Little Pilgrim

but how will you know
where the sweet flowers grow
my little pilgrim

Hummer.GeorgeB2
       GeorgeB2 – Pixabay

August 24th and the female hummingbirds are still here, definitely three, maybe even four. They’re making frequent trips to feeders, tanking up — if peewees like this can tank up.  I think of the long journey ahead of them and wonder where all they will stop en route. Have they travelled this route before? Do they know where to find the best rest stops, flower beds and feeders on their route? Will they return to our yard next June?

Here on the Saskatchewan plains the grain fields have been turning golden blond in the warm sunshine these past few weeks. I imagine some farmers would be out swathing today if the weather looked promising, but we’ve just had a day of rain and a few sprinkles this morning. Weather the farmers don’t want to see while their precious heads of grain are still in the fields.

 

Skirmishes

On these cool-ish mornings I watch from my doorway as the hummers come to the two feeders I’ve set up. There appear to be about four juvies, though who can count such fast-moving flight artists.

I don’t know why they make hummingbird feeders with more than three holes. Perhaps in the land where they were designed, hummers know how to peacefully co-exist, but in our yard they behave much like humans. One feeder, one bird. If any other shows up, he or she is immediately urged to leave. Sometimes a few siblings can drink at the same feeder for a time, but mainly it seems to be, “This is mine. You beat it!”

Last summer I decided to hang a second feeder about a metre over and a metre lower than the main one. Occasionally I will see a bird at each, but more often the bird at the upper feeder will drive away the one wanting to light on the lower feeder. Sigh…

one hummingbird two feeders eight options zero tolerance

A few times this morning an oriole has come to the feeder to get his breakfast, so the syrup has gone down fast. I’m serving up a richer brew these days: 1 part sugar; 3 parts water. I’ve read they need more calories during migration — and that time will be coming soon. Though they be feisty little things, I hate to see them go.

I have a number of tubs of flowers on the step underneath the feeders, and planted two of them with red nicotiana this spring, thinking they’d appeal to hummers. As I observe, the hummers pretty much ignore the nicotiana blooms and seem to love my salvia and reddish-orange lantana blossoms. Duly noted for next spring. 🙂

Free Food Always Draws A Crowd

Fandango’s word prompt : TREAT
Word of the Day prompt: BLOSSOM

What goes around comes around they say. If you treat something well, you’re generally treated to some interesting reactions. Around here we treat the hummingbirds well and they in turn treat us to amusing aerial displays.

I was treated to one at 6am this morning. I looked out our hall window to see if the three little hummers we’ve seen buzzing around were at the feeder. And I saw…wait a minute! There are four…no five!…buzzing around the feeder, getting in each other’s hair. Non-stop motion.

Have you ever tried counting hummingbirds while they’re darting up, down, and sideways trying to chase each other away from the food dish? I did manage to count six…and later I thought I saw a seventh hovering around. I did see four feeding at one time, but in a minute one would decide the place was too crowded and someone else had to leave. Right now. I can’t imagine how many calories they burned up just fussing at each other.

Their wings stirred up the air so much they ruffled the petals on the nearby hanging planter. A basket of petunias and some other smaller flowers hangs only about a metre away from the feeder and hummers harvest nectar from those blossoms, too. I try to choose flowers they’ll like but today’s hybrids don’t seem as juice-full as flowers used to be.

Unfortunately our feeder attracts wasps, too. They don’t get active until the sky is lighter but there seems to be one wasp that thinks this is HIS dinner plate and he’ll chase the hummingbirds away. He can’t be on both sides of the feeder at once, though, so the hummers will grab slurps from the other side while the wasp is nosing into the hole, trying to get his own swig.

I’m so thankful our air quality has improved overnight. For the last several days we’re had a smoky haze from fires in northern Alberta and BC; yesterday it was like a gray fog hanging over the land in spite of the high wind. The smell of smoke smell permeated everything; I even smelled it while sitting here in our office.

This morning another treat for me was turning on the computer and going through the collection of incoming e-mails from WordPress. I enjoyed reading new posts from other bloggers as well as comments on my posts. I wish I had more time to post the thoughts that pop into my head as I read, and to follow more faithfully, but there never seems to be time and I have priorities I must observe. Chronic problems for all of us! Plus, I sometimes get to following one track. Speaking of which…

I see Tree Top Haiku has another follower — and I am going to start posting there again. I have so many little verses scribbled on scraps here and there. I’ve considered just posting them all on this blog, but how many of my readers would like that? My husband once told me that haiku is in a class all its own and I definitely agreed, so I started Tree Top Haiku. Now I’d best end this chronic indecision and stick to that plan. 🙂

Once you start seeing and thinking in haiku, you see so many wherever you look. I even came up with one as I watched my hummingbirds. I’ve made it into a challenge: two lines are provided and you can suggest an ending if you like. If you’re interested, CLICK HERE.

On Wednesday we went to Saskatoon to do some shopping and I bought a second-hand Toshiba Tecra laptop. Bob is enthused about the speed (3 GHz) and has been checking out its capabilities (loaded with Windows 10.) I want to try doing some, too, but I was occupied with cooking some meals at the Villa (seniors’ residence) last week. No shifts this week, so I can try it out, too. It will be a treat to sit in the recliner and read my incoming e-mails. 🙂

Hope you’re all having a good weekend and enjoying this last month of summer.

Rainstorm Passes Through

I  think this will fit with Fandango’s writing prompt this morning, which is COMMOTION.

Dark clouds and lightening on western horizon when we went to bed last night; the storm system crept closer in the wee hours. By 4 am the thunder was booming over our heads, plus the sound of pouring rain. After weeks of almost nothing we received almost an inch on Tuesday night and I’m sure our rain gauge will show as much again this morning. (We may be almost all metric here in Canada, but folks hereabouts still measure rain in inches — though Environment Canada gives stats in millimetres.)

I couldn’t sleep through all the noise so I got up around 4:30 am and humored the cats with a snack. Then I then checked my incoming g-mail. Passed by the hallway window at 5:20 am; in the faint light of dawn I noticed a young hummingbird at the feeder. The early bird gets the juice and all that. Twenty minutes later I saw two of the three juveniles we often see zipping around, both trying to get a share of the banquet.

We have the feeder hung about three meters from the hallway window so we can observe them. Trouble is, they’re at the feeder so often these days we can hardly go down our hallway without scaring one or the other away. Also, I’m convinced as I watch them interacting that these young squirts burn most of their calories keeping each other away from the syrup.
Hummingbird
They’re curious little creatures, too. One morning I was standing out on the steps at the front door and a hummer whizzed up to about a metre away and just hovered there a couple of moments examining me. Bird watching, reverse version.