Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Chuparosa Challenge-A Crowning Achievement

During the last challenges, I spoke about idenityfing female hummingbirds and before that I wrote about the Magnificent hummer.  So, I thought I'd recap with closer Magnificent hummer shots that I was able to snap off at Ramsey Canyon.  Again, I was on the hunt to find a new hummer to add to my hummingbird list in North America. 
Magnificent Hummer
The Magnificent Hummer is everyone's favorite.  It's larger and much more colorful than the rest of the crew.  Well that's not true.  They all are pretty cool birds but this one strikes a chord with the birder audience.  If you head to the canyon areas this time of year, your chances for spotting this colorful number is pretty good.  So let me tell you about my experience for the day and introduce you to a new member that I can check off my list.  It sounds so cold.  Let me restate.  This is for my photo journal and one that I hope to see more of during the monsoon season:)
I really take all of our birds here for granted.  When I travel to other areas, I am expecting to see these little guys flying around all over.  And I miss their sounds. Cheep  cheep and VROOOM! past your head.  One of the things you may or may not like about birding are of course the people.  Some just go to look at birds and chat.  Some just want you to shut up and watch the birds.  I'm one of those who can do both.  The nice thing with hummingbird observation is that they'll come and feed while you're chatting.  The issue?  You may not be paying attention to capture them before they zoom off.  And this was my own personal challenge for the day.  So are you ready???  Here is our new member to add to our hummingbird family......The Violet-crowned Hummingbird!!!
This beauty is a rare find.  It reminds me of a dolphin with wings because of the very white gorget/frontal area.  It's also one of the easiest to identify of the species in both the male and female form.  Some of you may be surprised but I've actually seen this hummer here in midtown Tucson at our El Presidio gardens!!  Of course they were here only for the monsoon season in July and August.  It was unusual to see them and I remember them because of their white white front.  It wasn't our typical Anna, Costa's, or Black Chinned sightings. So I began to research and was introduced to this species several years ago when this blog first began. 
This particular hummer is really cool at hovering.  Thankfully I was able to spot him during my conversation with an Indiana woman.  She was so excited to see so many wonderful hummers and all of them were new for her.  So we spoke and I helped her identify them as they came to the feeders.  It was sad really because she only had so much time and had just discovered Ramsey Canyon.  Her husband was the Downer Debbie as he dragged her off to church.  He sat there bored out of his mind and reminded her that she had ten minutes left.  She had asked a question which was something like, "Can we come back here again?" No. "Is there any way?"  No.  Okay now.....church vs hummingbird viewing?  That's a no brainer for me.  Hummingbirds all the way!  If you believe, isn't God all around us? So aren't you kinda in church anyway?  Just saying.  Well he dragged her off and I felt bad for her.  I have a suspicion that if he hadn't been around, she would have played hooky with us.  Maybe he saw me as the Devil.  Speaking of the Devil, I am still searching for that elusive Lucifer!!!!!
The one thing that the lady from Indiana said as she watched the hummer show was how much diversity there was around the feeders here.  And then she said the line that many say from outside of Arizona. You know the one:) "All we have there are those Ruby Throated Hummingbirds."  And I replied, "At least you have those hummers in your area.  We don't have them here:)" I'll speak more about this in the upcoming weeks.  The Ruby Throated Hummer was not as easy a find as I thought when we were home in Wisconsin.  They have certain requirements:) But more on that later...
I continue shooting the hummers as they go to the feeders because I never know who will show up.  There was a report of the Plain Capped Starthroat in the area and at first, I thought I may have captured this hummer as well, but alas.....no.  I am conflicted.  There is a place where I know I'll find the bird but the owners are unusual and crazy and they use language I don't approve.  I will break down and try the place out though just to give you my perspective.  If I don't come back alive, you'll know why:)  Okay but back to this pic above.  If you look at the throat, you notice a patch of pink....or something.
Turns out this is a Female Anna's hummer.  On the next Chuparosa challenge, I'll speak about feeders, disagreeing with my mother:), and other interesting things.  My final post on Ramsey Canyon will be tomorrow.  I hope you enjoy it as it was the real gem of our visit.  And like always, more tomorrow.....

24 comments:

  1. Wonderful photos Chris. It must be so lovely to have such close views of these beautiful little birds in the wild. Felt so sorry for the lady from Indiana.

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    1. I felt pretty bad as well. She was very nice. But I think it's a common problem with birders. We have loved ones who endure:)

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  2. LOVELY photos! I envy the number of hummingbird you see there. We have only one variety...the ruby-throated.

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  3. What a beautiful hummer, your photos are lovely. The hummers move so quickly, it is hard for me to capture one moving. I agree with you, my church can be anywhere I am. Especially in the woods or birdwatching. Thanks for iding the female hummingbirds. I wish a happy Sunday, stay cool.

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  4. Love these shots! Ironic but the ruby-throated is the only variety we have here in my area. I managed to get a couple of decent shots of two this a.m. I think. We'll see.

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  5. They are all so beautiful Chris. How sad the husband couldn't recognise that there was more of God among those lovely natural things than in any manmade building.

    How I would love to see just one Hummingbird!

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    1. I know!!! But it wasn't my place to add my cents....even though I wanted to:) Oh well, what can a birder do?:)

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  6. I adore my Ruby Throated hummers. :) I'm thrilled to come here to see so many other varieites. They are all so beautiful!

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  7. That one with the red beak is so beautiful. I don't know if we have hummingbirds, the nearest to that i see in our property are sunbirds, but beaks not as long.

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    1. You know...I've heard so much about the sunbirds. I look them up and they are similiar but a little different. This sounds like another interesting group of birds. We don't have them here in Tucson. Of course, another birder may chime in and say that they've been spotted here in Arizona:) I'd love to see one though one day. They sound quite beautiful.

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  8. Beautiful hummingbirds! The colour of the Magnificent Hummer is truly stunning

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  9. Lovely captures! Wish we had hummingbirds here too.

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  10. Hummers would win over church, hands down. Nice shots.

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  11. Awesome Chris! Magnificent Hummingbird...that'd be a great one to see. Looks like you're on top of your chuparosa challenge. I was hoping to visit For Huachuca and its canyons soon, but it's closed indefinitely now due to the fires. Good thing you got in while you did!

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    1. Laurence! I think the canyons are back open. They opened up several days ago. Call to find out, but I do think they are back open. I went last week and had a blast hiking. Ramsey and Miller canyon were open when we went. If you go, I can't wait to see what you'll capture on the camera! Have fun!

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  12. You are getting the best photos of the hummers. Love the lavender one. Amazing to me the variety.
    My local birding expert friend says we should put out the feeders even if we think all we get here right now are wasps. Gotta be ready if one checks out the garden.

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  13. Great hummingbird shots. The first one is such beautiful colours. I love to watch hummers at our feeders they are such acrobats too as they chase each other around.

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    1. They are so funny. Very territorial birds indeed. It's a treat to have them in our gardens:)

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  14. Most of the ones we had in our backyard were Anna colibris. Lovely.

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  15. I bet the lady thought you were a godsend because you were nice enough to chat with her and help her identify the hummers. I can't wait for the day you finally see the Lucifer. That will be fun for all of us!

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    1. I've been looking:) Another one was reported in the area. But funding is short right now for me to take off and search:) So I ended up cleaning my house and throwing out about 5 pounds of cat fur!!! Blogging is fun and a great excuse to get out of the house.....but it's also bad:) I've had to schedule it up a bit so it doesn't interfere with my life...the job, the spouse, the house, etc etc etc.:) I think when I find the Lucifer, I'll %^$# myself:) Maybe it's time for adult diapers:)

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  16. I need to go to one of these in our area and see what I can find. There are places farther up north where I've seen what I thought was a Rufous. Is that the one that is almost copper colored?

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  17. Yep!!!! The Rufous is the copper one:) It will be coming through our state in numbers this and next month!! I'm on the hunt for it:) It's really fun to do. And the people are fun to chat with....that kind of birding is a little different than the rest....it's a nice way to end a walk. You should do it!!! That would be fun:) Hope you had a good day. And also hope you get some rain tomorrow!

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  18. love the bee waiting for his turn at the feeder...
    GREAT hummingbird shots...wow! beautiful iridescent colors!!

    and that beak...looks much looooonger than the 'usual' hummer!

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