~More Beautiful Hummingbirds in my yard

~Loveland, Colorado, August, 2017

oOo-Broad-tailed Hummingbird

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Drinking nectar from a potted plant.

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oOo-Black-chinned Hummingbird

I  have been trying to capture this male, Black-chinned Hummingbird for awhile. He is very shy, and smart about staying hidden in the trees. These photos aren’t the best, but show his black chin and purple band around the neck.

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Black-chinned Hummingbird

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Purple band appears black without the right light.

~

oOo-Broad-tailed Hummingbird

It is late evening and a time for rest.

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~

In the photo below a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird is sitting on a pine branch looking east. Perhaps she is reflecting on her day or contemplating her upcoming, long journey south.

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Last light before night

~

evening’s last light

before darkness descends

stay safe and warm

~

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Black-chinned

It makes us feel good to provide these tiny birds with energy, in the form of syrup, to assist them along on their long, difficult journey.

 

Happy Dreams, Good Night

 

~Sunday Bike Ride

~Loveland, Colorado, August, 2017

Howard and I decided that we need to add another activity to our current list. We are going to bike ride more often. We enjoy riding, and need the added exercise it will give us.

We had my bike “serviced” including getting the frozen right gear shift fixed, and all the rust removed from being on the back of the coach when we travel south. Rain isn’t nice to exposed bikes. She is looking good. Now Howard needs to have his serviced. I was very happy with the service from Breakaway Cycles here in Loveland.

Last week we had a hitch put on our Ford, Edge. Felkers, here in Loveland, did an excellent job. On Friday, we are hoping to pick up a bicycle rack for the Edge. No excuses now baby!

Sunday we went for a 10 mile, roundtrip, ride on Loveland’s excellent bike trail system.

Sunday bike ride.
A beautiful day for a bike ride.

~

Beautiful day in Northern Colorado
Longs Peak and Meeker to the left of Howard’s head!

~

Well it’s a first! We are not in the habit of taking “selfies”, but no one was around to get a photo of us.

It's a first!
“Oh my”

It just might be the last selfie, not ride! HeeHee!

Happy Trails, Life is Good!

 

~Butterfly in the Garden

~Loveland, Colorado, August 2017

 

I just happen to look out one of our upstairs windows yesterday and spotted this butterfly enjoying the blooms on a Butterfly Bush! I removed the screen from the window and tried to capture her as she moved from flower to flower. The sun was in the west, which backlit this little girl.

I believe she is a Variegated Fritillary, but I can’t be sure. Years ago I found a great web-site that helps you identify butterflies. Here is the link: Identify Butterflies.

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Look at her eyes!
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Watching for harassing bees.
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Beautiful patterns

She had a hard time trying to stay away from a yellow jacket that didn’t want her there.

Let me know if you ca identify this butterfly.

Get out and Enjoy Nature!

~Devil’s Backbone

~Loveland, Colorado, August, 2017

A mile to the west of us is an open space area called the Devil’s Backbone. This area is very popular with locals and visitors, offering seven miles of trail for hiking, biking, horse back riding and picnicking.  And, of course for taking photographs.

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A path heading toward the unique rock formations.

For the last week or so we have had unusual rainy days. It has been nice for our dry environment turning the landscape green.

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A green, lush meadow. Notice the bench for relaxing and enjoying nature.
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A fallen Cottonwood Tree along the trail.
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Looking west toward the Rocky Mountains
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Great environment for birds and other wildlife.
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Bullock’s Oriole nest hanging high in a Cottonwood tree. Good job!
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I hope all the babies are somewhere else enjoying life.
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A cloudy day in northern Colorado.

~Back in October, 2015, I took a night sky photograph workshop at the Devil’s Backbone. Here is the link to read about my experience.Night Sky Workshop

~Here is another one of my previous posts on the Devil’s Backbone. This one, a poetry challenge. Writing a Kyrielle-Sonnet

Enjoying Colorful Colorado!

~Fun at home yesterday with my camera!

~Loveland, Colorado, August, 2017

During the last few days, some hummingbirds have found their way back to our yard. I made a batch of Hummingbird syrup (4 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar) and hung the feeder. Didn’t take long for them to start their display fights over this source of food.

This behavior of fighting over the feeder is fun to watch and provides great opportunities for photos; however it is also bewildering to me. Why do they spend so much of their energy chasing each other away when all they have to do is share?

~Rufous-Hummingbird (female)

Rufous-Hummingbird
She likes to sit in the Apple tree. Here she prefers a small dead branch.

~Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird (female)
“This is my feeder. Got it!”

Always looking for in-coming rivals!

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Enjoying some syrup without being harassed by bees!

Broad-tailed Hummingbird (female)

The elusive male. I will capture a better photo of you, I promise. I wasn’t fast enough to focus on him. He seems to hide on the far side of the feeder, zips in to take a few sips then zips away. He never lights on a tree branch in the yard. Just wanted to show you – he is here.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird (male)

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~Western Swallowtail Butterfly

I put a little syrup in the top of the Hummingbird feeder to try and keep the Wasps and Yellow Jackets from drinking from the holes below. They harass the Hummers and were harassing this beautiful Swallowtail. It appears, from the photo below, that they are trying to sting the butterfly. Dam them!

I haven’t seen a butterfly drink from a Hummer feeder before.

Western Swallowtail

Not a real sharp shot, but it is interesting.  It decided to move down to drink from the holes, perhaps trying to get away from the bees. Notice how it is holding on to the feeder.

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Notice the bee below the Swallowtail.

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Something strange was happening over night. I put syrup in the feeder early each morning and the next morning it would be ALL gone. Not a drop left. I have the feeder hanging on a medal rod, which is suspended many feet off the ground. There is no way that it can be reached from the ground.

At first we thought Raccoons were somehow getting to the feeder from out deck, but since nothing else is disturbed and all the liquid is gone we now think it might be bats drinking from the feeder. That would be cool to see. We now take the feeder down every night.

~Western Cottontail

This photo speaks, peace, to me…

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This little guy was sitting on a boulder in our yard looking out over Loveland.

The last couple of years have been good to the rabbits in our area. I think their natural predators, because of increased building in the surrounding areas, have moved out. We use to see coyotes and fox passing through, but haven’t in awhile. However, we do have black bear and bob cats, which causes us to put the garbage can in the garage each night. Maybe they don’t like rabbit!

Header photo: Enjoying a moment at dusk.

A fun few hours taking photos in my yard. I hope you enjoyed them.

 

 

~Birding in Texas, Lark Sparrow

South Llano River State Park, Junction, TX, April, 2017

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I need to get busy and publish more bird photos from our trip back in March/April. I am going to run out of time, to publish these early spring photos, before we travel through Texas again. I will then have fall photos to publish. What a fun situation for me to be in! {Grins}

Below are a few photos of a pretty sparrow with a long neck and tail that has distinctive markings on its face. I don’t get to see Lark Sparrows in Colorado, so it is always a pleasure to see them when we are traveling.

I first observed the Lark Sparrow on January 9, 2007 in Catalina State Park, Oro Valley, AZ. In case you might not know where Oro Valley is, it is near Tucson.

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~Photo below is an adult Lark Sparrow with its pretty patterned face.

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Lark Sparrow

~

I believe this one enjoying a bath is a younger bird, because of the light tan colored markings on its face. As they age the tan color turns white.  Note the difference in the coloring on the face between the photo above and these below. Perhaps the difference is, because it is wet!

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They sure do love a bath.
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Sweet
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Note the dark spot on the breast.

Sparrows can be beautiful!

Happy Birding!

And, always try to take a few minutes everyday to enjoy nature.

 

~Birding in Texas, Lazuli Bunting

~South Llano River State Park, Junction, TX, April, 2017

 

Lazuli Bunting
Lazuli Bunting (male)

Lazuli’s must have been migrating north when we were visiting South Llano River State Park. A female was spotted, by park staff, on April 6th. I saw the male on April 17th.

From my observation experience, the shy Lazuli Bunting always wary about being out in the open, lets other birds intimidate them easily. Why so shy, wary and nonassertive?

With the Lazuli being so wary it takes a lot of patience to get a quality photo of one. This male would fly into the blind from surrounding trees, would sit in an area with lots of scrubs and wait.  When it felt safe, I guess, it would then fly down and eat some seeds. It seems that, more so than other birds, it is always alert and ready to fly away. I didn’t see one enjoying a bath.

We see them here in Colorado during the spring and summer. This morning, sitting outside enjoying coffee, a male flew to one of the feeders looking for sunflower seeds.

It is always a pleasure to see these colorful birds.

Happy Birding!

Enjoying retirement: On The Road & At Home