Thursday, December 27, 2007

Winter Hummer Update

Fred Bassett writes....

Fellow Hummer Lovers,

The unseasonable warm weather has made it tough to catch hummers enjoying all the natural nectar sources, but banding has started to pick up as more hummers show up with some cooler weather. On Nov 27 in Mobile, I banded Black-chinned Hummers at both Virginia Culberson's and Ina Palmer's homes and then banded a Rufous at Sarah Fannon's home in Daphne. My first catch on 28 Nov was Vickie and Ron Parker's second year return Rufous. After all the birds I've banded in her yard, Vickie was thrilled to have a return. I went on to Tallahassee to band a Rufous and a Ruby-throated at Pam Flynn's home. I got off to a good start on 29 Nov banding two Ruby-throated and one Rufous at John and Peggy Armstrong's always wonderful yard. Pam Flynn called about another hummer and I went back to her home to catch a second-year return Black-chinned. That afternoon I slipped off to Alachua to catch Laurie Shelton's Rufous, back for the third winter.
On 6 Dec I made a quick dash to the coast and caught four good birds. I started in River Falls near Andalusia where I banded a Rufous at the home of Runette and Harold Hood. I struck gold near Baker, Florida when I banded a female BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD.
Mary Ann Friedman identified the species before I got there, and my hat goes off to her for great ID skills. In Shalimar, I banded a Black-chinned at the home of Pat Gross and finished in Mobile where I was surprised to band an immature male ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD at Mona Blackmon's home. On Dec 8 just outside Wetumpka at the home of Joanne and Allen Windom, I caught a banded BUFF-BELLIED HUMMINGBIRD at Velma and LJ Britain's home in Mobile. I assumed it was bird banded there three years ago but was surprised to find it was a hummer I banded a few milesaway at Barbara Morgan's home this past March. Good reason to always carefully read the band number. I banded my second ALLEN'S of the season at Ainsley McNeely's home and then banded a Rufous at Ron Rowell's home. In Irvington south of Mobile, I caught a second year return Rufous at Michelle and Mike Miller's home. I finsihed up the day banding a Rufous in Daphne at Nancy and Ken Proctor's home. I'll be back there soon for a second hummer that eluded me.
Early on 20 Dec in Fairhope at David and Carrie Dortch's hummer heaven, I banded a BUFF-BELLIED and watched several other hummers not interested in feeders because of the profusion of flowering hummer plants. At Jim Dickerson's equally wonderful hummer garden in Lillian, I banded a Black-chinned and two Rufous while observing at least four other hummers feastingon flowers and not interested in feeders. I stopped in Pensacola at Glenda Bowman's home to band a Ruby-throated before fleeing to Tallahassee in front of a big storm.
Fred Dietrich and I have been plotting for a month to catchhis extremely shy fifth year return Rufous, and our plan finally worked early on 21 Dec when Fred D. tricked her into a trap. Congratulations to Fred and Patty on Tallahasee's first fifth year return hummer. We are already planning to see her again next winter. A bonus at the Dietrich's was the Fox that tippy-toed through the yard as we waited for the hummer.
I banded a Ruby-throated at Julie and Andy Wraithmell's home and went on to Rachel Bradford's home to band a Rubyt-hoated and a Rufous. John and Peggy Armstrong's great yard provided me a Ruby-throated to band, and Sue and Terry Arthur had a Rufous to band. I finished the day banding a Ruby-throated at Fran Rutkovsky's home.
I'm getting more reports of hummers along the coast and will head down there right after enjoying Chrsitmas. I hope Santa brings you a special hummer, and you will share it with me.

Merry Christmas,


No comments: