March 4, 2017 Ogilby Road BLM Area, California

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird

More Hummingbirds at Ogilby Road

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird

The gorgeous male Anna’s Hummingbird made several visits to the feeders over the past few days so I was able to get a few decent shots of this colorful little bird.

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird

When the wind shifted to the south, I finally was able to capture some of the wild variations of color in this birds throat and cap.

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird
Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird
Immature ?? Hummingbird
Immature ?? Hummingbird

As usual, the number of females and immature males far outnumbered the colorful adult males I most desired to shoot.

Immature ?? Hummingbird
Immature ?? Hummingbird
Hummingbirds and Ocotillo
Hummingbirds and Ocotillo
Immature ?? Hummingbird
Immature ?? Hummingbird

Nonetheless, these guys are beautiful in their own right, even if not as spectacularly colorful as the mature males.

Immature ?? Hummingbird
Immature ?? Hummingbird
Immature ?? Hummingbird
Immature ?? Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird

Once more the male Rufous made an appearance also.

Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird

Note the pollen on the top of his head, obviously he has been visiting other feeding sources out in the desert.

Rufous Hummingbird Portrait
Rufous Hummingbird Portrait

With temperatures forecasted to hit 90 this week, I am going to break camp and head west to the Salton Sea and then up onto higher, and cooler, ground in Joshua Tree National Park where the desert flowers are getting ready to put on a show ( I hope ? ).

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February 28, 2017 Ogilby Road BLM area, California

Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo

The Desert Begins to Bloom, Bringing Hummingbirds

Sunrise, Ogilby Road BLM Area
Sunrise, Ogilby Road BLM Area

Another beautiful day in the desert begins with a colorful sunrise. It is just about at this time in the morning that I go outside and fill the hummingbird and other feeders I have planted outside my motorhome door.

Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo

The hummingbirds arrive at the feeders before it is anywhere light enough to photograph, so I use this time to go out and scour the surrounding area for any blooming flowers I can find. The blooms are few and far between, but it is now only a matter of time before everything starts to pop, given the recent rains and how green everything is around here.

Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo

Though there are hundreds of healthy ocotillos around, there are only a few here and there that have started to bloom, and these flowers are the perfect photo prop to use for these desert hummers.

Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo

I know there are at least three different types of female hummingbirds coming in to feed, but other than the fairly distinctively colored Rufous, I am never exactly sure who is who with these females, so i won’t bother to attempt to label their images.

Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Costa's Hummingbird
Costa’s Hummingbird

The male Costa’s is pretty easy to identify, but seems to be the most timid of the other male hummingbirds coming in, and is always chased off by either the male Rufous or Anna’s.

Costa's Hummingbird
Costa’s Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Rufous Hummingbird and Ocotillo

The male Rufous is probably the most aggressively possessive of the feeders, chasing off all others who dare approach. He actually kind of irritates me as I wait for birds to approach and he chases them off before I can get a shot taken. After scaring them off, he retreats to the inner branches of a nearby tree, leaving me with nothing to photograph until he gets hungry again or finally decides to fly off and check out other areas.

Rufous Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Rufous Hummingbird and Ocotillo

His throat coloring is very impressive if exposed to the proper light. Unfortunately, with the sun coursing across the southern sky and the prevailing wind coming from the north, I have been unable to get a great shot of him yet ( they prefer to feed facing into the wind ).

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird

And then there is the colorful Anna’s male. This guy was here a lot in the beginning but has made far fewer appearances since the Rufous arrived and staked out his claim to my feeders.

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird

I was here two years ago in a spot only a hundred yards or so from where I am now along the same wash and had a lot more activity than I am getting here this year. Still, I have a hard time complaining about day after day of wonderful 70 degree weather with cool nights and gorgeous sunrises, with three different hummingbird species to shoot.

Hopefully I’ll have some more shots of the male hummers next post.

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February 26, 2017 Ogilby Road BLM Area, California

Burrowing Owl Portrait
Burrowing Owl Portrait

Finally Some Opportunities to Shoot a Few Birds

Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl

I drove north from my campsite on Ogilby Road to check out the Cibola NWR, a refuge I have visited twice before. The fields were green but the birdlife pretty sparse at the refuge, perhaps because the migrants have already taken wing to begin their northward migration.

Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl

However, the Burrowing Owls were here as they usually are, and I can never resist spending some time with these diminutive ( about the size of a pigeon )  little raptors.

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird

Back home at the campsite, the feeders I have put out are finally attracting some action, such as this male Anna’s Hummingbird,

Male Costa's Hummingbird
Male Costa’s Hummingbird

this male Costa’s Hummingbird,

Gathering Nest Material
Gathering Nest Material

this female ??? hummingbird, with spider’s silk wrapped on it’s beak,

Male Rufous Hummingbird
Male Rufous Hummingbird

and this male Rufous Hummingbird.

Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird

The female hummingbirds coming to the feeders far outnumber the more colorful males, although this female Rufous is fairly colorful herself.

Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow

My tray feeders have attracted White-crowned Sparrows,

??? Sparrow
??? Sparrow
??? Sparrow
??? Sparrow

along with these unidentified sparrows,

??? Sparrow
??? Sparrow

plus a few House Finches and one solitary Verdin, drawn in by the oranges I put out in the tree. Unfortunately, the little Verdin has been completely uncooperative in allowing me to catch him in action.

With my dental work complete, I hope to now be able to spend some serious time attempting to get some decent Hummingbird shots.

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July 1, 2016 Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing

Hummingbirds and Chipmunks

Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird

Cloudy skies and the threat of rain today, so I decided to stay in camp and finally get some shots of the uniquely colored Rufous Hummingbird that has been terrorizing my nectar feeder for the past week.

Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird

An incredibly territorial and aggressive little bird, he has taken up residence in the tree the nectar feeder hangs from and absolutely will not tolerate any other hummingbird feeding from “his” feeder.

Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird

Very unique coloring, just a stunning little guy.

Rufous Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird

Finally, After Twenty Years

Chipmunk
Getting to the Bottom of Things

Let me say right up front, I am not sure if these guys are chipmunks or some kind of ground squirrel, but, one thing for certain, they are very entertaining little guys.

Chipmunk
Eating In !

A long, long time ago, probably close to twenty years or so, I was camped somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and missed what I thought was just a great photo opportunity. I was having breakfast on the picnic table, got up and went inside to get something, and when I was coming back out the door, I saw a chipmunk’s butt protruding from my coffee cup, that had been left on the picnic table. Just cracked me up, but by the time I could grab a camera, he was on to other things.

Chipmunk
Eating In !

Now, the coffee cup was just a standard, non-photogenic, travel mug, so I went out and bought the blue metal, “cowboy by the fire” type metal mug you see in the images in this blog post. Now I have carried this mug with me for two decades waiting for another opportunity to get that shot I missed back in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I finally got my chance.

Chipmunk
Chipmunk
Chipmunk
Chipmunk

For you purists, the two shots above are what this guy looks like in his natural environment, but that was not what I was after on this day.

Chipmunk
Waiting for Service
Chipmunk
Balancing Act

I wanted to get that shot I missed so many years ago, and I believe I did. In fact, as you will see, I kind of got carried away with project over the next several hours …

Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing

…..especially when this little guy was joined by another of his kind, and there was non-stop action for the next two hours, and I just couldn’t help myself, I must have taken a thousand shots.

Food Fight
Food Fight
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Food Fight
Food Fight

These two would not tolerate each other feeding out of the cup and would aggressively chase each other anytime they both appeared at the same time.

Food Fight
Food Fight
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing
Trouble Brewing

It just cracked me up the way they would cautiously approach the cup to see if the other was there, then all hell would break loose if the cup was occupied.

Food Fight
Food Fight
Food Fight
Food Fight
Chipmunks
Next!
Chipmunk
Up and In
Chipmunk
Up and In
Jump Right In
Jump Right In

An entertaining couple of hours and now I can put the coffee cup back in the cupboard for another twenty years or so.