Tuesday Photo Challenge – Colorful Hummingbird

The ruby-throated baby hummingbird in my garden is doing well. He prefers nectar from lavender flowers, but there are not enough flowers to give him the amount of nectar he needs. Mama and Papa feed exclusively from my feeders.

There is a small potted ficus tree in front of the kitchen window underneath the hummingbird feeder. The lavender bush is about five feet from the ficus tree. Baby Hummi flew to the lavender flowers to get nectar. After feeding, he flies to the ficus tree and perches on his favorite spot of the branch until the next feeding. Papa flies around and swoops him up so he gets to fly one round of the palm trees. He quickly comes back to the ficus tree and perches on his spot.

Two days ago, he tried the sugar water from the feeder and liked it. He goes back and forth between the lavender flowers and the feeder. Papa comes by every twenty minutes to take him on flying lessons.

There was a baby hummingbird last year did the same thing. He perched on the ficus branch most of the time and the parent came by to take him flying. When the parents went south for the winter, the baby stayed behind to feed on my feeder throughout the winter.

I was curious about the migration of the hummingbird. I did a research this morning and found out that I will have the baby stay with us for the winter. The website also describes the colors of the birds.

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The Colorful Hummingbird

The ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is a species of hummingbird that generally spends the winter in Central America, Mexico, and Florida, and migrates to North America for the summer to breed. It is by far the most common hummingbird seen in North America.

The adult male has a throat patch of iridescent ruby red bordered narrowly with velvety black on the upper margin and a forked black tail with a faint violet sheen. The red iridescence is highly directional and appears dull black from many angles. The female has a notched tail with outer feathers banded in green, black, and white and a white throat that may be plain or lightly marked with dusky streaks or stipples.

During migration southward in autumn along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico, some birds embark on a nonstop 900-mile journey. Some older male and female birds were better prepared for long-distance flight than first-year birds by having higher body weights and larger fuel loads.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby-throated_hummingbird

Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Colorful Hummingbird

My First Baby Hummingbird

Six days ago, I suddenly discovered a tiny hummingbird nest on an orange tree branch. Probably it had been there for three weeks. I was surprised that my husband didn’t accidentally knock it off when he picked oranges.

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At first, I thought it was dust caught in the cobweb. I almost wanted to squirt it with a hose. I took another look, it looked like a neatly squeezed together cheese ball. Then I saw a pointed beak sticking out from the nest. I quickly grabbed my camera, climbed the ladder my husband put again the tree. Surely it was a teeny-weeny hummingbird. It was so still that it looked dead and abandoned. I poked the beak, he jumped out of the nest and fell on the grass. It made me feel horrified. I quickly picked him up and put him back to the nest. By that time, the mama bird was flapping her wings around me.

For five day, my first thing in the morning was to see the baby hummingbird. He grew, and his body came up higher and higher in the nest. Both mama and papa checked their baby frequently. On the fifth day, he wiggled and wiggled, then flew out of the nest. He flew to one tree branch, clung on to it as he practiced flapping the wings. Then flew to another branch and flapped. After five minutes, he flew to the other side of a row of Cypress trees.

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I worried that he didn’t know where to find nectar or the bird feeders. After a couple hours, the mama bird found him and brought him to the bird feeder.

This is the first baby hummingbird in my garden. I researched on the growth of hummingbird babies. One site indicates that it takes 16 to 18 days to incubate for the eggs to hatch. A YouTube video shows from eggs to hatching, to babies flying away, takes 26 days. I wish I could have watched the process from the egg. It’s as thrilling to watch his growth even for a few days.

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Tuesday Photo Challenge: Pin-tailed Whydah.New Bird in My Garden

Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo – New Bird in my Garden

I had a new visitor on June 17, 2018. It was a beautiful bird I hadn’t seen before. I was fascinated by its graceful long tail which is twice as long as its body. The sharp contrast of black and white feather with an orange beak wouldn’t escape anyone’s sight.

It happened I had the patio door open to take photos of the birds feeding. It flew into my garden. I grabbed the camera and tried to be in a hidden position so I wouldn’t scare the birds away. I only had 30 seconds before it flew away.

On the same day, De Wets Wild had a post about the same bird. I almost jumped out of my seat because the information of the bird came so timely. De Wets Wild told me that its tail is beautiful in the air. It was not within my sight when it flew away.

Following my photos, I copied a photo and the information from De Wets Wild’s post. Please visit his wonderful posts about the animals in the wild.

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The post and one photo from De Wets Wild:

The little Pin-tailed Whydah (12cm long, without the tail, and weighing only about 15g) is most known for the aggressive nature of the breeding males, which carries tails almost double their own body length and have no qualms tackling birds many times their own weight, like doves and pigeons, over a food source or territory!

Pin-tailed Whydahs are brood parasites, meaning that the female lays her eggs (usually 1 or 2 but up to 4 at a time) in the nests of other birds, mostly small seed-eaters like waxbills, for them to raise the chicks, often after removing some or all of the host birds’ eggs. A single Pin-tailed Whydah female may lay up to 25 eggs in a season. Their breeding season stretches from spring to autumn. Males are polygamous and highly territorial. The chicks hatch after about 11 days of incubation and leave the nest at about 3 weeks old, staying with their host family for about another week before joining a Whydah group.

Their habitat ranges from savanna, grassland, reedbeds, and scrublands to suburban parks, orchards and gardens. They feed mostly on seeds and termites. In South Africa, they occur in all our provinces, though they’re rather sparsely distributed in the arid Northern Cape, while outside of our borders Pin-tailed Whydahs occur over most of the continent south of the SaharaThe IUCN considers the Pin-tailed Whydah to be of least concern.

Weekly Photo Challenge: All-Time Favorites – Sunset

From Word Press – “Welcome to the final installment of the Weekly Photo Challenge. In wishing you a fond farewell, we wanted to share our all-time favorite photos with you. We welcome you to share your favorites with us. Happy photographic trails!” – Krista Stevens

I want to thank the Word Press staff for years of Daily Challenges. I have enjoyed participating in the challenges and love to do my best to present my posts. This is my second post to the final installment.

I love taking sunset photos for its dramatic colors with the combination of clouds, moist in the air, and reflections in the ocean. The fascination is the colors change so quickly within a matter of minutes. I have taken sunset photos during travels to many countries. Including in this post are photos from July 18, 2017 at La Habra, California; November 23, 2015 at Huntington Beach, California; October 11, 2014 at Maui, Hawaii; and January 10, 2011 at Key West, Florida.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: All-Time Favorites

Photo Challenge – Portage Glacier Cruise, Alaska

May 22, 2018, was our last day of sightseeing before leaving Alaska on the following day. We went on the Portage Glacier Cruise. We were fortunate to have a sunny day for the Denali National Park trip. We had a sunny day again for our glacier cruise. When we arrived at the site of the glacier, the boat stopped, and the captain gave us an orientation of the phenomena of the glacier. Toward the end of the cruise, we had photos taken with the safety ring labeled the company name as our souvenir.

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As a point of interest, here are the what and why of blue ice and iceberg.

Blue glacier

In the case of oceans or lakes, some of the light hitting the surface of the water is reflected back directly, but most of it penetrates the surface, interacting with its molecules. The water molecule can vibrate in different modes when the light hits it. The red, orange, yellow, and green wavelengths of light are absorbed, the remaining light is composed of the shorter wavelengths of blue and violet. This is the main reason why the ocean is blue.

Small amounts of regular ice appear to be white because of air bubbles are inside them and because small quantities of water appear to be colorless. In glaciers, the pressure causes the air bubbles to be squeezed out, increasing the density of the ice. As it absorbs the colors other than blue, a large piece of compressed ice, or a glacier, would appear blue.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_ice_(glacial)

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Iceberg

As we look around the lake, we saw many pieces of the iceberg. Iceberg is a large floating mass of ice detached from a glacier or ice sheet. It floats until it’s carried out to sea. When we see “the tip of the iceberg,” we only see 10% of its mass. We saw one piece of blue iceberg, the mass below the surface must be a large body of ice.

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Related image

May is the beginning of summer in Alaska, the snow water gushes down countless twisting creeks. If we had gone back in two or three weeks, we would see the beautiful blooms.

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Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Ring

Weekly Photo Challenge: Twisted

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Denali National Park, Alaska

We arrived Anchorage on May 18, 2018. The sunrise is 5:00 a.m. and sunset is 11:00 p.m. When we landed at 9:30 p.m. it was still bright but dreary because it had been raining. I was so worried about the tour to Denali. Denali is at 20,320 feet elevation, the tallest peak in North America. I was looking forward to having a glimpse of the snowy mountain range. The gloomy weather didn’t give me too much hope.

When I woke up on the day of the tour, second day of the trip, the rain stopped, and the sky was clear. By the time the tour coach picked up the passengers, I saw the blue sky. We had an enjoyable trip seeing the clear snowy mountains. As soon as we entered Denali National Park, the tour guide and driver could make frequent stops for us to take photos when we spotted wildlife. I took photos of Willow Ptarmigans, Snowshoe Hares, and the moose at different spots.

The snow was bright and shiny reflecting the bright sun. The tour guide indicated that Global warming is felt in Alaska to Arctic and Antarctica more so than other parts of the world. We witnessed the melting of the snow cutting through and changing the landscape. The global warming concern is real to me after this trip.

We returned to Anchorage on May 20 by the railroad train. It was cloudy again. The train passed by Hurricane Gorge. It was named as such because the wind could go 150 miles per hour. I included a photo of the Gorge.

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Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Denali National Park, Alaska

Photo Challenge – After the Rain

My plum tree is four years old. In March 2017, the tree was full of blossoms. Thanks to the hard-working bees, we had a prolific harvest in the early summer. I took photos of the plum tree in March this year, the blossoms were scattered. I was puzzling about the difference between the two years. Then I remembered that the rain came late this past winter. The air was still cold in February and early March. As a result, there was not enough sunlight to call out the blossoms. Only after the rain and a couple weeks of warm weather, the blossoms started to appear. The harvest this year may not be as bountiful as last year.

We are thankful for the rain!

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Frank’s Dutch Goes the Photo: Tuesday Photo Challenge – Rain

 Weekly Photo Challenge: Prolific