Saturday, September 18, 2010

young or female Anna's hummingbird
Calypte anna

Back to my regularly scheduled blog program...

Thanks goes out to Don Roberson who confirmed this ID for me. In the past week, the hummingbirds around home have been rather frisky with high speed chases and spectacular dives. Does this mean they're mating in September? For another link to info on the sound made by Anna's at the bottom of the dive, check out Cornell's All About Birds.

ps - I'm posting this 09/21/10 and yesterday morning I said "hello" to a couple local nature photographers (Greg and Peter). I see them regularly at the Coast Guard Pier during my morning walks when I never take my point-and-shoot... well, because my hands are full with 2 lb. weights (a subject for another post). So, anyways, they were snapping pics of a young black-crowned night heron. I felt silly, but I had to ask what kind of bird it was, because it was mottled light brown with funny greenish-yellow legs. I'm hoping they'll post their pics to share. I've finally accepted the fact that photography or birding simply isn't my thing (as evidenced in the pic above), but I sure do appreciate the patience and dedication others have.

7 comments:

Janet said...

My understanding is that at least in the SF Bay Area the resident Anna's breed in winter - as early at December. They have been incredibly vocal and visible here the past couple of weeks, singing their hearts out and chasing, so I assume the males are started to set up territories.

Nature ID said...

Here's what Don answered to my query, "Anna's are a resident bird, and sometimes residents will try to breed in the fall if the weather is right. I know that both Band-tailed Pigeons and Pied-billed Grebes sometimes nest at this time of year. Anna's more typically start their breeding behavior in December or January, and are definitely breeding by Feb."

Janet, didn't you comment about expanding ranges of birds? Anna's definitely fits in that category. I read a couple online sites that mentioned they used to not be seen north of SoCal ~50 years ago. They credit garden plants as the reason for the expanded range. I haven't found much online information about the timing of territory and matings of hummingbirds.

Janet said...

My own birdwatching notes start in San Francisco in 1983 and they were certainly well established residents by then. The one big change I have seen? I distinctly remember when ravens were winter visitors through the bay area - now they are sassy full time urban residents. Another bird whose range has moved north in recent years thanks to humans is the hooded oriole, a So Cal bird we get nesting even up here in Ukiah because people plant fan palms in their yards, which they love to nest in.
Then there are the ones who don't quite make it - in the 80s I'd see a fair number of cattle egrets in the bay area; its been yrs since I've seen one. Out of curiosity I just did a google and found this interesting article
http://santacruzbirdclub.org/recce.html

Nature ID said...

Janet, your notes going back to 1983 must be impressive! Are you involved with any birding group? I've made my disclaimer that I'm not an avid birder, so pardon the following ignorance:

I had a Bay Area resident comment on the arrival of the ravens to my mourning dove post. I think she said she heard they were one of the first signs of environmental degradation; I'm not sure how that conclusion came about.

Thank you for the link. I looked up cattle egrets since the page didn't offer any identifying information; looks like they're smaller than the snowy, but from a distance I'm guessing many beginners would get them confused. I'm assuming "CBC" means an annual club count of some sort? I have several criticisms of annual group counts, having participated in butterfly and odonate groups - I was the only one to capture state or seasonal records simply because I got bored and wandered off. Weather patterns for specific annual dates, knowledge of group participants, and tabulation methods affect the graphed results, possibly more than the actual population numbers. I wonder how the past 10 years (2000-2010) have fared for cattle egrets in Santa Cruz County. My cynical self says there might have been a prolific birder involved in the 80's CBC who might have died, or wasn't involved every year.

We should talk movies some time. I watched Guy's Sherlock Holmes recently and found it very entertaining. They used Bartitsu per Conan Doyle.

Janet said...

Movies, yes, but another day :-) !!!

CBC = Christmas Bird Count, done nationwide generally during December and in very organized and systematic way.

Re cattle egrets - they just seem to have disappeared. in the mid 80s I saw them in Golden Gate Park and throughout the peninsula, then ... not a one since. Very different in appearance, with shaggy yellowish feathers and they tend to be upland (in SF they loved the bison paddock in GG Park) because they feed on bugs and stuff.

I did the CBC w/ the local Auduboners in SF once in the mid 80s and it was a TERRIBLE experience and I never had anything to do w/ them again! My local group up here is a very nice bunch of folks but because of my involvement w/ the aikido dojo + art/sewing stuff I have very limited time for field trips or meetings even when they are fun. ALWAYS do the CBC w/ them though!

I've become a lazy birder as I've entered middle age. On entire classes of birds I'm happy to see them and get to general class ("peep" - "gull") and let it go. I totally recommend a slim funny book called How To Be A Bad Birdwatcher by a very good writer named Simon Barnes :-)

troutbirder said...

To me birding goes with a good walk with my GSD. Not to serious but always fun. Incidently we have only ONE hummingbird species here on the Tundra. Oh well....

Nature ID said...

Janet, holy brain freeze! I've heard of the Christmas Bird Count, but while reading the article it didn't occur to me since the author specified SCZ, but not CBC. I'll check out that book you recommend.

Troutbirder, tundra? Where the heck are you?