Tag Archives: Hummingbird

Birding at Asa Wright Nature Centre in Trinidad and Tobago

I do not like to stay home at Christmas. I usually travel to Kaua’i with my son to escape the season, but this year he had a new job and could not take time away. I had heard interesting and intriguing reports about Trinidad and Tobago, and so I decided to travel there on my own. It was a fine decision. I contacted Caligo Ventures, which my friends had recommended as a good way to put together a trip. I would spend six days at Asa Wright Nature Center in Trinidad and three days at Blue Waters Inn in Tobago.

When I arrived in Trinidad after a long day’s flight, I was met at the airport by Roodal Ramlal, who would be my guide and driver for the next six days. I do recommend having a driver when you travel to Trinidad. In addition to driving on the left, which is confusing for me, the roads outside of the cities are often in poor repair. I am a fairly intrepid driver, but I was happy to leave the driving to Roodal, especially the drive up dark and winding Blanchisseuse Road to the nature center at night.

There were two other women who would arrive via Caligo one day after me, and we would spend the rest of our time together. Fortunately they were absolutely delightful people, and it was a pleasure to spend time with them.

I had intentionally planned to arrive one day earlier than everyone else so that I would have a day to enjoy being at Asa Wright before the start of the planned activities. I was awakened my first morning, and every morning thereafter, by the unmistakable call of a Great Kiskadee outside my window.

Asa Wright Nature Center

Great Kiskadee

Nothing that you may hear from other visitors really prepares you for your first morning on the veranda at Asa Wright. The veranda looks out over acres of rainforest.

Asa Wright Nature Center

Asa Wright Veranda View

You hear the calls of Orange-winged Parrots, Crested Oropendola, and countless other birds in a lovely dawn chorus. And oh the birds! There are many hummingbird feeders and table feeders that attract a large number of beautiful birds. The honeycreepers were so incredibly colorful!

Asa Wright Nature Center

Green Honeycreeper, male

Asa Wright Nature Center

Green Honeycreeper, female

Asa Wright Nature Center

Purple Honeycreeper, male

Asa Wright Nature Center

Purple Honeycreeper, female

Bananaquits were everywhere. These bold little birds would even fly into the dining room looking for handouts.

Asa Wright Nature Center

Bananaquit

Honeycreepers and Bananaquits would wait in the trees for someone to put out a freshly-filled hummingbird feeder.

Asa Wright Nature Center

Honeycreepers and Bananaquits wait for freshly-filled hummingbird feeders.

As soon as a fresh feeder was set out, the colorful birds would swarm the feeder.

Asa Wright Nature Center

Honeycreepers and Bananaquits swarm a hummingbird feeder.

Once the honeycreepers and Bananaquits could no longer reach the nectar, the hummingbirds would move in to feed. The beauty and variety of the hummingbirds was amazing! Here are a few of the hummingbirds I saw at Asa Wright:

Asa Wright Nature Canter

White-necked Jacobin

Asa Wright Nature Center

White-necked Jacobin, another view

Asa Wright Nature Center

Green Hermit, female

Asa Wright Nature Center

Brown Violetear

Asa Wright Nature Center

White-chested Emerald

Asa Wright Nature Center

Rufous-breasted Hermit

Asa Wright provides all-inclusive accommodation. They begin by serving coffee and tea on the veranda starting at 6:30 a.m. Lunch is at noon, tea is at 4:00 p.m., rum punch is served at 6:00 p.m., and dinner begins at 7:30. I enjoyed the food, which relies heavily on local cuisine. Meals were in the dining room at family-style tables, which allowed for plenty of conversation among the guests, who were from Trinidad, Canada, Europe, and the US.

Asa Wright Nature Center

Dining room at Asa Wright Nature Centre.

It was lovely to sit on the veranda in the evening, drinking a rum punch and watching the sunset.

Asa Wright Nature Center

Sunset from the veranda.

In the evening, once the hummingbirds, honeycreepers and Bananaquits retire for the evening, Leaf-nosed Bats come to the feeders. I was fascinated by these little creatures.

Asa Wright Nature Center

Leaf-nosed Bat

Asa Wright Nature Center

Leaf-nosed Bats

There will be many more sights and many more birds to come. Stay tuned.

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Hummingbirds at Sandia Crest–Part I

Recently Bosque Bill and I drove to Sandia Crest to enjoy the scenery, the wildflowers and the birds that are in the area. Sandia Crest rises to 10,600 feet above the Rio Grande Valley below, and it is an easy one-hour drive from my house in Corrales. There were fewer wildflowers than we saw last year, undoubtedly because of the lack of rainfall. The hummingbirds, however, were out in force. There were Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbirds and a Calliope or two, although I did not get any photos of the Calliopes. Almost all of the birds that we saw were females. The males have probably already begun their migration south.

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Sandia Crest, New Mexico.

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Sandia Crest, New Mexico.

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Sandia Crest, New Mexico.

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Sandia Crest, New Mexico.

A kerfuffle amongst the ladies.

Female Rufous Hummingbirds, Sandia Crest, New Mexico.

Incoming female Rufous Hummingbirds

Female Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Sandia Crest, New Mexico.

Female Rufous Hummingbird, Sandia Crest, New Mexico.

Female Rufous Hummingbird

These single photos do not begin to show the numbers of birds at the feeders and how active the birds are. I will show those in my next post.

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A Summer Visit to Bosque del Apache

A couple of weekends ago Bosque Bill and I decided to visit Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. Bill is very enthusiastic about dragonflies, and there are many of them at Bosque del Apache in summer. I am always up for a road trip. It had been several years since I had visited there in summer, and I was looking forward to seeing the refuge. I knew it would be hot, and so I packed lots of cold drinks along with a cold picnic lunch.

We arrived at the refuge at mid-morning. As usual, the view across the refuge toward the hills was lovely.

Looking across the refuge toward the hills, Bosque del Apache NWR.

Looking across the refuge toward the hills.

It was interesting to see that in summer, the areas which in fall and winter are ponds for migrating birds are covered with plants that will become food for ducks, geese and cranes when the ponding areas are flooded in fall.

Pond area, Bosque del Apache NWR

In fall this area will be flooded and will become a pond for migrating waterfowl.

With temperatures hovering near 100ºF there was not a great deal of bird activity, but we did see a few birds:

Great Blue Heron

A Great Blue Heron hunts in an acequia

Black Phoebe

A Black Phoebe hunts for insects at a pond on the Marsh Loop.

An unruly gang of Neotropic Cormorants were roosting on snags along the Seasonal road.

Neotropic Cormorants

Neotropic Cormorants

We saw Blue Grosbeaks and Northern Mockingbirds and a few raptors. Either they were too far away for photos, or I was not quick enough with my camera. What we did see were dragonflies. They were beautiful!

Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta)

Red Saddlebags (Tramea onusta)

Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata)

Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata)

Blue Darter

Blue Darter

By early afternoon Bosque Bill and I were hot and tired, and we took a break to eat our picnic lunch and tour the Visitor’s Center. After a lovely lunch we walked around the Visitor’s Center. Bosque Bill flushed a large covey of Gambel’s Quail sheltering from the midday sun under a Three-Leaf Sumac. I don’t know who was more startled, Bill or the quail. I was laughing so hard that I didn’t get a photo.

I sat in the (blessedly) air-conditioned Visitor’s Center and enjoyed watching the birds at the feeders. Black-chinned Hummingbirds and Rufous Hummingbirds were very busy defending the food source. I took some photos through the viewing window.

Male Rufous Hummingbird

A male Rufous Hummingbird vigilantly guards the feeder.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbird.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds share the feeder with the Rufous Hummingbird.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbird.

Another look at the hummingbirds around the feeder.

There were Bullock’s and Scott’s Orioles at the feeders as well.

Scott's Oriole

The hummingbirds fled when a Scott's Oriole landed on the feeder.

Scott's Oriole

This Scott's Oriole likes hummingbird nectar.

Bullock's Oriole

A Bullock's Oriole watches from a nearby tree …

Bullock's Oriole

… and announces his arrival at the feeder.

Very few people visit Bosque del Apache in summer. It is hot, and it lacks the large numbers of migratory waterfowl that are present in the other seasons. There is still a great deal to see.

Flowers

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Hummingbird Chicks at the Rio Grande Nature Center

It has been extremely dry in New Mexico this year. There have been many terrible fires that have caused a great deal of damage. Because of the extreme fire damage, many of the areas that I like to visit to watch and photograph birds and wildlife have been closed to the public. Last weekend, after I visited a local Farmer’s Market, I decided to see if the Rio Grande Nature Center was open. The nature center and the grounds around it were open, although the part that extends into the Rio Grande Bosque was closed. While I was walking around the grounds, I saw quite a few Black-chinned Hummingbirds. One landed on a branch fairly close to me. As I stopped to observe her, I noticed that she had two chicks in a nest near where she landed. The nest was inside a large bush, and the lighting conditions were not the best. However, I was able to take a number of photographs.

Black-chinned Hummingbird chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center.

Black-chinned Hummingbird chicks.

Black-chinned Hummingbird chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center.

Black-chinned Hummingbird chicks, another angle.

Black-chinned Hummingbird chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center.

Waiting for Mom to come back to the nest.

I hoped that if I stayed quietly near the nest, the mother hummingbird would return to feed the chicks. I stood quietly and waited, and she arrived within five minutes.

Black-chinned Hummingbird Mom and chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center

Mom hummingbird arrives at the nest.

Black-chinned Hummingbird Mom and chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center,.

Feeding one of the chicks.

Black-chinned Hummingbird Mom and chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center.

The second chick looks impatient.

Black-chinned Hummingbird Mom and chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center.

The other chick is fed.

Black-chinned Hummingbird Mom and chicks, Rio Grande Nature Center.

An un-cropped photo shows how tiny the nest really is.

Apparently when Mom Hummingbird is not taking care of the chicks she can be found hanging out at the local bar.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Rio Grande Nature Center

Local hummingbird bar.

When I stopped by the Rio Grande Nature Center a little more than a week later, the chicks had fledged and the nest was deserted. I will check back to see if this little hummingbird mom will raise more chicks this year.

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Sunday Photo Blogging-Corrales Weekend Birds

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Corrales. I went for a short bike ride and did a little shopping, but mostly I worked in the garden. I took my camera with me as I worked.

The Western Scrub Jays and the Curve-billed Thrashers were busy at the peanut feeder behind the house.

Western Scrub Jay

Western Scrub Jay close up


Curve-billed Thrasher


Gambel’s Quail were enjoying the shelled peanuts that I put out on the garden wall.

Gambel's Quail Adult Male and Chick.


Gambel's Quail Chicks


The hummingbird feeders were popular with the migrating hummingbirds and a few lingering residents.

Female Rufous Hummingbird


Female Rufous Hummingbird and Male Black-chinned Hummingbird


Male Black-chinned Hummingbird


Female Black-chinned Hummingbird


Should I have been concerned that there were Turkey Vultures circling overhead?

Turkey Vultures


It’s always interesting to watch the birds around my house.

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Wordless Wednesday-Wednesday Wings

Female Rufous Hummingbird


Female Rufous Hummingbird


Female Rufous Hummingbird


Female Rufous Hummingbird

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A Walk in the Corrales Bosque

Yesterday Bosque Bill and I took a walk in the Corrales Bosque to see if the fall migrants were beginning to come through. We saw quite a few Wilson’s Warblers, but they were too deep in the dense cottonwood foliage to get photos of them.

Common sunflowers (Helianthus Annuus) were blooming profusely along the ditch banks.

Common sunflower, Helianthis Annuus

The Western Tanagers are on their way back through New Mexico, and we saw this lovely female high in a cottonwood.

Female Western Tanager

There were many hummingbirds in the bosque. Although most of them were high in the cottonwoods feeding on insects, I was fortunate to see this female Black-chinned Hummingbird sipping from a sunflower.

Female Black-chinned Hummingbird

Western Wood-Pewees were high in the trees.

Western Wood-Pewee

We saw a very attractive bull snake sliding along the path. He got a bit grumpy when I wanted to pick him up and play with him.

Bull Snake

When we approached the Rio Grande we found Northern Pike in an area where runoff goes into the river.

Northern Pike in the Rio Grande

As we walked back along the irrigation ditch we saw a Black Phoebe hunting in the coyote willows.

Black Phoebe

We also saw a beautiful female Blue Grosbeak in this area, but my photos of her are candidates for the blurry photo contest.

On our walk back we saw many dragonflies and damselflies.

Flame Skimmer

Female Variegated Meadowhawk

Damselflies, American Bluets

It was a beautiful day for a walk in the Corrales Bosque.

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