Hummers everywhere

Bloged in birding,Hummingbirds,Nature,Pacific Northwest by mark Monday March 17, 2014

Just a quick add for future “reference” . . . . . . about a lot of just now arriving-for-the-season Rufus Hummingbirds.

We always begin looking for their arrival in early March. The first ones seen are often just passing through, heading into Canada likely. The first ones to arrive are always the MALES. They arrive to scout out good territory, where food’s available, and a place the females will also see easy food sources. You may see a few of these “early” migrants for a day or two, feeding, resting….but they move on. This year, from the first sighting of a male arrival, the numbers grew one by one, just 2-3 for the last two weeks.

I am always awestruck to see the first one Rufus KNOWING this TINY creature has just flown some 2-3 thousand miles through spring coastal storms from Mexico, and many will CONTINUE north:
1hummale2

Well, it appears not many moved on, or I wasn’t paying attention……..Boom! With cousin Stan and Mary visiting us this week, we were all sitting at the Kitchen island for breakfast / tea. While chatting, I was STRUCK quickly how EVERY hummingbird feeder I could see from there (3) was ‘set’ with a male guarding it and females continuing to fly in and try to eat….. at all 3 feeders at ONCE! I checked the others, it was true of those also. I returned to look at the primary one in the front window….it was EMPTY.

2008rufouspair
****note on this picture: A male Rufus….confronting a female Anna’s (year round residents)…..for some reason, they don’t always fight with this ‘larger’ cousin****

WELL. That made me glad Mary & Stan were here…..I realized I had NOT been paying enough attention to the “numbers” of arriving Rufus….. I quickly put on 6 quarts of sugar/water to boil and get ready……pulled out the LAST 2 pints left in the garage fridge and replaced the empty feeder…. as SOON as the others are cool, I’ll immediately put out 2-3 more feeders, replace the heavy use ones with Quart size feeders.

The Hummingbird Season has begun. I can’t wait for an evening in May when the first hatchlings are fledged and we’ll likely be seeing these numbers are feeders on some COOL spring night:
1hummdubldip

I can’t close this without giving DUE credit to our tough year-round resident Anna’s….who ALL used to fly to the lowlands for winters….but Audubon believes “some” began staying up here through the winters simply by enough people leaving feeders out for them…..so we do that….. they’re completely different than the Rufus, less agressive, larger….but then, of course, they don’t make a 4 – 5 thousand mile migration every year…. Here’s one of our male Annas:
annamale

So, Whew! Hummingbird sugar/water is cooked alongside home-made Kahlua and both are now cooling……Stan & Mary are off to OHSU, Rodger’s working, so I’ll take Mac for an over-due Columbia River SWIM….so tonight while we all visit, He’ll be worn out.

Hummingbird Life @ 9336 A big learning year

Bloged in birding,Hummingbirds,Nature,Pacific Northwest by mark Thursday June 20, 2013

After 12-13 years of preparing the simple sugar-water solution that feeds a beloved tiny migrant bird that comes up here from Mexico for a short 3-5 months, I feel like I’ve learned more THIS spring than I expected.

Some facts:
**Portland has year-round hummingbirds, called “Annas” . . . that, until 20 years ago were pretty much ‘valley’ birds…. they would visit the hills in the summer but never stay year round
annas feeding

For an undetermined reason, but thought to be the fact that more homes have been built up here in the hills, and MORE people began feeding the hummers, a few Anna’s slowly began to stay year round….tiny numbers…… By 2013, I wish I could COUNT between Anna’s and the migrant and fun Rufus who make, for their size, the longest migrant trip of any animal on the planet.

**Anna’s are calmer birds than Rufus. Anna’s ARE territorial, just don’t seem quite as much…. When I carry a feeder re-fill to the replacement spot, an Anna will sit there staring at me much longer than the wild Rufus….they may only fly a few yards away to wait until my task is done…. Rufus will seem to disappear up into the fir trees…

**The Migration Pattern is fascinating for Rufus….and itself is, in a tiny way, changing. Begin: ALL of them are somewhere warm in some Mexico regions……..after arriving for winter anytime between September – October, they get restless around February. The males react first and leave…. and until recently, ALL of them began flying up along the California Coast (because first spring blooming is occurring THERE, not inland)…… We likely see none of the first, unless one feeds for a moment and moves on:
1hummale

But by late March, early April, we’re seeing one or two now and then, already setting up his own mating territory, and he’ll defend it strongly.
malerufus12

Sometimes they’re striking in a photo if the sun reflects that beautiful gorget:
rufus males gone

The FEMALES / Yearlings then leave, and follow the same pattern….. The MOST interesting FACT IS: Territory. The genetics are so hard coded in these tiny miniscule brains, they seek out and usually find not just the are they were raised in, but the same neighborhood, and not just that, but will look for the very SAME Feeder that they used the year before…..it isn’t unusual to see a hummingbird fly into your yard late March/early April zipping around a spot you had a feeder up the year before. Whew!

The Females arrive here to be met by a few males ALL ready to mate and have to deal with that ‘action’ even before they’ve got a nest ready to go. A nest made of soft forest bits tied together with spider webs, and there’s plenty of webs made by the spring spiders ……. The mating done, and nesting begun, one wonders what happened to your birds? They almost seem to disappear….. then the first hatchlings (both Anna’s and Rufus……now……..) often cause you to put out MORE feeders than earlier…..(We will have 10 up for the 2-3 month peak period ) and from that late-May period, you learn to love these little birds.

Once fledged, the youngsters are on their own because Momma Rufus and Dad mate AGAIN for a 2nd nesting! There is NO mistaking seeing a fledgling at your feeder…..almost larger than the parents because of her fluffed feathers, this kid looks cold:
hummerbaby

However, the MOST Astounding THING I’ve learned THIS year comes from the Anna’s Hummingbirds, proving they’re finally here in greater numbers than I’ve known. The first time I had NO idea what that high 2-3 second loud chirp was, but followed the sound to watch a male diving straight down from somewhere between 100-150′ toward a female, and drawing himself up just short of reaching her, in a posture with all wings, tail-feathers spread….the tail feathers causing the chirp. This mating behavior was repeated for 3-4 weeks for us both…..and considering it’s luck to see it by being in the right place at the right time, this was THRILL summer for me if that was all that happened. It was astounding to watch….this SO TINY creature doing such a powerful thrilling straight up climb, preparing, and diving straight down, curving up at the bottom….with that distinct “CHIRP”….. I couldn’t even find a you-tube on the web (of any quality) that equaled what we repeatedly witnessed. Lucky us, yes.

The males…..do NOTHING to help with ANY child rearing or nest building. They stick around to mate. Once the 2nd mating’s done, they are GONE! That’s about to happen right here for us…..the males we’re seeing now are mostly juveniles, whose colors aren’t quite to brightly developed and they’re not yet so aggressive.

The migration partern back to MX? NO, NOT back down to California…the blooming’s done there now…..These males head east, often right along the Gorge and highest mountain ridges (wherever the blooming’s happening and/or insects are around)…and eventually move DOWN the spine of the Rocky Mountains back into MX. The FEMALES? Once their 2nd nestlings are fledged, they TOO leave (JUST ADULTS)……following that pattern. Then the unbelievable happens. Late August or so, the young juvenile Rufus kids leave here, and Alaska, Canada, ON THEIR OWN, flying down that same migratory pathway the adults made with NO guide, NO help at all! It’s an amazing science fact!

We’re then left to leave up 2 feeders for the winter…….having moved from .1 quarts a day in February, to .2 in March, to .3 – .4 in April, but by Mid-May, will explode up to 5 quarts per day when the Rufus are here, and first hatchlings are at the feeders…….
cold hummers

By Mid-June, that drops to 2.5 quarts for another very short few weeks (aided in part by all the flowers blooming and insects flying around), and by Sept 1, we’ll be back to .2 or .3 quarts…… What a time it was.

The birds feeding behavior is affected by the nesting, the weather, and how many birds are here. When we get cold snaps, they’ll gang up at feeders and at cold evenings, will seem to draw a truce about territory….even sometimes one hovering or sitting on another’s shoulder while it drinks, and when that birds pulls out the beak, the hoverer feeds:
may07Hummersdusk12close

Maybe the crowd’s gotten bigger each year because yard plantings, experience has made us better bird attractors…. much of this is sure big thanks to dear friend Nancy Grossenbacher who taught us all the basics…. It IS a joy to see these tiny birds in the yard, not necessarily at a feeder but at flowers, after insects, and hovering everywhere in the evenings.

One of the best life experiences of living up here in the Rain Forest.

NATURE 130% in June / Portland, OR.

Bloged in birding,Hummingbirds,Nature,Oregon,Pacific Northwest,Passerines by mark Monday June 4, 2012

I can’t imagine how brilliant writers have the day I had today and not make a complete NOVEL out of what tiny little nature things that walked/flew around this house.

1) Squirrels. Have born young, the young are no longer nursing, and are out in the “community of squirrels” (Eastern Fox, Eastern Gray Fox, Douglas **native)… They only localize off our rear deck because of the 8 bird feeding stations where seeds drop to the ground.

But ONCE in June when the young are no longer allowed to nurse, and are brought TO this feeding station, to learn the science of what their diet IS, they are so soon spurned and turned away, and chased away by vocalizing parents (and others)………that it’s a bit sad, but they learn they must go off and find their own “territory”….not uncommon in nature. **At least I’m happy they’re eating most of the dropped seed….to keep any mice/rats at bay.

2) DEER. ONCE A YEAR, Doe give birth to fawns…and just AS they do, they give their yearlings eviction notices. Only Once a year, the deer seem to disappear, then while Mom and baby are quietly hiding/nursing, the yearlings appear alone, seemingly a bit lost, and HUNGRY. Today! That happened a yearling buck walked right by our windows to the seed/log we just got……and relished in that find for about 5 minutes…when MAC realized there was an alien who he KNEW was going to destroy our civilization. The barking spooked the dear, but he was back soon SO hungry. It was a fabulous watch for 5 minutes….then he ambled up the side of the house toward the vegetable garden. WOOPS! I have NOT put that deer fence that goes up EVERY year June 1………….. I finally had to let him know I WAS in this “pasture”….and opened the window….he pranced quickly away.

***and of course NO photos……when I simply turned my shoulder, this askeered little deer immediately looked my direction……quiet and NO movement allowed this to happen. I had a great time.

BUT……..TONIGHT, JUST NOW, I spent 30 minutes watching him return to the SEED BLOCK 20 ft from the window…..dine to his hearts content….then amble to the front of the house for salad, aka, apple tree leaves….and I think he ate too much for MY comfort, and then graze in the pasture. THIS was a NATURE MOMENT of a lifetime……..beautiful young sleek native DEER!. Ah, Yes.

3) FLYING SQUIRRELS: After not seeing them for a couple weeks, was SO happy to see -4- of them at once last night in the feeder….seems like THEIR young are ALSO not nursed to completion, and, NO, we hadn’t love them, they’re back! HURRAY. AND it was FUN to see them comfortable 15′ from my chair dining at length.

4) OWLS. Yes, it’s their time too. JUST Thursday, on the dog hike, I was a bit ahead of the group, and SAW a barred owl, very close, FLY in front of me, turn and land on a branch not 100′ away……she watched us…until the group got close and flew further……. End of story? NO! On the weekend, group member Arnie ran into the scientist doing the wildlife count this month for Forest Park, fabulous John Deshler (google him)….. and John not only showed him that very NEST that I was SO close to) but sent him photos of the chicks his nature photog Scott Carpenter had taken.

I am SO thrilled to NOW be able to not just walk the dog, but go check on the progress of the 4 little owlets………….

5) Oregon Juncos. These poor little bottom of the food chain birds NEST IN THE LAWN or on the ground…..SO defenseless…..almost EVERY year we get ONE….we found one, she had five eggs. NOW, 2 are hatched doing well (today), one egg/young disappeared, and should be 2 more tomorrow or……. AND yes, we protect them by putting a tomato cage around that lawn spot…..that is not touched or mowed until the young are fledged:

6) RAIN. Yep, it’s becoming the Junuary I hate……….I HAD to put sluggo on the borders of the garden near the lettuce…..who knows…….and snow levels will get down to 3500′ tonight…… We will know Wednesday……..

What an exciting 2012 THIS is starting out to be…………I had a nature day I’ll never forget.

HIGH Summer – some are leaving us

Bloged in birding,Hummingbirds,Passerines by mark Sunday July 25, 2010

High summer is a fabulous time, no argument. It’s also the time some of our loved short-timer songbirds already LEAVE us to begin heading back to So. Ca., or MX.

Our beloved Evening Grosbeaks just fledged their 2nd nest youngsters this week.

They are, by nature birds that live in flocks and they nomadically travel in flocks…sometimes up to 20-30 . . . . . . . IT IS ONLY during the nesting season that they split up. At first sight of them this spring, we counted 15 at the feeder….within a week they’d split up into pairs, most leaving this neighborhood. We had about 3-4 pair nest here.

Last Monday, that very nesting “group” began a rather new “chortling” whistle call between themselves, a call to “gather the flock, it’s time to leave“… . . . . . . it got more active by Tuesday when I NO longer even saw them appearing at our feeders. By Wednesday morning? NOT a peep and not one since. They have gone! I’m a bit saddened when THIS cheerful, confident, beauty of nature departs us until next late April.

Most robins have departed.

The Black-Headed Grosbeaks, the other favorite, are just NOW fledging their 2nd batch-o-kids, and I expect to see them disappear in the next week or two….THEY will be going all the way to Mexico, so need a good start.

ALL our Adult Rufous Hummingbirds have been gone a bit, and very FEW juveniles are even here. Feeding volume has dropped from 2 1/2 quarts a day to about a 1/2 now……..and will reduce even more when most of our Anna’s will leave for the valley as soon as summer’s over.

Goldfinches are just finishing their 2nd nesting…… and although they’ll stick around until it begins cooling, they’ll begin to lose their colors.

Oh well………I will miss the Grosbeaks.

Birds now feeding at 9336

Bloged in birding,Hummingbirds,Pacific Northwest,Passerines by mark Tuesday May 4, 2010

THIS morning, I’m happy…. so far, I’ve seen these guys at the feeders (DISCLAIMER: Except for Rodger’s close-up shots of the two hummers near the end of this post, the bird pics ARE NOT ours…..no time to set up portraits for everybody….I’m just wanting to note who’s here early in May):
* Both white and red breasted nuthatches….cute, little, but not shy birds!
**above, red, below, white:

* Oregon Juncos, and not just the black headed ones.

* Mourning Dove

….yes, one of the most peaceful birds around.
* Band tailed pidgeon
…..big clumsy oafs…..silly birds.
* Stellar Jays

* Evening Grosbeak….written about last week here….

* Black headed Grosbeak — who seems to be moving in, YES!

……absolutely one of the most beautiful calls we see in the spring is the Black Headed Grosbeak song..(click on “listen)..inviting the girls over.

* One Golden Crowned Kinglet…only passing through…he didn’t stay.

*American Goldfinches….all pairing up now for the season

* Littlest Woodpecker, the “Downy”:

* The medium sized Hairy Woodpecker:

* Black capped Chicadees….lovely little families of these in summer:

*And year round beauty, The Spotted Towhee:

We LOVE the songbird season!

Now………….on to the real reason I had to make a diary note.
*** Annas & Rufous Hummingbirds. **

It is near record breaking cold for May…we were in the 30’s last night. WHEN THAT happens, hummingbirds, who have NO fat stored, crowd the feeders evening and morning…..it was pretty fabulous to watch that last night at dusk.

More-so was the little trick we learned to get closer to them….
(THESE two pics ARE OURS….taken just as close as it looks like it was!!!)….One quart feeder is about one foot from a maple tree trunk….we’ve learned to get just in front of the trunk, do NOT move, no sound, and very quickly, the little hummers came in to feed…(yes, the camera “click” would scare them)…but here’s the example…..these are TWO female hummingbirds, first is the Rufous (note she’s smaller, and a bit more tan shade):

NEXT, the female Anna’s, almost all shades of lovely green, and larger:

Rodger captured these beauties….so we could show JUST how close we WERE to the birds. I think he’ll be perfecting some by w/e. …it was a new test for all of us…including the birds!

and PS:
**Last friday, I was lucky to see a large flock (about 15) Yellow-Rumped Warblers move through the tree tops digging for insects in the branches….just slowly moved across the panorama….in their little beauty, and their Yellow-Rumped Calls weren’t bad either. THEN, this morning, a PAIR has returned…looking over the feeding space, and just “maybe” we’ll get a breeding pair close to home.

A new update about Evening Grosbeaks:
**A couple weeks ago, I noted the migrating Evening Grosbeaks passing through….I should have linked to a site where there chirping sounds exactly as it does in nature: Evening Grosbeaks Calling . SINCE that time, we just MAY have lucked out once again! Today, 2 matched pair returned to feed….**WILL we get to see them raise a family?

How NW Garden “fever” Starts. . . .

Bloged in food: recipes + dining out,garden,General Home Life,Hummingbirds by mark Friday April 30, 2010

Well, for starters:
1) It is sunny out today, temps will be low 60’s.
2) We already HAVE lettuce starts IN the ground guarding them against slugs and bugs….but there is “hope”.
3) Songibirds are here…..you WANT to be outside.
4) The Clackamas County Master Gardener’s Sale is on THIS weekend in Canby, OR at the County Fairgrounds. Oregon’s LARGEST plant sale, it will be, as always, exciting, fun, and we’ll be joining friends.
5) Lunch after the sale for “discussion” about what was seen and garden plans.
6) The truck is already loaded with the Garden wagon…and tires inflated properly.
………………………
But the BIGGEST reason I want a garden started soon?

**Last night, I prepared this wonderful fresh tasting Pasta Sauce:

The contents?
a) the LAST container in the freezer of last year’s fresh frozen tomato sauce made from ‘maters, onions, basil, peppers, ALL from last year’s garden. **and of course, added: dried red pepper flakes (our garden) and some sausage!
b) 4-5 cubes of frozen pesto, all of it from last year’s basil …yep, from the garden.
c) one pint of roasted tomatoes, right, from LAST year’s garden.
YUM……………

We’re running out of last year’s “stuff”. . . . .

IF the ground were dryer, I’d rototill today….but in our rain forest, we must wait another couple weeks anyway, depending on the weather.

So here goes, another year, hopefully, a better garden than last year considering I don’t have a broken leg to hold me back! Hurray!

Soon, I hope this yard will look like this:

Squirrel note: WE found out HOW the squirrel was jumping onto the tray feeder. He climbed up the cedar tree….out to a branch at least 15 feet away….took a flying leap, grabbed on to the hook as he passed by, and voila! He’d be eating. As soon as I saw it, I went out, climbed up, sawed off 18″ of that branch. I can’t wait to see him try it again. . . with hopes I get a laugh at what I see. Hah.

Hummingbirds are everywhere……………it is a grand time for us and the neighbors who love watching them…..

Hurray for spring, I’d best go mow that dang lawn…….. AGAIN!!!

Are we aready for Italy?

Bloged in birding,General Home Life,Hummingbirds by mark Wednesday May 20, 2009

The days count down faster now than two months ago. Europe seemed far away in February. Now, leaving Jun 2 seems like tomorrow. NO, I haven’t even studied what I need to pack. I am excited however.

11funny_sexy_italian_american_diva_cartoon_poster-p228349332176822872t5wm_400

*We have spent quite a few hours listening to Pimsleur’s Language Approach so as to become fluent when conversing in Torino with exotic locals, right? I’ve had some recent REAL learning lessons lately, not the ones intended:
1) When I try to say a few of the 30 words I know to Elena or Emilio, they don’t even understand me.
2) IF I do not continue the lesson daily, I quickly forget the new words being thrown in now followed by their expecting you to speak at the pace a local would speak at.
SO. I am not confident I’ll be speaking much Italian when I’m in Torino. Rodger’s still got his hopes up……….. I’ll be saying, “Parla poco L’Italiano, e capisco molto umpa L’Italiano.” BUT I WILL KNOW: “Vorrei mangiare calcosa con me’ ?” .

**THE Fabulous myriad numbers of Evening Grosbeaks continue, partly because I continue to FILL the feeders 3 times a day. After a week of their being here, I’m wondering WHEN they’ll disburse for nesting. They sure seem happy out there every morning about 0830….it’s truly quite noisy in the mornings. I’ll hear a 100 Evening Grosbeaks whistling, and one or two Black Headed Grosbeak males trying to call our their territory…they don’t stand a chance of being heard!

**I walked a short hike on the trail today after a bit of rain last night. I easily forget how GRAND things look in a rain forest at the height of spring. THIS picture is NOTHING special, nothing rare, but it easily communicates the grandness of the GREEN space:
1wlkdwalk
ANY dog’s lucky who gets to walk here every day, eh?

**Rodger has pulled double duty the past couple of weekends…he almost has EVERY deck pot loaded with baby plants. We are hoping they’ll look a bit more glamorous on our return in a month:
1dckplants2

Even the little water fountain….something I never liked much until I realized that the BIRDS think this thing is a real live stream and LOVE to get in here, bathe, drink….AND…….it’s only about 4 feet from the chair I sit to watch them in. So, it’s not running here because we gotta clean out the moss. That happens today, and these plants TOO will look GOOD around this in a month:
1dckplants1

There has been LOTS of OTHER work done……..have to grab a camera to show that.

**Oh yea, I’m STILL enjoying watching hummingbirds fly in for a drink. It’s fun to know just WHO they are …… here we have a little Rufous female flanked by her larger cousins, two year-round resident female Anna’s:
1hmmrmix

**We joined Thomas & Brenda at A Pizza Scholls Sunday pm for a fabulous lunch. THIS IS the Northwest’s finest thin-crust Pizza, a small place, but fun. From there we dropped in at the Backstage Bar of the Bagdad Theater. **Clicking on the “View the Large Back Stage Photo Gallery” link opens a very interesting panorama… THIS BAR was created from the mammoth back-stage cavern where the screens/curtains were all rolled, hoisted up during shows prior to movies arriving. It’s a cavernous fabulous place. The FIRST photo shows a canvas diorama (about 40 x 50 ft) remembering some of the highlights and premieres that came to Portland famous Bagdad in its heyday. Everything from Circus shows, Frankensteins Premiere, Ken Kesey and his bus, et al….it’s pretty fabulous just to sit and figure out just who all the characters are. We had a good time. It’s ALWAYS a good time with Thomas and Brenda.

**Nancy P drove down to see Nancy M for the weekend and WE got to visit with them Saturday. It’s always nice to see your two favorite cousins isn’t it? We had a good time just visiting not to mention a great little spring drive to Helvetia for the fabulous Hamburgers & fries. We’ll be making pickles together this August…..somehow I think this summer’s going to go FAST.

SO. ON to Italy preparations. Must go…………………… We HOPE everyone’s enjoying their own spring….. except for friends in Arizona or Las Vegas, eh? It’s already over a 100!

Bloged in birding,Hummingbirds,Nature,Pacific Northwest,Scuff Boys by mark Thursday May 14, 2009

NO MATTER WHAT may be going wrong anywhere else, how can one NOT love spring in the Northwest?

Here’s the Smiths current front yard view:
smithfloweryard

YESTERDAY, the most magnificent of ALL our summer visiting birds arrived in a flock of 7 matched pairs……..yes, the EVENING GROSBEAKS came to dine and chirp loudly. The males are quite spectacular both in behavior (gregarious but calm, not so shy, but don’t stir up trouble for anyone else either):
evegrosmale

I swear it is HARD to NOT sit and watch when your feeders are FULL of these fabulous winged wonders especially when you can hear their loud clear whistling calls through the windows. **EVENING GROSBEAKS** **Imagine that times 14…..all whistling at once**

Now. Onto pertinent items.
bulldoglook1

ITEM Number ONE: We joined the nether-worlds of “unconnected” and unknowing humans last weekend. FIRST the hard drive crashed on the house PC. THREE hours of phone talk with HP support gave me nothing except: “Your PC is too old for us to have information about, and we can’t figure out your problem, so although you have a lifetime service warranty, WE are afraid you will have to BUY a NEW Machine.

How’s THAT for “support” from one-o-them “multi-national” corporations I detest!
Our problem was compounded the next morning when Rodger decided to transplant a lovely plant from garden to the berm, and, hence, cut through the buried Comcast cable. NO internet for the laptop after that.

Fortunately, we have known of a little one-owner geek business 3 miles from here in St Johns…… We took our machine to Russel Grate @ GRATE Computers, and he had the XP system restored sans any software programs by Monday PM. It has taken 3 days to get everything back in order, but we we’re GLAD to find Russel who did a really CLEAN restore of the PC. Luckily, we had data backed up on an external hard drive….just not organized well.

SO. WE ARE BACK in the REAL world and can investigate ALL our friends secret lives either via your posts or government intervention if Cheney gives us the go-ahead.

ITEM NUMBER TWO:

I experienced an analysis of the MRI done on my still pained KNEE last Monday by the Orthopedic surgeon who repaired my broken leg. I DO have a bit of torn Meniscus, that I completely aggravated by staying on my feet 9 hours Saturday at the St Johns Bizarre, then came home and planted our tomatoes and peppers with Rodger (he truly tried to make me stop)……… next morning I was back on crutches.

Under Doctors orders now, I am NOT to do anything to strain the knee……..NO DOG WALKS DOWN HILLS, NO bending over for the garden, etc.. JUST simple walking on level ground and resting. DANG! IT IS truly hard to do that when Portland’s weather turns warm as it will be again this weekend.

I will be taking it EASY for the next 2 weeks. I plan on the trip to Europe early in June, and will make a decision on a minor surgery on my return…..perhaps some healing will occur, hopefully.

THERE is STILL THRILLING living though. With our cold truly WET stormy spring week, the millions of pollen bearing flowers shut down, insects boarded up, and the hummingbirds by the dozens showed up to feed. We came home Saturday night from St Johns to find 6 of 8 feeders empty….. IMMEDIATELY, we refilled what we could with what food we had stored, and cooked 6 more quarts that we were able to put out later. Today, just 5 days later, I’ve finished cooking my 3rd batch of 6 quarts and will be using the first two this afternoon. THRILLING STUFF to WATCH these DEAR tiny kids visit us for such a SHORT 3-4 months (the Rufous).

Evening throngs could be seen at more than one window as we replaced 2 cup feeders with quart size units:
may07hummersdusk12close

It is kind of thrilling to me to now easily recognize our year round Anna’s vs. the Rufous visitors….and see the competition happen:
hmrsmay132009b

THE 3rd cause of the spike in feeding volume has been the appearance of the first babies from nests show up. They are SO different when they first come to public feeding stations. . . . even in appearance. They are not thin streamlined flying machines. They are more puffed up looking, fluffy, unsure, watching EVERYTHING happen around them.
hummerbaby01

They are NOT sure about the fight required to compete for the food, so sometimes sit at their spot despite diving attempts from adults. FUN FUN FUN and MORE excitement than I could ever have thought possible when I first saw these tiny birds 12 years ago.

OH WELL………….that’s it for the first post, must continue restoring the PC and have lunch. Lucky for ME AND MAC, friend ARNIE is coming up to walk him in the forest. I’m jealous!

weather changes are for the birds

Bloged in General Home Life,Hummingbirds,Scuff Boys by mark Wednesday May 6, 2009

Since the flowering season has been so over-powering, our favorite spring visitors, the hummingbirds have all but vanished. We claimed it was because of the very powerful volume of flowering plants, increasing availability of insects, AND, the fact they have begun their first nesting cycle.

apr04200703

Well. How do you know if they’re still here…….

The past 3 days have brought us downpours of spring rains, spring winds. ALL of those blooming plants have been drenched over and over until the pollen has nearly been washed out. Days have barely reached fifty degrees. That also means the insect volume has nearly vanished. **AND….it means all those plants we bought last weekend are hiding under plastic in a few places:
veggies2008starts-2

So. Did our theory prove true? Yes.
may07hummersdusk04more
I had to cook a gallon of sugar water last night to begin replacing feeders getting emptied. 3 were filled last night and 2 today………. the last two are nearly empty. Woohoo! They ARE HERE! Luckily for them, weather improves beginning tomorrow, so perhaps they’ll get a rest from this frantic feeding cycle.

Is there a reward for my worries and efforts? Of course, seeing these fascinating animals up close over and over and over……………………… AND…………. Rodger’s making Pizza from scratch tonight! I hope it looks JUST like this one from a Pizza Scholls …… about 8:30 tonight:
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