HUMMINGBIRDS

Small, aggressive, energetic, and colorful, hummingbirds have been a target for my lens for several years.  Four hummingbird feeders off our deck have, at times, had nearly 100 individuals clamoring for the sugar water.

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At other times, as right now, an aggressive individual keeps all the others away.  While I’ve identified 4 species here over the years, the majority are Anna’s.  A few smaller rufous are always around and it’s usually an individual of this species that keeps all others at bay.  An occasional black-chinned appears off and on during the summer but only during spring migration do I see an occasional calliope.

Anna’s Hummingbird                                  Rufous Hummingbird

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Hummingbirds are unique; found only in the western hemisphere. They range from southern Alaska to Patagonia, including islands of the Caribbean, but the majority of species occur in tropical and subtropical Central and South America within the tropical and subtropical forests of the northern Andes.  Ecuador has over 130 species.

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As hummingbirds primary food is nectar from flowers, many bill designs have evolved to utilize the great variety of tropical flowers.

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One could easily see the evolution of the swordbill hummingbird’s bill to extract nectar from flowers too deep for other birds to obtain.

IMG_9889 Swordbilled Hummingbird 8

On my trips to Central and South America I’ve had an opportunity to photograph a lot of hummingbirds, I think my total is somewhere near 40 (meaning I have well over 100 left to see and photograph!  Never happen!).

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Taking images of hummingbirds in flight is a challenge as the speed of their wings requires extreme shutter speeds …

♂ RufousHB5

…so a “set-up” where several flashes are often arranged near a feeder or flower to stop the action is often used.

Set-up images

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Personally, I prefer the photos of the perched birds better as they show some of the habitat but because they don’t sit very long and move fast, I have a lot of frames with nothing but the perch.

Whoops!

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Here are some of the ones I’ve captured over several trips to Central and South America.

Chestnut-breasted Coronet (Ecuador) 

Chestnut-breasted Coronet, Guango Lodge, Ecuador   

Green Thorntail (Ecuador)

Green Thorntail 3a

Long-billed Hermit (Panama)

Long-billed Hermit 3                                                                    

Collared Inca (Ecuador)                                                                                

Collared Inca, Guango Lodge, Ecuador

Purple-crowned Fairy (Costa Rica)

Purple-crowned Fairy 2

Glowing Puffleg (Ecuador)

Glowing Puffleg

Booted Raquet-tail (Ecuador)

Booted Racket-tail, Tandayapa Lodge, Ecuador                                                                   

Sapphire-vented Puffleg (Ecuador)

Sapphire-vented Puffleg 2

Violet-bellied Hummingbird (Panama)

Violet-bellied Hummingbird 4                                                      

 Brown Violet-ear (Ecuador)

 Brown Violet-ear 5

  Great Sapphirewing (Costa Rica)

Great Sapphirewing, Yanacocha, Ecuador

 Black Mango (Panama)

Black Mango 2

Buff-winged Starfrontlet (Ecuador)

Buff-winged Starfrontlet, Tandayapa Lodge, Ecuador

 White-necked Jacobin (Ecuador)                 Purple-throated Woodstar (Ecuador)

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Violet-tailed Sylph (Ecuador)                      Velvet-purple Coronet (Ecuador)

Violet-tailed Sylph 4Velvet-purple Coronet

Sparkling Violet-ear (Ecuador)                      Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Ecuador)

Sparkling Violet-ear 5Rufous-tailed Hummingbird                              

Rufous-crested Coquette (Panama)           Buff-tailed Coronet (Ecuador)

 Rufous-crested Coquette 1Buff-tailed Coronet, Tandayapa Lodge, Ecuador

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Revolution

From primal ooze they say we came
That cells congealed to form a brain
And since…the world’s not been the same
Humanity evolved.

For those first several million years
We hid in caves to quell our fears
Protected there, we persevered
To our lot we resolved.

Then we began to sharpen stones
And tie them tight to sticks and bones
To the ends of staffs… which then were thrown
We soon learned of our might.

It wasn’t till these tools we made
That man, the hunter, found his place
Then soon the warrior was embraced
And found a cause to fight.

In all those years that went before
There was no strife or need for war
Then greed, and skill with weapons bore
O’er battlefields we trod.

To justify the path we’d laid
The lives we took by gun and blade
To lead us in a world crusade
We so created God.

We offered our prayers up to Him
That war in His name, we should win
That He absolve us of all sin
At our communion feast.

But victory did not bring us calm
It brought, instead, human aplomb
With brain and hands…we built the bomb
And said it would bring peace.

The world is better now, I think
Since humankind became extinct
And rat and cockroach rule the stink
Of what we once called “Earth.”

Our spirits roam the starry plains
Reflecting back from whence we came
But cannot overcome the shame
And thus, defy rebirth.

It begins again in primal ooze…

Dean Carrier

Our Domestic Military

Like it or not, we are Hell bent on becoming a military society. This not only stems from our federal efforts to solve foreign political and religious problems through military means; or on the growing capacity and focus of our internal state and local law enforcement agencies to control, rather than protect their citizenry; or on the extreme growth of a radical military citizenry who believe the Constitution supports, even condones, revolution and is amassing military firearms to be prepared for it. It is all of these.

Recently, at a course on firearm safety, the instructor cautioned us that “your concern is not whether you might get into a gun fight, but WHEN…and you need to be prepared for it?” In America? Really? I try to think of all the friends and acquaintances I’ve had in the past 75 years and cannot point to one who was or knew anyone involved in a domestic gun fight. Guns were for hunting.

I admit as a teen-ager I got into my scrapes with the police; throwing cherry bombs from a vehicle; driving over someone’s lawn; throwing water balloons at police cars. But when I was apprehended, I was not shot, or handcuffed, or tear gassed, or jailed, but was put in the back seat of a police car and taken home and my parents for my retribution. The officers were stern…but fair and I even knew some of them by their first names because they lived in our neighborhood.

At the Snow Goose Festival a couple years back the two personnel manning the California State Parks booth were law enforcement officers, both wearing full battle gear on their belts: automatic pistols, mace, handcuffs, baton, etc. I recalled the State Parks were places my family took me to learn about nature, camp, hike and fish…not to be intimidated by a military presence. These didn’t appear to be the ones I’d want to ask how the fishing was in Lake Oroville.

Why has this changed? Well, when I was a young man no one walked into department stores or restaurants carrying automatic weapons to “prove” their Constitutional rights; no one owned a military weapon capable of killing a couple dozen kids before reloading; and few believe war was the panacea to all our foreign problems. But, it’s a new world out there and I, for one, am glad to have been part of the old one.