Saturday, May 20, 2017

Black-chinned Hummingbirds

We had a late-May snow storm, here in Boulder, that began Wednesday night and lasted until late Thursday night.  It began with rain and pea-sized hail, then turned to rain.  At 6 in the morning, the precipitation turned into large fluffy snowflakes, but within an hour it was sleet.  Our temperature throughout the day never rose above 31 degrees (F), and the clouds dropped a continuous fall of snow, sleet and rain.  We ended up with a little over five inches of snow; Ward had 38 inches, and Nederland had 28 inches.
   With the three bird feeders filled in the tree below us, and the small free-standing feeder we have on the balcony (besides the water bowl), we watched our feathered friends, along with the squirrels happily munch away all day.  The usual visitors to our balcony are sparrows and finches - and we have pieces of sunflower seeds in their feeder.  (The thistle feeder, and the nuts, berries and seed mixtures are used in the tree hanging feeders.)  Also on the outer corners of the balcony are two solar-powered glass sculptures.  A blue, green and clear glass owl (Wendell) is on the north side, and, in front of my desk window is Penny the penguin.  Her body is blue,head black, face white - and she wears a red winter scarf and Santa hat.
   At 5 p.m. in the midst of the snowstorm, with a temperature of 31 degrees, I was astounded to see a single hummingbird trying to feed from Penny's scarf and hat.  I have always known there are hummingbirds in Colorado - as a matter of fact, there are 11 types that are usually found here in the summer.  I have seen them in the suburbs, in neighborhoods where I house sit, and through open spaces and up in the mountains.  In the two years I have lived in this apartment, I have not seen a hummingbird here.  The hummer returned Friday morning, seeking nectar, again.
   After taking clients to the Denver International Airport yesterday, I stopped and purchased a hummingbird feeder on the way home.  I mixed up the sugar water, and hung the feeder, almost next to my window.  By the time I had walked from the balcony to my bedroom, and sat down at my desk, a hummingbird had appeared and was eating.  I was thrilled!  I kept seeing a single hummingbird all afternoon, and up until 7:30 yesterday evening.
  I was awakened at 5:25 this morning by Nedi, who was in the windowsill and chittering.  The hummingbird spent almost five minutes sipping nectar.  It has made multiple visits since then.  Less than ten minutes ago, a male and female appeared and ate together...  I looked them up in my birder's guide, and found that they are black-chinned hummingbirds.
   Then, too this morning, Beatrice, my room mate, called me into her bedroom, where we could see three deer feeding on the hill behind the apartments.  I took photos, but two had left by the time I returned.  I am now sitting at my desk, awaiting the return of the hummers, so I can "capture" them with my camera....
   And, don't forget - The Preakness Stakes will be run this afternoon at Pimlico Racetrack, outside of Baltimore, Maryland.  Always Dreaming will be following his quest to become a Triple Crown Champion.  There was a heavy rain early this morning on the track, so we will have to see what the footing is like this afternoon/evening...

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