler 5-2-18 Bay-breasted Warbler 5-2-18Bay-breasted Warbler 5-2-18

 

A female Summer Tanager made a couple attempts to get closer to the water. The bird was just getting comfortable when peace was interrupted by noisy mowers and blowers nearby.  The spell was broken at 3:30.  I went back out at 5:00 when it was quieter but birds had scattered. About 7:30 pm, we heard fussing and we saw a Barred Owl bathing in the sump puddle. That brought the day's totals to 52 species with 11 warblers and 8 new arrivals. What a great start to May!

 

Summer Tanager female 5-2-18Summer Tanager female 5-2-18

 

To view all the photos since the last post:  Birds late April into May

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/5/bringing-in-the-birds-5-3-18 Thu, 03 May 2018 18:06:29 GMT
You are invited to view my new exhibit, "Warblers!" opening May 1, 2018 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/4/my-new-exhibit-warblers-opening-may-1-2018 Wood Warblers have often been called the gems of the forests, the butterflies of the bird world. Their arrival is highly anticipated in spring as they move through our area along the Mississippi Flyway from central and south America to their breeding grounds.

This migration is a wholly American phenomenon! The wood warblers are only found in the Americas and their adjacent islands in the Western Hemisphere.

They are considered Missouri birds because they spend part of their lives here in our state.

 

Golden-winged Warbler 5-7-16Golden-winged Warbler 5-7-16

Golden-winged Warbler

"Chickadee Warbler"

Conservation Concern Score:  16

May 7, 2016

Margy Terpstra ~ Kirkwood, Missouri

 

NABCI, the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, was established in 1999 by the governments of Canada, the United States, and Mexico.
In 2016, for the first time, a team of experts from these countries gave all 1,154 native North American bird species 
a Conservation Concern Score.

432 species (37%) had a score of “13” or higher. 
These species are now on the Watch List because they face the highest risk of extinction without significant conservation action.  

This exhibit includes 29 different species of warblers, five of which are on this Watch List, like this Golden-winged Warbler.

 

Near the end of May, I will share a link to the gallery of images. The 8" x 10" metal prints will be available for purchase.

Contact me for information at:  hummerhaven@sbcglobal.net

 

I would like to thank Shelly Colatskie at Powder Valley Nature Center for inviting me to put together this collection for display. I've been photographing warblers here in our Shady Oaks yard since 2003 and it is a joy for me to be able to share my images of these beautiful neotropical migrants. 

The exhibit is free! You are invited to stop in at Powder Valley, stroll through the Art Hallway and see these beauties close up.  

 

The area is open every day, but building hours are restricted, see below or check here:  Powder Vally CNC

Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center

11715 Cragwold Road

Kirkwood, MO 63122-7000

314-301-1500

Building Hours:

Sun Closed

Mon Closed

Tue 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Wed 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Thu 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Fri 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Sat 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) exhibit warblers http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/4/my-new-exhibit-warblers-opening-may-1-2018 Sun, 29 Apr 2018 19:48:21 GMT
End of April birds 4-29-18 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/4/end-of-april-birds-4-29-18 Carolina Wren 4-26-18Carolina Wren 4-26-18

 

What's going on?

 

Like this Carolina Wren, I've been scratching my head about this spring's migration. In the last few years I've seen many more species arrive by the end of April. We birders look forward to spring and the arrival of these birds with the greatest anticipation! The extended cold weather seems to have affected their food supply. Now that small insects are emerging, things should pick up around here! It takes them a few days to feed and gather strength at each stop before they can move on. They have been seen in good numbers in southern parts of the state, a very good sign.

 

So, in the meantime, we enjoy watching the Yellow-rumped Warblers and hearing the plaintive song of the White-throated Sparrow. 

 

Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-22-18Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-22-18

White-throated Sparrow singing 4-22-18White-throated Sparrow singing 4-22-18

Listen here:  Song of the White-throated Sparrow

 

More folks have seen Ruby-throats by now, too. 

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4-22-18Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4-22-18

 

The Hermit Thrush was here up until a couple days ago so I think it has moved on.

 

Hermit Thrush 4-23-18Hermit Thrush 4-23-18 Hermit Thrush 4-24-18Hermit Thrush 4-24-18

 

The cottontails are out and about, munching on violets.

 

E. Cottontail eating violets 4-22-18E. Cottontail eating violets 4-22-18

 

Eastern Gray Squirrels spend most of the day chasing each other, but these two were seen resting together in the thicket.

 

Eastern Gray Squirrels 4-24-18Eastern Gray Squirrels 4-24-18

 

This video captured one of the Barred Owls we've been hearing. The only creatures moving in the water are the American Toads, so we assume that was what the owl took for a meal.

 

Barred Owl catching a toad 4-21-18

 

On Tuesday, 4-24-18, the first Orange-crowned Warbler was in the woodland looking for insects in dried leaf clusters and a Brown Creeper found a centipede for a meal.

 

Orange-crowned Warbler 4-24-18Orange-crowned Warbler 4-24-18 Brown Creeper with centipede 4-24-18Brown Creeper with centipede 4-24-18

 

The first House Wren of the year showed up at the Bubbler Pond the following morning.

 

FOY House Wren 4-25-18FOY House Wren 4-25-18

 

Both Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets came to the Bubbler that Wednesday. The Ruby-crowned made my day, excitedly flashing those red crown feathers!

 

Golden-crowned Kinglet 4-25-18Golden-crowned Kinglet 4-25-18 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-25-18Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-25-18 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-25-18Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-25-18 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-25-18Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-25-18 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-25-18Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-25-18

 

On Thursday, 4-26-18, these Northern Cardinals were pair-bonding. The male offered his mate a healthy larval tidbit, proving his commitment to her and their nestlings.

 

Northern Cardinals pair-bonding by feeding an insect 4-26-18Northern Cardinals pair-bonding by feeding an insect 4-26-18

 

A new year bird announced its arrival with a "tu-Wheep!" on Friday, 4-27-18. The Great-crested Flycatcher has returned.

 

FOY Great-crested Flycatcher 4-27-18FOY Great-crested Flycatcher 4-27-18

 

So, I continue to watch and wait, enjoying the antics of the Ruby-throat at the Virginia Bluebells while the fragrance of Golden Currant wafts in my direction.

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) 4-28-18Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) 4-28-18 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) 4-28-18Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) 4-28-18

 

Tuesday, 5-1-18, my new exhibit called "Warblers" will be on display at Powder Valley Nature Center in Kirkwood, MO. Check out the information about it in the next blog post and stop by the Art Hallway sometime soon! I'll be opening the online gallery in a couple weeks for those of you who aren't able to get there. 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/4/end-of-april-birds-4-29-18 Sun, 29 Apr 2018 19:18:44 GMT
Finally! 4-22-18 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/4/finally-4-22-18 We may have finally turned the corner! Our temperatures have been challenging with a couple really warm days, some sleety snow and several hard freezes. There has been a mix of 'winter' birds and new first of year (FOY) birds as well.

 

Two Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers flew in to the same tree very briefly on Tuesday, 4-10-18. 

 

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers 4-10-18Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers 4-10-18

 

The Eastern Phoebe perched in the Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) while it was in bloom last Sunday, 4-15-18.

 

Eastern Phoebe on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) 4-15-18Eastern Phoebe on Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) 4-15-18

 

This FOY Chipping Sparrow was foraging in the sleet shower on Monday, 4-16-18. One has been seen several times since then.

 

Chipping Sparrow 4-16-18Chipping Sparrow 4-16-18

 

There have been several Yellow-rumped Warblers around this past week. They are considered a winter resident but we'll be seeing them for a while yet until they move north to Canada to breed. One of these warblers really likes peanut chips! Another found a tasty insect for a meal.

 

Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-18-18Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-18-18

Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-20-18Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-20-18 Yellow-rumped Warbler with insect 4-20-18Yellow-rumped Warbler with insect 4-20-18

Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-20-18Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-20-18

 

A Brown-headed Cowbird has been coming to bathe in the afternoons.  This is the first year I've seen a male of this species get in the basin.

 

Brown-headed Cowbird 4-18-18Brown-headed Cowbird 4-18-18

 

Ruby-crowned Kinglets have also returned from a short distance south. There have been a couple of them chasing each other around the last few days.

 

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-18-18Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-18-18

 

And, yes, it's time to put up your hummingbird feeders!  The first male returned on Thursday, 4-19-18.  I saw a second male at a favorite feeder today!

 

FOY Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4-19-18FOY Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4-19-18

FOY Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4-19-18FOY Ruby-throated Hummingbird 4-19-18

 

The hummers have also been enjoying the nectar of the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

 

Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) 4-21-18Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) 4-21-18

 

There have been 1-4 Rusty Blackbirds here on different days. My highest count was 60 on Tuesday, 4-10-18.

 

Rusty Blackbirds 4-20-18Rusty Blackbirds 4-20-18  

 

On Friday, 4-20-18, a Golden-crowned Kinglet popped out of the Golden Currant (Ribes odoratum), how fitting, and landed on a stone near the pond.

 

Golden-crowned Kinglet 4-20-18Golden-crowned Kinglet 4-20-18

 

Another small bird was foraging nearby, a FOY Blue-gray Gnatcatcher!

 

FOY Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4-20-18FOY Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4-20-18

 

Early on Saturday, 4-21-18, I went out to hose off the Bubbler and heard a soft "teesi-teesi-teesi" and found a FOY warbler, a Black and White. It was climbing up the Shingle Oak (Quercus imbricaria) near the driveway. It moved on to the west.

 

FOY Black and White Warbler 4-21-18FOY Black and White Warbler 4-21-18

 

Well, I had high hopes for more migrants after that! It was several hours before I saw another striking warbler. It was taking a dip in the swale at the back property line and this bird also flew to the west. Another hour passed before a bird came in to check out the Bubbler. Was it the same bird or a second individual? That is one of the great mysteries of birding! This is the first time I've photographed a Yellow-throated Warbler in the spring!

 

FOY Yellow-throated Warbler 4-21-18FOY Yellow-throated Warbler 4-21-18 FOY Yellow-throated Warbler 4-21-18FOY Yellow-throated Warbler 4-21-18 FOY Yellow-throated Warbler 4-21-18FOY Yellow-throated Warbler 4-21-18

 

Be on the lookout! The migrants are coming. I even had a FOY Monarch on Friday, 4-20-18. It was looking for milkweed but this year it hasn't emerged yet. Last year, I photographed one laying eggs on 4-15-17.

 

FOY Monarch female 4-201-8FOY Monarch female 4-201-8

 

I checked back to a year ago and the difference in plant growth and new arrivals is quite striking. We must be 10 days behind with the cold spring. It has not been a figment of our imaginations!  Blog from 4-21-17

 

To view all the photos since the last blog post start here:  Photos since 4-8-18

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/4/finally-4-22-18 Sun, 22 Apr 2018 10:33:07 GMT
Birds on the move! 4-8-18 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/4/birds-on-the-move-4-8-18 The first days of April have brought in some new first of the year, aka FOY birds.  On Wednesday, 4/4/18 a single Swamp Sparrow arrived.  Three were seen on Friday, 4/6/18, moving about under the feeders and in the swampy wet area, no surprise when one considers their perfect camouflage.

 

Swamp Sparrow 4-5-18Swamp Sparrow 4-5-18 Swamp Sparrow 4-5-18Swamp Sparrow 4-5-18 Swamp Sparrow in the swamp 4-6-18Swamp Sparrow in the swamp 4-6-18

 

I heard a Brown Thrasher on Friday, but never did find it. Later in the afternoon, a bird was foraging in the leafy mulch and I thought that might be the thrasher. But, no it was a female Eastern Towhee! It showed itself just long enough for a couple photos. Some of these reddish-brown birds can be really hard to discern amongst the leaves. 

 

Eastern Towhee female 4-6-18Eastern Towhee female 4-6-18 Eastern Towhee female 4-6-18Eastern Towhee female 4-6-18

 

On Saturday, 4/7/18  I got a nice look at a Golden-crowned Kinglet flashing its bright fiery crown. It moved on quickly. About 10 am I came back downstairs and saw a beautiful male Purple Finch on the west feeder. The bird was still around today, and it has been counted as species #42 for the year.

 

Purple Finch 4-7-18Purple Finch 4-7-18 Purple Finch 4-7-18Purple Finch 4-7-18 Purple Finch and Northern Cardinal 4-8-18Purple Finch and Northern Cardinal 4-8-18

 

Another bird that I saw first on Friday was a Hermit Thrush. It was getting a drink at the pond on the east side. I hurried to get the camera but then couldn't find the bird again. Some days are like that! I had better luck this morning. This is another bird that can be hard to see in the leaves. It was zipping about, perching then dropping down to grab an insect.

 

Hermit Thrush 4-8-18Hermit Thrush 4-8-18 Hermit Thrush 4-8-18Hermit Thrush 4-8-18

 

The Hermit Thrush has a rusty tail that it raises, then slowly lowers. It seemed to be softly vocalizing while it did this.

 

Hermit Thrush singing tail up 4-8-18Hermit Thrush singing tail up 4-8-18 Hermit Thrush singing tail lowered 4-8-18Hermit Thrush singing tail lowered 4-8-18

 

This week we've also seen a flock of Rusty Blackbirds coming in to feed in the wetland area. Rusties are a vulnerable species due to the loss of this type of swampy, wet habitat throughout the country. Their numbers have declined by 85% since 1966. Now, some may certainly not see a 'swamp' as an asset, but our vernal wetland is the main reason we see this species and a few others here. The flock has been numbering about 30-40 birds the last few days with a variety of male and female birds of different ages and plumages.

 

Rusty Blackbird 4-6-18Rusty Blackbird 4-6-18 Rusty Blackbird 4-6-18Rusty Blackbird 4-6-18 Rusty Blackbird 4-6-18Rusty Blackbird 4-6-18 Rusty Blackbird 4-7-18Rusty Blackbird 4-7-18 Rusty Blackbirds 4-7-18Rusty Blackbirds 4-7-18 Rusty Blackbird 4-7-18Rusty Blackbird 4-7-18

 

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers were seen on Friday and a Brown Creeper has been coming in the last few days.

 

Brown Creeper 4-6-18Brown Creeper 4-6-18

 

One Swamp Sparrow came to the Bubble this morning to get a few sips of water.

 

Swamp Sparrow 4-8-18Swamp Sparrow 4-8-18

 

The American Goldfinches are getting brighter and this Northern Cardinal is the richest red of the males we have around. I can almost hear what the females are thinking! "He's so fine, du-lang - du-lang - du-lang!" New arrivals and the usual suspects in bright colors, both are sure signs of the turn towards spring.

 

Northern Cardinal 4-6-18Northern Cardinal 4-6-18

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/4/birds-on-the-move-4-8-18 Sun, 08 Apr 2018 23:19:43 GMT
Signs of Spring! 3-26-18 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/3/signs-of-spring SPRING!

There are some obvious signs of spring despite the cool, damp weather. We've gained over 3 hours of daylight since the Winter Solstice on 12/21/17. Northern Cardinals are chasing each other to set up territory. Birdsong has picked up in many species and nesting has begun for American Crows, Red-shouldered Hawks and Carolina Chickadees.

Two weeks ago on 3-10-18, we put up the chickadee tube nest box and I set the timer on my watch. Within 2 minutes the pair was checking it out. They quickly began excavating, taking turns to carry out the cedar shavings and eat safflower seeds to keep up their endurance! Nesting requires so much energy.

 

Carolina Chickadee discovers nest box in 2 minutes 3-9-18Carolina Chickadee discovers nest box in 2 minutes 3-9-18 Carolina Chickadee 3-9-18Carolina Chickadee 3-9-18 Carolina Chickadee 3-9-18Carolina Chickadee 3-9-18 Carolina Chickadee  excavates 3-9-18Carolina Chickadee excavates 3-9-18 Carolina Chickadee refuels 3-9-18Carolina Chickadee refuels 3-9-18 Carolina Chickadee excavates 3-9-18Carolina Chickadee excavates 3-9-18

 

If the Eurasian Tree Sparrows will just leave them alone, they may succeed this year. In the winter, Carolina Chickadees will stay together in small groups. Only the dominant pair of the group will nest, so we are hopeful that we got the nest box up in time before other competing species arrive.

 

Carolina Chickadee

 

Spring does not happen all at once around here, we had a wet snow on Sunday, 3-11-18 that fell and melted quickly. The American Goldfinches are getting their new plumage in gradually and looking pretty patchy in the process, but definitely brightening up the gray days.

 

3-11-18 American Goldfinches in snow3-11-18 American Goldfinches in snow

American Goldfinch in transitional plumage 3-13-18American Goldfinch in transitional plumage 3-13-18

American Goldfinch 3-25-18American Goldfinch 3-25-18

This time of year we're on the cusp of two seasons as winter turns to spring and birds are moving around the area. A pair of Pine Siskins returned on Wednesday, 3-21-18 and the pair have been seen sporadically since then.

 

Pine Siskins 3-23-18Pine Siskins 3-23-18

 

A couple days earlier, we had 1.75" of rain and I was working at my desk on another project. I saw my FOY (first of year) Eastern Phoebe land in the north Sugar Maple, pumping its tail and shaking off the raindrops. It flew through the garden and then I lost sight of it.  The day that I saw the Pine Siskins, the phoebe was back again, fly-catching in the garden. I saw it land on a boulder and just as I squeezed the shutter release, it took off. It was moving about quickly, landing in several small trees and flying down to grab insects emerging from the layers of leaf mulch.

 

Eastern Phoebe 3-21-18Eastern Phoebe 3-21-18 Eastern Phoebe 3-21-18Eastern Phoebe 3-21-18 Eastern Phoebe 3-21-18Eastern Phoebe 3-21-18 Eastern Phoebe 3-21-18Eastern Phoebe 3-21-18

 

A Hairy Woodpecker was also looking for insects the next afternoon. It spent quite a bit of time hammering at a decaying log which was harboring flying ants and small larvae. Their eyes are so expressive.

 

Hairy Woodpecker eating flying ants 3-22-18Hairy Woodpecker eating flying ants 3-22-18

Hairy Woodpecker eating flying ants 3-22-18Hairy Woodpecker eating flying ants 3-22-18 Hairy Woodpecker eating flying ants 3-22-18Hairy Woodpecker eating flying ants 3-22-18

 

We've both seen a bit of activity at the Red-shouldered Hawks' nest. I waited 30 minutes for one to come back on Sunday with no luck. Perhaps they're still warming up to the idea in this dreary weather, I thought.

 

Red-shouldered Hawks nest 3-25-18Red-shouldered Hawks nest 3-25-18

 

Well, I saw one of the pair fly into a white pine this afternoon. The bird looked about, then flew to an ash tree to meet her mate when he called "kee-yer, kee-yer" to her.  All of the following photos were taken within six minutes.

 

Red-shouldered Hawk female 3-26-18Red-shouldered Hawk female 3-26-18 Red-shouldered Hawk female 3-26-18Red-shouldered Hawk female 3-26-18 Red-shouldered Hawk female 3-26-18Red-shouldered Hawk female 3-26-18 Red-shouldered Hawk pair 3-26-18Red-shouldered Hawk pair 3-26-18 Red-shouldered Hawk pair mating 3-26-18Red-shouldered Hawk pair mating 3-26-18 Red-shouldered Hawk pair mating 3-26-18Red-shouldered Hawk pair mating 3-26-18 Red-shouldered Hawk pair mating 3-26-18Red-shouldered Hawk pair mating 3-26-18 Red-shouldered Hawk male 3-26-18Red-shouldered Hawk male 3-26-18

 

The act was swift and a hopeful promise of life to come. Yes, there are definitely signs of spring!

 

For more information about the hawks:   Red-shouldered Hawk

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/3/signs-of-spring Tue, 27 Mar 2018 01:41:38 GMT
3-20-18 Happy Spring! Let's Review - Simple Ways to Add Moving Water for Birds http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/3/3-20-18-review---simple-ways-to-add-moving-water-for-birds On this first day of spring, let us recognize and celebrate birds!  

 

To begin, are you still thinking about where you might install a bubbler yet want to get some water ready sooner for the birds?  Here is an older post that I did on more ideas for moving water.  These features are easy to incorporate into your garden areas - and you don't have to limit yourself to just one!  We have two drippers on birdbaths and two fountains in addition to the Bubbler and Pond.  They are all visited every day during the warmer seasons!

 

Take a look here:  Simple Ways to Add Moving Water for Birds

 

Woodard Dripper Bath 7-15-17Woodard Dripper Bath 7-15-17

 

In a short time, plants will be emerging and it will soon be warm enough to fill those bird baths.  This one is an antique that we level up in place on an oak stump, fill with pea gravel so the birds can see how shallow it is and start the dripper.  The birds do love having easy access to fresh water! 

 

This is the "Year of the Bird" according to the Audubon Society and National Geographic Society.

Did you know?

“If you take care of the birds, you take care of most of the big environmental problems in the world.”

—Thomas E. Lovejoy, Tropical Conservation Biologist and National Geographic Fellow

 

 Here's a link to explain and help us understand :  

 2018 Year of the Bird

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/3/3-20-18-review---simple-ways-to-add-moving-water-for-birds Tue, 20 Mar 2018 19:11:57 GMT
Bubbler Water Features for Birds - Part Three - Perches! http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/3/bubbler-water-features-for-birds---part-three---perches To begin, in case you missed these, here are the links to Parts One and Two. (They will open in new pages.)

 

Bubbler Water Features - Part One

 

Bubbler Water Features - Part Two

 

Perches!

 

More than half of all the bird species in the world belong to the order Passeriformes, also called passerines or perching birds. They are the largest order of birds, numbering some 5,700 species and the dominant avian group on Earth today. They have four toes, three directed forward and one backward. They vary in size from small to medium or 3-46 inches in overall length and include all the songbirds.  Passerines have evolved a great diversity of feeding adaptations and for these different food habits, various structural specializations have developed, especially in the bill and feet.

 

You can read more about passerines here:  Passeriform

 

And here:  What birds are passerines and why

 

Passerines need perches to forage from, to rest on, to build their nests on and to feed their young. They also are birds that are likely to come to water features. So, it helps to think like a bird in order to attract the most perching birds. We must look at the world from their point of view and give them what they need most -

PERCHES!

 

 

At first glance, one might think that our Bubbler area is a bit messy with all those branches. If that's what you were thinking, well, you win the prize. It is intentional. It looks that way because birds LIKE it a bit messy!  I have highlighted some of the most favored 'magic' branches on which small birds like to land. Most of these are sturdy enough for even larger birds like Blue Jays and American Crows. A sturdy branch, not a soft, mushy one is the best choice for a perch. Decaying branches are great for scattering into leaf litter so birds can eat any insects within them. These branches will eventually break down and enrich the soil. For a perch to support birds, it's just best to choose stronger branches that are stable.

 

 

Notice the branches laying on the large Bubbler rock. They are there for birds like this Black-throated Green Warbler. See how his front 3 toes and 1 back toe easily straddle the branch?  This bird is comfortable clinging to it. After the warbler checked me out to be sure it was safe, it went to the Bubble of water.

 

Black-throated Green Warbler 10-2-17Black-throated Green Warbler 10-2-17

 

Pretty soon, friends came in to join the bird for the party - two more Black-throated Green and five Tennessee Warblers! They lined up, watched and could hardly wait to have a turn.

 

Tennessee and Black-throated Green Warblers 10-4-17Tennessee and Black-throated Green Warblers 10-4-17

 

Just to the right and above the two birds in that photo is the grapevine branch.  A lot of birds land on it to look at the water from there and this is what they see.

 

 

They might pop in on the grapevine branch after feeding in the hydrangeas, like this female Black-throated Blue Warbler did last fall.

 

Black-throated Blue female 9-13-17Black-throated Blue female 9-13-17

 

Now, behind that grapevine there used to be a more open area and the birds would stage from a viburnum a few feet away. Last fall, my friend, Wally George, brought me a gift of a small cedar tree that he had cut to be used for additional perches. Wally has had great luck with a cedar perching tree attracting birds to his own bubbler!  Well, this one for me has become a perfect 'set of stair-steps' from the viburnum! I put it in a pot with gravel to support it and tried it in a few places to see how it would best work into the area. 

 

Wally's cedar 9-2-17Wally's cedar 9-2-17

 

Cedar is fairly rot-resistant. The next step was to mix up a small batch of cement with sand and gravel to secure the cedar. I emptied the pot and we lined it with a plastic bag, using the pot as a form. We positioned the cedar tree in the bag and then used a trowel to put the cement mixture around it and let it set up. After a couple days, I pulled out the cemented tree, dug a hole where the pot had stood and set the cedar tree into the ground. It still can be lifted and moved, but at least it now has a cement base to stabilize it and should last quite a while in the ground.

 

Many birds have used "Wally's Cedar" or the "WC".  To name a few, here are images of a Carolina Chickadee and a Blue Jay which are local suspects and a Chestnut-sided Warbler that came through last fall. Gee, thanks, Wally!

 

 

Just behind the large Bubbler rock and next to the Basin is the small White Oak with Virginia Creeper climbing up its trunk. Birds like this White-breasted Nuthatch and Brown Creeper use it to approach the Bubbler after finding a meal of insect larvae in the vine.

 

 

From the tree, they move to another perch or the Bubbler rock to get a drink and help that tasty morsel go down the hatch!

 

Brown Creeper  12-10-17Brown Creeper 12-10-17

 

There are many vertical living tree trunks for birds like these passerines and woodpeckers to use in the woodland area around the Bubbler. Together with the horizontal branches of living shrubs and selected additional perches, there are many places for birds to cling, forage for food and find their way to the water.

 

 

There are lots of ways for birds to access the Basin area as well. The small Blackhaw Viburnum to the left of the Basin is probably where I have photographed most of the warbler species that work their way down through the canopy. They can stay partially hidden in the shrub until they feel safe that there are no predators around. Then, they can move closer to the water to check the depth and drink or bathe.

 

These next three warblers are all in the small viburnum. The more common Yellow-rumped Warbler is often seen here in winter and in migration before it heads to Canada to breed. What a looker!

 

Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-24-17Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-24-17

Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-17-17Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-17-17

 

Only once have I seen a beautiful Cerulean Warbler here.  This bird is on the Watch List - its population is in decline due to severe habitat loss. 

 

Cerulean Warbler 5-5-07Cerulean Warbler 5-5-07

 

The Golden-winged Warbler is also in this high-risk of extinction category and there are efforts underway to increase its habitat areas for survival. I have been very fortunate to see these birds a bit more regularly. 

 

Golden-winged Warbler 5-5-17Golden-winged Warbler 5-5-17

 

Indigo Buntings and others use the perch in the Basin itself to get closer to the water.

 

Indigo Bunting 4-16-17Indigo Bunting 4-16-17

 

A Rose-breasted Grosbeak thought about bathing for a long time, resting near the water while it sat on the branch, nearly hypnotized by the sound of the water. I have seen this behavior often in birds that arrive in the morning after having flown all night to find our peaceful setting.

 

Rose-breasted Grosbeak 5-8-17Rose-breasted Grosbeak 5-8-17

 

Now is the time to get ready for our Missouri spring migrants. I hope this post has given you some ideas on how to add more native plants and magic branches near your water features so that you may welcome more birds! It may seem obvious to most of you, but I think this bears repeating:

 

 "If you build it, they will come!"

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/3/bubbler-water-features-for-birds---part-three---perches Tue, 13 Mar 2018 20:30:38 GMT
It's March! 3-5-18 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/3/its-march-3-5-18 The birds have been a bit confused, first we were gone for 12 days and now this!  We have had Men At Work giving the exterior of the house a facelift.  The birds finally figured out that it's safe to come in again once the trucks leave in the afternoon.  Weekends have been a bit better with more activity.  On Sunday, I finally had a list of 20 species for the sunny, warm day. 

 

Carolina Chickadees, White-throated and Song Sparrows came in to drink, rest and bathe in a somewhat relaxed mood.

 

Carolina Chickadee 3-4-18Carolina Chickadee 3-4-18 White-throated Sparrow 3-4-18White-throated Sparrow 3-4-18 Song Sparrow 3-4-18Song Sparrow 3-4-18 Song Sparrow 3-4-18Song Sparrow 3-4-18

 

A Mourning Dove preened on a branch behind the basin, a favorite place in the afternoon.

 

Mourning Dove 3-4-18Mourning Dove 3-4-18

 

About 6:00 pm, I spotted a large bird that flew in low.  It was one of the Barred Owls.  We have been hearing them fairly consistently around dusk and through the night.  It went to the sump puddle to take a few drinks.

 

Barred Owl 3-4-18Barred Owl 3-4-18

 

The owl flew up to a small tree near the property line and I stepped out to get a couple more photos.

 

Barred Owl 3-4-18Barred Owl 3-4-18 Barred Owl 3-4-18Barred Owl 3-4-18

 

The light was going at 6:05 p.m. and I wanted the bird to feel welcome, so I stepped back inside.  Then, the owl started calling and its mate flew in beside it!  We both got to see them for the first time together this year.  That was a great moment!  We wonder if they have a nest and where it might be.  Later in the evening, I checked the cameras and found that one of the owls had gone fishing. 

 

Barred Owl at Pond 3-4-18

 

I just couldn't tell for sure, but I think the owl came up empty.  Perhaps they both were luckier with voles or rabbits!

 

Stay tuned for a follow-up post:   Bubbler Water Features - Part Three 

 

Here are links to the first two posts from late 2016 for reference and review:

 

Bubbler Water Features - Part One

 

Bubbler Water Features - Part Two

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/3/its-march-3-5-18 Mon, 05 Mar 2018 14:10:30 GMT
Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) 8-21-17 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/2/ruby-throated-hummingbird-at-marsh-milkweed-asclepias-incarnata-8-21-17 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) 8-21-17Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Marsh Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) 8-21-17

Wow, we have now had over 30,000 visitors to our website!  Thank you all for sharing our experiences with your family and friends, it's amazing!!

Margy and Dan

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/2/ruby-throated-hummingbird-at-marsh-milkweed-asclepias-incarnata-8-21-17 Tue, 20 Feb 2018 13:33:58 GMT
"There's no place like home" 2-17-18 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/2/-theres-no-place-like-home---2-17-18 It's fun to go places but it's always good to get back home.  The birds have returned, although I thought for sure I heard the Carolina Wren giving me a scolding for being gone! 

 

Pine SIskins have come in to use the feeders on colder days. They were hopping around looking for food or grit to help digest their food last Friday, 2/9/18.

 

Pine Siskins 2-9-18Pine Siskins 2-9-18

 

A species that has been challenging for me to photograph is the American Crow. They are very wary birds. I heard them come in one morning and stood very still behind the camera, just waiting and watching for them. However, a surprise came instead and perched nearby. It was a Sharp-shinned Hawk looking for a meal. This was my first sighting of the hawk this year and it didn't stay more than 15 seconds before zooming off to the west.

 

Accipiter species, possible Sharp-shinned Hawk 2-10-18Accipiter species, possible Sharp-shinned Hawk 2-10-18

 

My patience paid off and one of the crows came down a bit later.  I had put just a small amount of bark butter out for the Brown Creeper, and of course, the crow spied it a mile away. The bird was thirsty and drank at the basin, at 'the bubble' and even from the pond before leaving.

 

American Crow 2-10-18American Crow 2-10-18 American Crow 2-10-18American Crow 2-10-18 American Crow 2-10-18American Crow 2-10-18

 

Even though we've gotten small amounts of rain, it has been the driest winter in 40 years according to my friend, Wally George. The birds aren't the only ones who are thirsty.  On Saturday night, 2/10/18 there was a real party going on.

 

 

Even a Barred Owl came in on Valentine's Day. We heard a pair later that night, crooning together.

 

 

The Brown Creeper finally found some bark butter and the first Song Sparrow of the year came in to bathe and look for food under the feeders. One of the Yellow-rumped Warblers slipped in on a cold day, too.

 

Brown Creeper 2-10-18Brown Creeper 2-10-18 Song Sparrow 2-10-18Song Sparrow 2-10-18

Yellow-rumped Warbler 2-10-18Yellow-rumped Warbler 2-10-18

 

It seems that the Bubbler is busiest on the day preceding a storm and on the icy day itself.  A female Hairy Woodpecker, Red-bellied Woodpecker and a Northern Flicker made appearances on Sunday, 2/11/18. Temperatures dropped into the teens the next morning.

 

Hairy Woodpecker female 2-10-18Hairy Woodpecker female 2-10-18 Red-bellied Woodpecker 2-11-18Red-bellied Woodpecker 2-11-18 Northern Flicker 2-11-18Northern Flicker 2-11-18

 

That day, this American Robin seemed to have the most sleet pellets of all the birds on its back .

 

American Robin with icy tail 2-11-18American Robin with icy tail 2-11-18

 

By Thursday, 2/15/18 the high temperature here was 82.5 degrees, a new record. And less than 36 hours later, we had snow all morning. Gotta love St. Louis' roller-coaster weather. 

 

Northern Cardinal female 2-17-18Northern Cardinal female 2-17-18

 

More wet weather is promised this week to help break the winter drought. Birdsong is increasing, I'm seeing just a bit more color in the goldfinches and cardinals. Can spring be that far away? If one still needs a winter break, check out the birds that visit the Panama Fruit Feeders. The Live Cam is sponsored by Cornell Lab and the Canopy Lodge. Many colorful tropical species can be seen!

Panama Fruit Feeders

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/2/-theres-no-place-like-home---2-17-18 Sun, 18 Feb 2018 03:27:43 GMT
To foreign shores - Trinidad and Tobago! http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/2/to-foreign-shores---trinidad-and-tobago We've just returned from a 12-day birding trip to Trinidad and Tobago.  My initial birthday wish was to visit the Asa Wright Nature Center (AWNC) on Trinidad which I've heard about for many years.  My wish was granted in a soul-satisfying way with wonderful views of many tropical species.  Emphasis for me is always on 'soul-satisfying' versus quantity!  

 

We are still adding to the gallery, but here are a few highlights.  We saw 13 species of Hummingbirds.  This was a birding trip more than a photography trip for me, but I did take my camera and 18-200 mm lens, and I was glad I did.  The birds were close, especially at AWNC.

 

Tufted Coquette  - at 2 3/4" this bird is not much bigger than a bee, but check out its head feathers!  Well, you do have to find the bird first...

 

Tufted Coquette 1-26-18Tufted Coquette 1-26-18

Tufted Coquette 1-26-18Tufted Coquette 1-26-18 Tufted Coquette 1-26-18Tufted Coquette 1-26-18 Tufted Coquette 1-26-18Tufted Coquette 1-26-18

 

It reminded me of an ancient warrior king with that crown.  The bird patrolled a patch of purple Vervine right outside our room near the veranda.  Here is one of the females.

 

Tufted Coquette female 1-27-18Tufted Coquette female 1-27-18

 

Two other hummers are the same size at 3 3/4" long, just a bit larger than the Ruby-throated.  The first is the White-chested Emerald, often seen at the feeders.  Next is the Copper-rumped Hummingbird which blends in so perfectly with its favorite flower.

 

White-chested Emerald 1-26-18White-chested Emerald 1-26-18

Copper-rumped Hummingbird 1-26-18Copper-rumped Hummingbird 1-26-18

 

Another small beauty was the Long-billed Starthroat.  I was lucky to catch this one resting on a perch.  It is a bit larger at 4 1/2".

 

Long-billed Starthroat 1-26-18Long-billed Starthroat 1-26-18

 

White-necked Jacobins dominated the feeders often chasing other hummingbirds away, thus the Humming-blurs! 

 

White-necked Jacobin 1-26-18White-necked Jacobin 1-26-18

Three species were at the feeder before the chase begins. A White-necked Jacobin chases a Black-throated Mango who is after the Long-billed Starthroat, all 4 1/2" long.

 

White-necked Jacobin, Black-throated Mango and Long-billed Starthroat 1-26-18White-necked Jacobin, Black-throated Mango and Long-billed Starthroat 1-26-18

 

Hummingblurs 1-26-18Hummingblurs 1-26-18

 

What a joy to watch one of the Jacobins bathing in a rain shower, perfectly content as it shimmied.

 

White-necked Jacobin 1-31-18White-necked Jacobin 1-31-18

 

On the other end of the spectrum is the Green Hermit at 6 1/2" long.  This female has built her nest inside the Nature Center on a lamp cord.  She has produced 5 broods already in the last 12 months!  Well, what could be better - it's all open air but protected and the bird can freely come and go.

 

Green Hermit female 1-30-18Green Hermit female 1-30-18

 

Green Hermit female on nest 1-26-18Green Hermit female on nest 1-26-18 AWNC Green Hermit nest on lamp cord 1-26-18AWNC Green Hermit nest on lamp cord 1-26-18

 

Another similar species is the Rufous-breasted Hermit with the same decurved bill.  Notice that it does not have the long whitish central tail feathers, but a rounded tail and it is 5" long.

 

Rufous-breasted Hermit 1-26-18Rufous-breasted Hermit 1-26-18

 

Two Black-throated Mangoes chased each other at the feeder.  Wow, are they eye-candy when their colors flash.  This hummingbird species is 4 1/2" long.

 

Black-throated Mangoes 1-26-18Black-throated Mangoes 1-26-18 Black-throated Mango 1-31-18Black-throated Mango 1-31-18 Black-throated Mango 1-31-18Black-throated Mango 1-31-18 Black-throated Mango 1-31-18Black-throated Mango 1-31-18

 

There were a couple more hummingbirds I wasn't sure I would see.  The first is the Brown Violetear.  It is uncommon and we were there at the right time to possibly see it.  (I said pretty please, but it wouldn't turn around.  You can catch a bit of the violet ear.)  It is 4 3/4" long.

 

Brown Violetear 1-30-18Brown Violetear 1-30-18

 

The other hummingbird that I was thrilled to see was the Ruby-topaz.  It is common on Tobago, and largely absent from September to December during times of nectar shortages. But it was being seen at AWNC so I spent a few hours watching it one morning.  It is just a bit larger than the Tufted Coquette, but darn near as fast.  It comes in at 3 1/2" long, the same size as our Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

 

This bird looks dark, especially in the rain.  Finally, the rain let up and a bit of light came through the clouds to catch some of the colors of this beauty!

 

Ruby-topaz Hummingbird 1-31-18Ruby-topaz Hummingbird 1-31-18 Ruby-topaz Hummingbird 1-31-18Ruby-topaz Hummingbird 1-31-18 Ruby-topaz Hummingbird 1-31-18Ruby-topaz Hummingbird 1-31-18 Ruby-topaz Hummingbird 1-31-18Ruby-topaz Hummingbird 1-31-18 Ruby-topaz Hummingbird 1-31-18Ruby-topaz Hummingbird 1-31-18

Ruby-topaz Hummingbird 1-31-18Ruby-topaz Hummingbird 1-31-18 Ruby-topaz Hummingbird 1-31-18Ruby-topaz Hummingbird 1-31-18

 

The last bird I'd like to mention is the Trinidad Motmot or "King of the Woods".  We saw it first on Trinidad where it has more forest to hide in and was more difficult to see.  I was able to photograph a pair on Tobago, right outside our bungalow on the beach.  One seemed to be collecting grass as nesting material.  They nest in holes in the slopes or banks, like bee eaters.

 

Trinidad Motmot pair 2-2-18Trinidad Motmot pair 2-2-18

Trinidad Motmot 2-3-18Trinidad Motmot 2-3-18 Trinidad Motmot nesting holes 2-2-18Trinidad Motmot nesting holes 2-2-18

Trinidad Motmot 2-3-18Trinidad Motmot 2-3-18

 

And to my joy, the bird bowed and showed me its crown.  Yes, indeed it was another soul-satisfying view!

 

Trinidad Motmot 2-3-18Trinidad Motmot 2-3-18

 

To see the full travelogue of photos with short video clips, start here:  Trinidad and Tobago Birding Trip

 

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/2/to-foreign-shores---trinidad-and-tobago Fri, 09 Feb 2018 03:49:48 GMT
An uncommon visitor 1-19-18 http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/1/an-uncommon-visitor-1-19-18 We did have our break in the cold and it lasted a few days.  The ice eventually melted in both ponds just long enough for an uncommon bird to come in.  We were sitting in the breakfast room on Thursday, 1-11-18 with a second cup of coffee when I saw a large wing out of the corner of my eye.  Thud.  Something landed on the roof.  Maybe it was the Barred Owl I heard at 5:00 am.  I got up to investigate.  

 

"You won't believe this," I said to Dan.  

 

Great Blue Heron on our roof 1-11-18Great Blue Heron on our roof 1-11-18

 

The bird was a Great Blue Heron.  It was looking down at the Bubbler pond to see if there were any fish in it.  Well, we haven't had fish in there for several years because the mink and raccoons get them too easily.  The heron didn't stay very long and flew west to the neighbors who also have a pond.  

 

 

The bird was there about 30 minutes.  Later, when I checked and didn't see it next door, I carefully went into the front room and peeked around the corner.  There it was, fishing in our pond, and being successful at finding a meal!

 

Great Blue Heron catching goldfish  1-11-18Great Blue Heron catching goldfish 1-11-18

 

A one-gulp goldfish meal it was anyway.

 

Great Blue Heron catching goldfish  1-11-18Great Blue Heron catching goldfish 1-11-18

 

I watched the heron for a while and it did make a few more attempts at lunging for fish, but it seemed to have lost the element of surprise.  The fish have plenty of places to hide in the caves of the big pond.

 

Great Blue Heron   1-11-18Great Blue Heron 1-11-18

 

In less than 24 hours, the pond was completely iced over again.  No fishing allowed for a while!

 

Icy pond 1-12-18Icy pond 1-12-18

 

Another interesting factoid is that we have seen five different individual Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers since late December.  The first young female is scruffy-looking and this one I have seen the most often.  

 

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  12-31-17Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 12-31-17

 

Two more young females could be twins they look so alike, but I have seen them at the Bubbler at the same time, chasing each other between getting drinks or a bit of bark butter.  Their heads look quite black, the latter one has more black on its chest.

 

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  12-30-17Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 12-30-17 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker  12-30-17Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 12-30-17

 

The fourth sapsucker is an adult female with red on its head and a white throat.  Here are two views of the female.

 

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female  1-6-18Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female 1-6-18

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female  1-6-18Yellow-bellied Sapsucker female 1-6-18

 

And last but not least, there is this young male who is getting its red crown feathers in and has the red throat and yellow-belly.

 

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker juvenile male 1-14-18Yellow-bellied Sapsucker juvenile male 1-14-18

 

Last week on Friday, 1-12-18 it had dropped down to 13.5 degrees and birds were moving around.  There was an influx of American Robins and they all came to the Bubbler at the same time.  I believe there are 15 of the 17 birds that I saw in this photo.

 

American Robins 1-12-18American Robins 1-12-18

 

There have been Rusty Blackbirds coming in most days in small numbers.  They will forage, drink and then find a branch on which to puff up and rest.

 

Rusty Blackbird 1-12-18Rusty Blackbird 1-12-18 Rusty Blackbird at rest 1-12-18Rusty Blackbird at rest 1-12-18

 

A few times I have seen two Yellow-rumped Warblers at the Bubbler together.  Perhaps they are already thinking about spring!  I know I have been!

 

Pair of Yellow-rumped Warblers 1-13-18Pair of Yellow-rumped Warblers 1-13-18

 

We have been working on a new exhibit called, "Warblers!" that will be up for viewing in May at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center.  It has been fun looking at spring photos of these beauties and finalizing the choices for the exhibit.  More on that soon.  For now, we're back to enjoying our winter birds!  

 

 

 

 

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(Hummer Haven UnLtd.) http://hummerhavenunltd.com/blog/2018/1/an-uncommon-visitor-1-19-18 Fri, 19 Jan 2018 14:20:27 GMT