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.

mar 8 2014 winter weakens a grip & a Rufous arrives.

Bloged in General Home Life,Nature,Pacific Northwest,Portland by mark Saturday March 8, 2014
A quick note or two. Winter in the Midwest through to New england have been a tortured test of wills.....below 0 temps, FEET of snowstorms, over and over.....so complaining of a small drought in PAC NW Oregon, seems whiny. I'm just noting, yes, we have been lucky, but we have needed more rain. That began the last couple days of February and continued up to now, March 8.....WITH that, temps ARE warming for us.... enough that the lawn HAS begun to green up, grow enough to get out the winter rested lawn tractor, start it, MOW about 1/2 the lawn..... fertilize it, put down what 'ferrous iron' I had left, and now wait for it to truly get a deep green and grow. Doing all that let's you observe what's happening in the yard March 1: 1) TEMPS. Two days in the last 4 were over 60, a bit warm for now, but enough that our Orchard (Mason) Bees, all resting in their little posts will begin to move in their cells, and hatch....OUT came the first 3-4 blocks...and are now awaiting bee hatching: bee homes mar 2014 2) What will they dine on? NO buds on any fruit tree yet....it's been too cold for that.....but....there's hope. This one rhody like plant is full of blooms: flwrng shrub mar 2014 3) The CURRANTS seem like they'll be next, and those are fragrant rich pollinators: currants 2 2014 4) Wait a minute, that hellebore has been 'sort-of-blooming' all winter, and now looks like it has pollen to share: hellebore mar 2014 Then the elderberries, raspberries and apple trees within a month...... ****JUST yesterday, the very FIRST Male Rufous Hummingbird was seen feeding, feeding, and feeding on the back feeder.....Seems an early arrival, and likely migrant that would continue north.....but when I scared him from that feeder accidentally, he flew immediately around the house to the office window, where, all summer, a feeder sits....he stared a while....seems to me he KNEW where he was. Today, he's been back 2-3 times feeding. either he's resting up for his next trip segment north, or he's here setting up territory already. Nonetheless, 2 fresh quarts of food were fixed immediately, and now 4 feeders are awaiting more arrivals....we LOVE the time the Rufous are here.....malerufous And the 5 maturing Hydrangeas will then be in bloom, a plant I LOVE because those blooms last a LONG time: hydrangea mar 2014 Well. Looks like these little calm bees will be busy till June when they'll go back to bed again and wait the rest of the year out till NEXT spring. Whew! Short busy life......Good thing we bought new empty little bee hive tunnel posts for this year....they're ready. Other things are showing signs of surviving the frosty winter. fall GARLIC plantings are up: baby garlic mar 2014 Our Hemlock planted some 10 years ago, but losing a battle every winter with the male Bucks when in their rut as they have scraped this little thing almost bare more than once.....is finally winning the battle and truly at 9-10' high, I think, it's going to be a keeper: hemlock mar 2014 WELL.....it's been a frosty, dry winter up to now. AND, yes, compared Portlanders living at 40' elevation, we're two weeks behind.... BUT I've come to love this 1000' elevation location....it's unique, quiet, and let's you be with the nature all around us very easily. After 15 years, I somehow have a strong feeling with temps nearing or passing 60, with the longer light days, and rain filling up the dry places, this yard will look 100% different within 3-4 weeks.... I never knew how much I loved spring until I got so intimately acquainted with this little piece of land in the rain forest of the Pacific NW these last 15 years. . . . .

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