Sunday, August 05, 2007

Morning in the garden

I've been enjoying my hummingbirds too much to take pictures for anyone, much less myself. Yesterday and today I decided to remedy that situation, but only early in the morning when it was cool enough for the Preggosaurus to step outside.

Mentally, I have so many different things going on right now that I feel overwhelmed by my conflicting desires to a) sleep, b) garden [Hah!], c) stay well away from temperatures over 80 degrees, d) write, e) photograph fun things around me, f) clean the house in 15 minute intervals, oh and g) drink three bloody liters of water a day. I have house and garden guilt like mad, but it's all just going to have to wait. This is where having a xeric garden in the front and automated sprinklers means I can just let everything run on autopilot for months. Of course, I'll pay next year with the sheer numbers of weeds that I'll be pulling out, but I won't be enormously pregnant then, will I?

On with the photos! As usual, you can click on any image to get a larger picture.
This is a moss rose, aka Portulaca and was supposed to have been Sundial Peppermint Pink. Hmm. Looks like I received seeds that weren't all they were supposed to be, since this one is clearly apricot colored. Still pretty, though. They open for only a day and then are gone, but bloom prolifically throughout the summer. They are annuals here in CO, but really seem to enjoy being in planters. They looked pretty scraggly when I first put them in, but they filled out pretty quick.
Here is one of my pots with Hyacinth bean vine, Silver Falls dichondra and Peppermint Pink moss rose. I don't know if you can tell, but some of those pink flowers are a lot more rose colored than pink. Again, the variation you get in seed. The bean vine is climbing up the bird feeder pole and was growing at a very impressive rate - 6" a day! Now I really wish I had a pergola over my deck to grow all of these vines on. They must feel frustrated when they run out of vertical support.
Here is a pot with heliotrope (Mmmm!), cup and saucer vine (still not blooming) and Heather Queen agastache (aka Hyssop). The butterflies like the heliotrope and the hummers like the agastache.
My only good shot from yesterday of a juvenile male broadtailed. Can you see the purple-red dot in the center of his gorget? So cute!
Mint and sage, rescued from one pot and relocated after not being watered regularly all summer. Mint and sage are tough! Now they're filling in. Too bad I can't have any mojitos this year....I'll have to come up with alternative uses for my mint. Maybe a couscous? Eric and Caitlin do not approve of couscous, but I like it!
A mourning dove. Not the same thing as a pigeon, but they are in the same family. A mated pair of these hang around my yard, cleaning up anything that falls out of the bird feeders. They coo/hoot rather like you would think an owl would, which confused my neighbor. She thought she was hearing our owl, but I told her that it was more likely these guys.
Scarlet sage. Hummingbirds really do love this stuff. Also an annual, and it also puts out new flowers every day. I've watched bees attempt to climb inside to get to the nectar, but no luck. A pot of it is in a bowl on my deck table, bringing hungry hummers right next to my dining room window.

Today, I got up close with my long lens on my tripod, holding really still and waiting for someone to come along for a drink. I still can't tell just how many hummers I have in my yard, but it's clearly at least three and is likely somewhere upwards of 6 or 8. The main problem that I've run into is that they won't share! Any time one comes to drink, another comes to chase it off. If one is checking out the flowers in pots, one on the feeder may be left alone while a third dive bombs the one checking out the flowers. Oh and they move so fast that I can only grab a shot when they sit still long enough on the feeder. These are taken at 1/1000th of a second, at ISO800 at f6.3 - 8.0.

These images will get really big if you click on them.
Responding to the Click! of my camera shutter, they would initially take off and then return in a few moments after it became apparent that the Clicking Monster wasn't going to eat them.

This last image is a cropped photo that clearly shows the telltale of the juvenile male broadtailed hummingbird. He was so cute!

I got checked out pretty thoroughly while I was out there. They flew right up to me, about 2' away and watched to see what I was doing, then flew off to slurp up more nectar or go chase a rival. They may be juves, but they're pretty serious about Controlling The Food. I watched two of them go at it, tiny chest to tiny chest, body slamming one another. Impossible to tell which one in my photo is the winner. A pair of them fought behind my head while I was shooting a third on the feeder. That was a wee bit disconcerting. They sound like very large bugs, until they trill, and the two of them behind me sounded like very large bugs coming right for me!

After I went inside, one came to feed at the bowl right by the door. He noticed Domino sitting there watching and flew down to check him out. The hummer hovered only a foot away from Domino, clearly unconcerned, until Kaboom came racing up to the screen door. At that point, it turned and zipped away.

Why yes, my cats are indoor cats. I like to keep both them and the birds alive. The racoons, foxes and coyotes would make short work of my cats if they got free run of the neighborhood. Not to mention the cars!

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