Sunday, June 6, 2010


Perhaps the discovery of a dinosaur led to stories of dragons. And a twisted narwhale tusk may have been evidence of unicorns. The glimpse of a manatee gliding under a boat could turn into stories of mermaids. So it wouldn’t take much to go from being buzzed by a hummingbird or to see a couple of them flit through the trees to generate tales of fairies and sprites.

But even seeing hummingbirds up close doesn’t take away the magic for me. When I was a youngster a tiny dusty-green female we named Fanny would perch on my finger and sip sugar water from a lid I held in my hand.  Her toes were as delicate as earring wire. Her eyes were like jewels.  She was probably a Black Chinned Hummingbird.

Male Black Chinned Hummingbird

There was a little motel on Grand Lake in Colorado where a row of hummingbird feeders hung on the sunny side of the guest house. I stood with my camera among a swarm of brilliant hummers who were so intent on feeding and defending their right to do so that I was just an obstacle in their way. But I caught nothing on film that morning but blurs and shadows.

We visited our daughter a few days ago.  She has a hummingbird feeder hanging on her porch.

This time I had a digital camera to do most of the thinking and an auto focus lens.

Still I was shooting shadows. Fortunately the hummers kept returning to the feeder.

So I increased the ASA and shutter speed and tightened down the aperture until I was finally seeing a bit of success.

In the moments they landed on the feeder it was not too difficult to get a few adequate pictures.

But they would appear out of nowhere and the fleeting seconds they’d hang in the air before zooming off made the hover-shot a real challenge.

When I finally did stop that action in my camera---again it didn’t take away from the wonder. It only increased it.


Runningspider said...

The first time I was buzzed by one of those I thought it was a HUGE bee! Hummers are wonderous, maybe reminding us a little of ourselves, humming around quickly, trying to get it all done, so fast that sometimes we are hard to capture! But when the kid needs a hug... well, my humming is over and I settle into my "duck" pace!

Krista said...

So beautiful! When I lived in Oz we had the most beautiful birds that we could just look out the window to see. Finches, Cockatoos, Rosellas, King Parrots, Galahs, Kookaburras. You need to make it out there and treat yourself to the most beautiful birds in the world. That's one of the first things I missed when I moved here was the sounds of the wild birds almost constantsly chirping, laughing, beeping, whipping. They have a bird called a Bell Bird that makes a sound like a dong of a bell. You would love it!

Deborah said...

Thank you for sharing this moment. The pictures are beautiful. I appreciate your affinity for nature. "For the Beauty of the Earth" came into my head when I read your post.

Linda Sue said...

What are you saying- Dragons and unicorns aren't REAL? I don't believe it...I will find some and show you...
Your camera is splendid! Your timing is either a happy accident or you are magic. Maybe some of both?
We may be getting a floor next week- it has been 9 months....

Anonymous said...

I think hummingbirds are such show stoppers
or anything stoppers
you just have to stop and delight in them!
Yes, do get back to painting the Grand Tetons!

Kilauea Poetry said... this was your pet (Fanny)? How did you aquire her? I can image if I had digital back then and though I've always enjoyed photography- my subjects might of been different...just five or ten years back may be another story? We don't have hummingbirds over here..just a moth we refer to as one. I think they/these are fabulous..and how fortunete to have these beautiful little creatures flitting about! They hold a bit of mistique for me maybe in the way seahorses always have. Have a great day, Regina-

Leenie said...

Regina: The feeding of a "pet" hummingbird happened a very long time ago when I was a kid on the farm. A drought dried up all flowing water so this little bird made our place her oasis. Since there were few flowers we fed her by hand until she disappeared.

Anonymous said...

These are fabulous photos - we don't have humming birds here, so I am vey envious!!

fifi said...


I just came by to say thank you for your comment and the bit about hot flushes a "long way from now" made me laugh....

but oh my my,
A real one.

But what is that the bird is drinking? it looks like red cordial!
Those photos are TRULY astonishing!
especially the last one, really wonderful.

fifi said...

ah, but wait! One more moment till bed...

we have just had four weeks of rain, just for the record, which is unheard of.

I read that comment below re the australian birds: maybe you SHOULD come. To see the birds!

ah, sugar. Is that wht hummingbirds like? Sugar? Australian birds cannot eat sugar.

Curious....and sweet. Little butterfly birds...

hanna-happenings said...

this is amazing!