There’s Been A Changing of the Guard….

Almost before the ink could dry on my last post regarding my hummingbird visitors, the adolescent male whom I had posted about was gone and there was a new king on the mountain, so to speak. Seems an adult male has now staked his claim to the feeder and is willing to take on all comers. And when I say the adolescent male was gone, I mean I have not seen him since so the new adult male took over so he must have sent the young man packing for good. In fact, much to my dismay the resident female I posted about I have not seen in sometime now either. With migration time almost upon us I could assume both hummers just decided to go ahead and head south for the winter but of course one cannot really know these things for sure. One thing for sure, the little female I referred to as my ‘resident female’ will be sorely missed. :?

The weather was to my liking yesterday so I went out on the patio and setup for another photo session in the afternoon. Took photos off and on for about four hours but the adult male who is currently king of the castle was the only hummer who showed up to be photographed. Here are a few of the photographs from yesterday….

Dominant Adult Male - Session 2 - 2014 - 01(Click to Enlarge)

 Dominant Adult Male - Session 2 - 2014 - 02(Click to Enlarge)

Dominant Adult Male - Session 2 - 2014 - 03(Click to Enlarge)

Dominant Adult Male - Session 2 - 2014 - 04(Click to Enlarge)

Next week brings on the first week of fall so it will be only some three or four weeks before all my little friends will have headed south. Photos will probably be far and few between from now on but I will have my eyes open for transients traveling south who may opt to stop by for a ‘pick me up’ on their long journey. :)

Out with the Old… In with the new!

Perhaps it’s just me but sometimes we humans can be quite an odd lot. Especially when it comes to some of the choices we make in our day to day lives.

Being “frugal” I would think is an admirable human trait but our individual application of such an act in our daily lives can at times border on the completely ridiculous to the outright hilarious.

Old Ironing Board Cover - Old Grey Boy

(Old Grey Boy – Click to Enlarge)

Such an example has just occurred in my own life recently. Last Thursday, after some 43 years as best I can estimate, my ironing board cover as well as my patience for dealing with such a relic reached its final conclusion. I refused to deal with the aggravation of the old cover any longer and went out and purchased a new one.

Now the old one back in the early 1970’s when I figure I bought it probably cost me around $7 to $10 dollars, perhaps. My new one I just purchased was $19.19. But here is the puzzler in all of this. When it comes to items of considerable expense such as an automobile, for the least little excuse I use to go out and trade my perceived heap of junk which normally was only around three years old and purchase a new one and we are talking thousands of dollars here. Perhaps the car did have a nick or two on it or even a small scratch but had it reached its dismal end? Well of course not!

New Ironing Board Cover - Tropical Splender

(Tropical Splendor – Click to Enlarge)

I consider myself being endowed with a reasonable amount of common sense so why would one hang on to an ironing board cover that is literally falling apart and that would only cost $20 to replace… and yet go out and trade for new cars every few years when the new car smell had barely disappeared from a car which costs thousands of dollars, to say the least?

Obviously I cannot answer my own posed question so I am left within the grasps of a self inflicted conundrum. Referring back to my opening statement where I surmised we were all part of an odd lot was perhaps a bit presumptuous on my part. Perhaps I am the only human among us who would dare to keep an ironing board cover for 43 years and then complain about having to buy a new one! :?

The Adolescent Male…. You da’ Man!!

If you are familiar in the least with hosting a hummingbird feeder then you know that there is pretty much always one hummingbird in the mix of visitors who thinks the feeder is solely theirs and spends the better part of their days running off the other hummingbirds who try to feed. That particular hummingbird is, of course, typically referred to as the dominate hummingbird. Others like myself may refer to such hummingbirds as “little assholes” since they wreak havoc on any plans one might have of taking any meaningful photographs. :)

Unfortunately for me given my photographic aspirations as of late, I have one of the most tenaciously dominant hummers I have ever run across. And what is most surprising about the little critter in that he is an adolescent male less than a year old, probably born this past spring. He not only keeps any potential visitors away from the feeder, he keeps them out of the entire yard. He literally watches the yard from high in the trees and when one encroaches he goes on the attack.

You will note the dark colored spots on the throat of the hummer below which indicates that he is an adolescent male. Males normally tend to be the more aggressive of the species although as I have mentioned in an earlier post, I have a resident female who holds her own against all the males and feeds when she so chooses, despite their strong objections. But back to the featured little pesky male. He will migrate this fall and go through the molt stage during our winter and then next year when he arrives back north in the spring/summer his throat feathers will all be present in all their ruby-colored glory. If in fact he would by chance return to my area and feeder I doubt I would even know it since he will look completely different.

Adolescent Dominant Male - 2014 Season - 05(Click to Enlarge)

Adolescent Dominant Male - 2014 Season - 06(Click to Enlarge)

My Resident Female – Up Close & Personal….

I have been spending some time lately trying to improve my photographic skills when it comes to photographing hummingbirds. My recent posting showing a bit of jousting between a Ruby-Throated male and female at my feeder seemed sufficient enough to display the action but lacked the ‘pop’ I like to see in a photograph.

In pursuit of that goal here are a couple of photos I took a couple of days ago of the female Ruby-Throated Hummingbird who is the favorite of my summer visitors this year. Since I don’t have but a few regular visitors anyway, it is fairly easy to keep up with who’s who.

By the way, if you look at the enlarged versions of the photos you can actually see bits of pollen on top of her head apparently gathered from a recent visit to a flower, especially in the second one. Thought that was sort of cool….

Adult Resident Female - 2014 Season - 01(Click to Enlarge)

Adult Resident Female - 2014 Season - 02(Click to Enlarge)

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Feeder Wars – 2014

Yesterday morning well before sunrise I went out to the patio and retrieved my hummingbird feeder. It was time for its weekly cleaning and refill. With late summer closing in I thought that later in the morning I would go out and try to capture a few photographs of some of the hummers that had been around this year. I sit on my patio just about every morning drinking a cup of coffee or two and watching them come and go. And because I don’t have all that many it is somewhat easy to soon become familiar with certain ones and their personalities.

My Resident Female

My Resident Female

It was around 8:00 AM as I prepared my camera and was about to go out and set it up near the feeder when I looked out and noticed there were a couple of hummingbirds really going at each other around the feeder. I went ahead and went out, set up the camera, grabbed my coffee and was ready for my photo shoot. I sat down to relax for a moment and the two hummers were immediately back and trying to exert their dominance over the feeder. One of the gladiators was one of my resident females who I really liked and is quite elegant. The other was a very aggressive male which was not a part of the daily visitors and must have happened upon the feeder by chance this morning, perhaps even in the process of migrating already.

Anyway, to my amazement for the next 2½ hours the two did battle never straying more than 6 feet or so from the feeder. Photographically speaking, I was in hog heaven because the least of their interest was me and during the time period I shot well over a hundred photos. Of course, many didn’t turn out and many were quite similar in content. Thought I would share a few of  those this morning and remember to see a larger version, just click on the photo….

DSC_0501a

DSC_0534a

Feeder Wars - 03

Feeder Wars - 05

As previously mentioned, this display of domination and aggression went on for over two hours when finally they literally locked up and went to the ground almost in a ‘ball’ configuration and then just laid there on the patio floor motionless. I really thought they had been injured or something. They were on the patio about three feet or so from me so I shuffled one of my feet and they apparently relinquished their holds and each other and flew off. The male never came back so obviously the victory and the feeder went to my beloved female. Hoooorah! :)

Movie Review – “Awakenings” (1990)

5-Star Post MasterAwakenings - 1990 - 01

Dr. Oliver Sacks

Dr. Oliver Sacks

After the recent passing of Robin Williams much was printed and televised about his life and taken in by many of us who were such fans and admirers of his talents. And of course there was much discourse on his films and many video clips shown by the media. Being the fan I am, I have watched the majority of them but was somewhat surprised that one film was never mentioned, at least by the media coverage that I followed. And yet, and of course this is my opinion, it was without a doubt one of his best. And that film was titled “Awakenings” based on a true story of a doctor, Dr. Oliver Sacks, who worked at a clinic in the Bronx in 1969 and was administering to a number of catatonic patients who had survived the 1917-1928 epidemic of encephalitis lethargic which had hit the United States.

I really wanted to watch one of his films and I wanted it to be a favorite of course, not an easy decision to make. And so it was a few nights ago that I settled on “Awakenings” and watched this touching and bittersweet story which was directed by none other than Penny Marshall. Robin Williams plays the meek, mild-mannered and somewhat reclusive Dr. Malcolm Sayer and Robert Di Niro plays one of his catatonic patients, Leonard Lowe. De Niro was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role while Robin Williams was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his role.

The acting is superb in the film and the film is considered to be a quite accurate portrayal of the true-life events and is based on the book of the same name which was written by neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks, the doctor depicted in the film as previously noted.

This may be about the 4th time I have watched the film over the years which on my rating scale makes it a shoo-in for a 5-star rating.