Saturday, September 26, 2009


I sit on the deck of my house waiting with telephoto in hand to catch those darting and faithful hummingbirds. There are at least three that visit the feeder with increasing regularity as the sun begins to retreat. They will fight with each other rather than eat like buddies and usually the weaker one has to leave for a time until the top bird gets his fill. I have seen them dart and chase each other for quite sometime at sunset before one of them wins and is allowed to drink.

This time I have decided to wear dark colors and sit very still in the deck chair as prior attempts at photographing these flirts have been met with gray blurs. The mosquitoes are biting and it is hard to sit still and wait for the buzzing hum of the bird to alert me. My arms are getting fatigued from holding the focus and my camera battery is waning. I have seen such lovely photos of these birds including photos with them landing on people's arms on other blogs. Why are my hummers so very timid?

Years go while birding on a boat on a river in Belize we came across a hummingbird spinning like a top on the calm surface of the water. Our guide motored closer and we scooped up the hummer who was so much smaller than I ever thought. He weighed nothing in my hand...seeming less than the composite of his feathers. We returned him to land but he was very weak and landed in nearby grasses, perhaps to die anyway, but at least knowing someone cared.

Suddenly I hear the hum just behind my head, then to the right and then to the left behind my field of vision. I squelch the strong desire to turn and look. He has discovered my presence and is actually checking me out before he heads to the feeder. The first time he disappears back into the woods, but the second time he becomes braver and flies over my head and onto the feeder nestled in the moonflower vine at the other side of the deck.

He actually sits on the feeder but each sound of the click of my camera causes him to rise and hover inches above the feeder anticipating any danger. Then back to sitting on the feeder and another click and he hovers. This goes on for some time before I have too many photos to download with ease and I return to the house to see what I have captured. They are far, far less than I had hoped in terms of clarity and I have resized some that I have sharpened to post here. Although hardly good photos, you can click on them to see the few late travelers who visit my deck in the afternoons as winter pushes forward.


Hilary said...

Hummers are extremely difficult to get into focus because of their constant motion. You did a fine job of capturing some lovely shots though. The more time you spend out there with them, the more they'll become used to you being part of the scenery. They'll allow you easier access to even better shots.

Good for you for rescuing that hummer from the water. They are such a tiny little wonder, aren't they?

Barry said...

The photos are still stunning, Tabor. I especially like the top one where you actually captured those speeding wings in flight.

Mosquitoes are a photographer's worst enemy.

Well, and in my case, impatience.

ml said...

This is a story that I got swept up in, needing to know how it came out even though I'd looked at the pix before reading. How'd you do that?

One Woman's Journey said...

The pictures are great. I need more then my camera to capture good shots of the dozen or more that are buzzing about all the time. They are all so fat. Have never seen them look like this before.