The Circle of Life

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Here’s the post I promised on Monday here that I would be sharing this week about a birding surprise.

After sunrise, and a little birding last Saturday Gordon, myself, and another friend went to breakfast then we headed over to another part of Don Edward’s Wildlife Refuge to check out the Anna’s Hummingbird on her nest.

I had heard from a good friend that she had had her brood of two. There were indeed two chicks in the nest, and their eyes were open!

They waited for Mama to return to the nest with food! They were so quiet. I thought they would be peeping constantly, but they didn’t.  They look too big for the nest already don’t they.  Mom must sleep on top of the nest with them smooched down into the nest to keep them warm at night.

This nest isn’t deep in the canopy either! It’s pretty exposed.

Anna's Hummingbird Chicks eyes open

When the chicks are new their Mom will leave the nest for very short periods of time. Just a minute up to 15 minutes to find food. The chicks can’t keep warm without her so she doesn’t dare leave them alone long. Once they can regulate their own temperatures and keep warm she leaves the nest to forage for food for up to 20 minutes.  This Mom would leave for 15-20 minutes, but return to do buzz or hover check several times too.

Here is the Female/Mom just returning from a food sortie.

Anna's Hummingbird Female Returns to her Brood

Two little beaks hungry and not patient anymore.

Anna's Hummingbird with Hungry Chicks

Food at last!

She eats insects and drinks nectar which she regurgitates as a liquid mixture into the open mouths of the chicks.  She’s on the go constantly hunting for food and feeding the chicks every 20 minutes! The male doesn’t help at all feeding or raising the chicks. If the male does come around the Female will chase him away b/c she finds him a threat to the chicks.

Anna's Hummingbird Feeding her Chicks

These chicks are already a couple of weeks old. At 3 weeks old they will look more like Hummingbirds, and will be testing out their wings more to get ready for flight.  Once they’re flying the Female will show them how to catch bugs, and drink nectar, and within a few days of that the chicks will fly away as adults never to return to the nest.

I can’t tell you how amazing this was to watch and photograph! It was gift!  It’s so moving, and beautiful watching her feed the chicks and knowing how dedicated she is, and how tired she must be. These images were made on March 18, 2017

I dropped by Thursday afternoon (3/23) to see them. They were still in the nest with Mama feeding them every 20 minutes. There was quite a crowd there, and I had #1 Grandson with me. He got a kick out seeing the chicks too. I didn’t break out my camera today. I was holding #1 in my arms so he could see them, but I’m hoping I can get back over once more before they fly from the nest which may be as early as a week and a half away.

For more information about Hummingbird chicks you can visit http://www.worldofhummingbirds.com/baby.php

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 2017

Have a wonderful week-end everyone!

More to come…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Draw-a-Bird Day Anna’s Hummingbird

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

How neat that Draw-a-Bird Day falls on Mother’s Day in the US this month. I hope all Mothers everywhere have a wonderful day!

For this month’s Draw-a-Bird Day I painted an Anna’s Hummingbird.

Watercolor- Anna's Hummingbird

Not without much trial and error though. This is my 4th attempt. The first 3 have been shredded.  I couldn’t get the proportion right; it was too short, too fat, too long, or too thin.

After talking to Myriam  about my trials with it she asked me if I had used a ruler or my grid? I hadn’t.  On this last try I used the ole pencil ruler trick and got a lot closer to what I wanted in terms of size and proportion.  Thank you Myriam!

I’ve been following watercolor artist Alan Owen on Youtube for quite awhile, and he always adds a matte board frame to his piece on completion, and the work that looked great before the matte frame looks more like art with it. I tucked that thought away to get some matte boards.  Lately fellow blogger Jodi over at lifeinbetween.me  has been adding a matte board frame to the work she shares and it just looks terrific. I went over  to the art store early this week and finally bought a few to see how my bird watercolor pieces look.  I like the way it looks. It dresses it up. 🙂  He-Man said I need to get frames now and hang them. We’ll see.

My muse for this Anna’s Hummingbird is an image I made in March this year.

Anna's Hummingbird Female perched on a branch

Myriam thought it would make a wonderful subject for a drawing or painting. I think so too.

This is part of Draw-a-Bird Day over at Laura’s Createartevery.com . To see all the bird art posted today click here.  Scroll down to the comments to see the links to all the posts shared this month. 

To read the original story of how Draw-a-Bird Day got started click here

Images- Nikon Df| Delkin Digital Film| Nikkor 105mm & 200-500mm lenses| PS CC 2015

More to come…

Anna’s Hummingbird-Female

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I went over to Santa Cruz on Saturday while we had a break between rain showers to photograph Allen’s, and Anna’s Hummingbirds. It was a lovely day in the Arboretum.

There were very few people there since the weather wasn’t ideal.  While I was waiting for a male Allen’s Hummingbird to return to a favored perch I looked behind me and saw a lovely female Anna’s darting around the Ericaceae plants which is a succulent plant.

Here’s a series of 3 images that shows her approach to the plant, feeding, then resting on a perch.

Anna's Hummingbird Female Approaching flowers

Anna's Hummingbird Female Feeding

Anna's Hummingbird Female perched on a branch

I love the fresh Spring color palette in this series, and this pretty little Hummingbird.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm VR| Tripod w/ Wimberley SideKick| Lexar Professional Digial Film| PS CC 2015

More to come…

 

Anna’s Hummingbird-Female

Copyright © 2016 Deborah M. Zajac
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I hired the Nikon AF-S 200-500mm 1:5.6E ED VR lens to try out for the week-end since my old 300mm f4 AF-S ED lens is acting weird, and I’ve always wanted more reach.

I spent all day Saturday out birding using the lens, and several hours on Sunday before having to return it. I hated to part with it! I LIKE IT A LOT!

 

Anna's Hummingbird

I used it on my Nikon D300s and found the lens very quick to focus with very little hunting even in low contrast areas, and the images have lovely colors, and contrast. The VR was quite snappy and worked very well on the few images I shot hand-held. I won’t be doing that often.

The lens weighs 4.6 pounds so,  I used this lens on a tripod with my Wimberley  Arca Sidekick Ball to Gimbal Adapter, and let my rig carry the weight, or I shot from the car window using the door frame as my base on the auto-route parts of the refuges I visited.

This little Anna’s Hummingbird feeding on this succulent plant is an image I made this morning. The sky was overcast and gray, and she was in the shade.
Camera Settings: 1/320s| ISO 1000| Manual Priority| Matrix Metering| Single AF

A challenging situation that I think came out well. So, I guess you know I want this lens!

I shot just under 1000 images this week-end and have begun culling them. I’ll be sharing more images as I go through them.

More to come…

P52: 22/52 Anna’s Hummingbird-Female

Copyright ©2015 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

P52 22 of 52  Anna's Hummingbird- Female

Nikon D300s| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4 @ f/8| ISO 800| Hoodman STEEL Digital Film| Hand-held

More to come…

If I had a Song…

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

I’d sing it in the morning!

Song Sparrow Singing its Morning SongLast Saturday morning I spent a lovely morning out birding with friends Dali, and Rainey. The weather was great, cool,  with a blue sky with a few big, puffy white clouds for just the right amount of diffusion, and not too many intruding city-life sounds.

We went out with the hopes of finding Stilts, and Avocets with chicks or on nests, but we found few Stilts, and only saw two or three Avocets. Overall there were very few shorebirds at all in either of the places we birded yesterday.

We did see quite a few other birds so the morning wasn’t a total bust. Here are some of the images I took Saturday morning.

Black-necked Stilts

Black-necked StiltsMallard and chick. This was the only chick we saw with her sadly. Actually it was the only chick we saw all morning.

Mallard Female and ChickA Mockingbird imitating several birds. I like this pose and setting.

MockingbirdThe Cliff Swallows were very busy making sorties to and from their nests.

Cliff SwallowHummingbirds are very entertaining and didn’t disappoint this morning either. I saw a territorial spat, but with my 300mm lens wasn’t able to get both birds in the frame. Here’s the offended Hummingbird who thought he had territorial rights to the whole tree.

Hummingbird …after a little of this posturing this Hummer decided he wasn’t having another Hummingbird on the tree, so he went on the attack. I didn’t get them both in the frame, but here’s the intruding Hummer on the defense. They squabbled a bit then they both flew away, and neither returned for sometime, so we moved on.

Hummingbird Wings UpThe Bumble bees were busy with the only blooms I could see.

Bumble Bee

…and there were other kinds of birds practicing their landing skills at a nearby airport.

Another kind of Bird-Cessna 180Another little Anna’s Hummingbird posed for me.

Annas HummingbirdThe most colorful bird of the morning was the Ring-necked Pheasant.

Ring-necked PhesantSaturday morning was also a great opportunity to really give my 300mm f4 lens a workout. I hadn’t really since getting it back from Nikon. I’m so happy to report it works really well. It is quieter than before the fix, and AF (auto-focus) seems quite snappy, and responsive even with my 1.4x Teleconverter on it.

It was a good morning despite there being only few shorebirds.

Nikon D300s| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f4| Hand-held

P52 19/52 Anna’s Hummingbird in her Nest

Copyright © 2014 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Anna's Hummingbird in her Nest
This morning I met my friend Dali at a nearby coffee shop then we went up to Los Altos Hills, CA  to meet with other birders, and photographers to learn about Bird calls and sounds. Garth Harwood from the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society was the Guide for our group.

We arrived early so, with time on our hands we looked around for birds on our own.

I spied a Hummingbird flying around a nearby tree so I went to investigate.  I was watching her through my lens flit around this bushy tree then just like that I lost her. I kept looking and looking around the tree then I found her in her nest! What treat this was.

If I hadn’t been looking so intently I don’t think I would have spotted her at all. Look how well she blends in. In fact when I first spotted her she had her head pulled in a bit more under the branch. I’m glad she peeked out a little bit allowing me to get this image.

Dali and I stayed only an hour. The group was large keeping the birds in the foliage, and foliage was abundant. I suggested we go to the park  where I’d seen the Lazuli Bunting on Thursday. Dali hadn’t seen one yet, and I won’t tire of seeing them anytime soon.

More to come!

Nikon D300s| AF-S Nikkor 300mm f4@ f8| 1/200s| ISO 640| Manual Priority| Matrix Met| Tripod

Hidden Villa, Los Altos Hills, CA, USA