August in this part of North Carolina is known for being exceedingly hot and excessively humid. But until this week, I didn’t know this sultry month was such a hotbed of avian activity.
I put hummingbird feeders out in March after social media posts declared they were on the way. Shortly after, a male showed up and claimed his territory. We’ve seen a few, here and there, all summer, and I’ve tried to keep the feeders clean and stocked with sugar water.
But this week — holy cow. The in-flight fights that have commenced! Around the flowering pear tree, in front of the porch, ON the porch — in a few instances, a few feet from my face. Migration is coming, and these hungry birds know it.
I now hear them chattering around the front yard before I see them, but see them I do. I wish I were a good enough photographer to capture some of that posturing and scolding, but usually I do well to snap a passable photo of just one of these fast fliers.
I’ve seen at least one adult male, but have not been able to get a good photo. He prefers the feeder that’s closest to the porch roof.
These tiny ruby-throated hummingbirds won’t be here for much longer. They start migrating south in September. Until then, I plan to enjoy them, chatter and all.
My husband and I don’t get to hike much any more, but recently took advantage of some pleasant weather to explore near the Falls Lake dam. I took my camera “just in case.”
Usually, if I need it, I don’t have it, and if I have it, I don’t see many good photo ops. But on this particular day, as we walked down the trail near the dam, Bill spied a large water bird in a tree across the Neuse River. I tried to focus, but the bird was too far away to get a very good shot. Still, it was thrilling to zoom in on my camera and discover the bird was a great blue heron, as they tend to be shy birds and not easily seen.
We kept walking, and I was again grateful for his sharp eyesight as he spied several more birds fishing in the water. I couldn’t get a good shot, so we continued to follow the river. Shortly after, he saw another heron. I zoomed in and took a few shots before walking across the rounded, worn rocks to try for a better photo. Just as I got to the edge and regained my balance, the bird took off.
It was a great morning, and a good reminder to always try to bring along my camera.
I was making monthly visits to see my mother last year when I noticed that one of her bluebird boxes was occupied. She was in and out of hospitals for a while, and I was in and out of state. But I managed few peeks at them now and then.
Dad or a sibling seemed always to be on the lookout. Whether they were looking for danger, or searching for bugs, I wasn’t sure. But they usually saw me and my camera, and weren’t afraid to let me know it.
Aside from all the people watching the bluebird family engaged in, they were just as busy catching bugs. Crawling bugs, flying bugs – I’m not sure how they found them all.
I wanted to see the fledglings, but I had to leave, and when I got back a week later, the family had moved on.
I did manage a tiny glimpse at one of them, though.
Mom has loved flowers for as long as I can remember.
Every spring when we were young, she would take us to little flower shops up the road from the hill we lived on. We would pass by rows and rows of blooming plants, inhaling the rich scent of flowers and dark brown soil. After we brought her favorites to the house, she would dig some holes in some of her existing flowerbeds and introduce each plant to its new home, where it would thrive.
After we grew up and left, Mom’s love affair with flowers continued. She and Dad put up a chain-link fence, and she planted bushes of hibiscus all down one side. There were more flowers surrounding Dad’s free-standing shop, and her front flowerbed was always full. Last spring and summer, after giving the plot a good weeding, I camped out near the flowerbed and took pictures of hummingbirds, who were drawn to the sugar-water feeders we hung.
We brought Mom to live with us in North Carolina last August (under protest, she will tell you). But before we left, I took pictures of some of the flowers she had to leave. This way, she can always remember what they looked like.