Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Summer Heat

It's day 2 of our 100 degree weather, the hummingbirds seem to be holding up fine. The feeders are draining fast - 2 to 3 gallons per day now. I am not sure about the 'old guy', have not positively id him lately but 'his feeder' seems to be slowly emptying which is a good sign he may still be around.

The orioles are thinning out but there are still four or five coming to feed in the evening. They seem to be more skittish now so it is harder to tell if I am looking at adult females or this years young. It seems like I am just seeing adult or fledgling females now (no fledgling males) so maybe the second or last batch of eggs is mostly female? I have only seen one or two adult males (much easier to determine with their bright yellow and black).

I will miss the orioles but at least I will be able to more aggressively bee proof the feeders so the hummers will not have to fight off the bees as much. I have put out another large feeder to accommodate the increased number of hummers lately. Nice to see that neighbors on both sides have put up feeders as well, hope they get lots of activity too.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mid Summer Update

It's almost the middle of August and the weather is still generally cool for this time of year. Every day, it seems, somewhere in the county is recording a record low. Sometimes it is low overnight temps, sometimes low afternoon maximums. The birds seem to be enjoying the cooler than usual temps as much as most people, the activity is high and feeding level is up about as high as I can recall - around 2 gallons per day. And this is with neighbors on one side also putting up feeders giving the birds an alternative location for snacking.

I am concerned that 'the old guy' may have met his end, as I have not seen him in a few days now. Here is a photo from this spring.
He has been a regular for a couple years and lately has been fiercely guarding his feeder against all other hummers. I hope he just found a spot he likes better, I am not optimistic.

Seems like all the orioles are still here, bees as well. This morning was very foggy and cool (55 degrees) and all feeders were pretty much loaded with hummers and the air was thick with the thrumming of wings.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

1st of August

We made it to August and the weather is still below average for high temperature but slowly creeping up. It will be close to normal (85 degrees) for several days near the middle of the week but then it should cool again for the next weekend. The hummingbirds and orioles are still in high gear. I am still waiting for the Rufus hummers to show up.This may be the last month for the orioles here before they head back to Arizona and Mexico. Plenty of bees still, I suppose it is good that the local colonies have not crashed as is the case elsewhere. Speaking of bees and possible repellent schemes, I tried a hearsay technique which at first glance seems a total bust. Dryer sheets are supposed to keep bees away (what the heck, we had some collecting dust).
I will let you decide the effectiveness, but I see lots of bees! (They are all alive and buzzing, believe me!) Maybe the desire for grape jelly out weighs the repelling effect.

Here is a shot of a couple male blackchinned hummers at the top feeder (you'll have to take my word on it for the one with wings up) and a couple female (who knows which kind) hummers at the lower feeder.

To get a little off topic, a few weeks ago a fresh batch? of baby lizards hatched and have been running around the back yard. They are a bit hard to see since they are about an inch or 2.5 cm long. Here is a photo of a baby western fence lizard catching some morning sun on a garden hose.

As long as I am off topic - here is a photo a something I came cross while volunteering yesterday at the Wild Animal Park - I mean, Safari Park, as it is now officially called. Anyway, the visitors are warned to stay on the paths and be wary, although a sighting is rare. This was up in the native gardens (NativeScapes on your Park map and an excellent hike for those with the extra time), which is up past the Condor Ridge exhibit if you are familiar with the Park, not near the main section of the Park where most visitors explore. This guy was about 4 feet long.
He was just cruzin' along slowly and not in a bad mood as he went into some thick bushes not to be seen again. The Park security will catch and relocate these guys to the way-back acreage when they can, this one  avoided that for now. He is a red diamondback and has a  distinctive black and white ringing at the base of the tail near the rattles.