It’s the first of the month! Happy April! Poets choose their own words!
I visited the nursery this morning to get new flowers. I brought a list with plants that attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
The bees have been working hard to pollinate the plum and orange blossoms. The apple trees just budded. I want to have different flowers to attract the bees to stay around. Besides the fruit tree blossoms, I’ll plant sunflowers for the bees.
For the hummingbirds, there are two feeders, one in the front yard and one in the back. Yet I wanted to get flowers with nectar enjoyed by the hummingbirds. I only have Salvia flowers they like. So, I’ll make hanging baskets with petunia and hang them by the bird feeders.
There were Monarch and Mourning Cloak butterflies flying by my garden, but they visited the flowers in my next-door neighbor. I would like to have flowers attract them to stay longer. For the butterflies, I bought marigold and delphinium. I’ll get milkweed on my next trip.
I came to Portland, Oregon in the US as a graduate student some forty years ago. It was November that year when I saw snow for the first time through a high ceiling window in the hallway of a meeting room. I jumped up and down and shouted, “It’s snowing. It’s snowing.” The local students walked by me and grinned. They might think, “What’s so exciting about snow? Silly.”
A month later during the winter break, I went with a group of students to Los Angeles and sat in the sun on Christmas day.
After graduated with my first master’s degree, I went to Seattle Pacific University to do my second master’s degree. That winter, Seattle welcomed me with 7 inches of snow. I was so excited and made a snowman with my leather gloves on my hands. Nobody told me that the leather would turn hard and stiff when it gets wet. I ruined the nice leather gloves.
I don’t do too well in cold weather, the weather in southern California seemed to agree with me and that is where I have stayed since finishing my study in Seattle.
My daughter is living in Portland, Oregon. She knows I love snow even though my body feels better in a warmer place. There was a heavy snow two years ago. The first thing she did was taking photos and sent them to me.
As far as southern California, it feels like summer is the longest season year round with a teasing winter and hair line period of autumn and short and sweet spring. The weather has been moderate besides the thunderstorm a couple weeks ago. I took photos of my garden today and have some beautiful flowers to share with you. Before I do that, just want to show you my baby hummingbird.
The baby hummingbird is eight months old. He is doing well and flying further away from the kitchen window. I know that the baby is not able to fly 900 miles straight to Mexico for winter, but I wasn’t sure if the parents were going. It’s December and the parents are still around. It seems like the family will stay for winter.
For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Amy chose ”Small Is Beautiful” for the theme.
I have some wonderful small creatures in my garden. They are all beautiful and keep my life cheerful year round.
I was surprised by the visit of this beauty. This is Mourning Cloak butterfly by its Common name. The scientific name is Nymphalis antiopa. A very distinctive and charismatic butterfly, best known for its conspicuous activity in late winter, flying and acting territorial before any trees have leafed out or any wildflowers are active.
This Tanka is about my baby hummingbird which was born in my backyard in June 2018. I took photos of five days before he started flying. Here are the first post and the second post about the baby hummingbird.
During our trip to Portland, Oregon this year to spend Mother’s Day weekend with my daughter Mercy, Will and baby Autumn, Mercy took us to Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. There is a green patch by the lake for the Canada Geese to raise their young. The goslings still have the soft and fluffy feathers. The fallen seeds provide a fest for the geese and their goslings.
The Laguna Lake by our house is home to different ducks, geese, and birds. These seven newborn ducklings with feathers as soft as hair swam closely to mama duck and other ducklings together.
The first baby hummingbird in my garden took his first flight in the first photo. He has a white spot of the soft feather at the bottom. He is now six weeks old and his wings are not strong to fly too far yet. There are three of his favorite spots where he perches on most of the time. Every twenty minutes, papa swoops around to give him an airlift for a ride around my house. He then comes back to perch on the needle of the Date Palms or a small branch of the potted fica tree. I have fun watching him every day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.