Certain hummingbirds are year-round residents in coastal Southern California, most notably the Anna's and Allen's hummingbirds. They're a constant presence in my garden. Flowers that appeal to them include those of the Arbutus, Callistemons, Cupheas, and Grevilleas. They adore the large-flowered ever-blooming Grevilleas 'Peaches & Cream' and 'Superb' and, fierce as they can be, they will wage war for territorial control over those plants. As I rounded the corner of the house yesterday, I discovered two of the tiny birds locked in battle over the largest Grevillea 'Superb'.
|This is the plant in question|
I ducked back into the house to get my camera fitted with its telephoto lens and returned to start shooting. As common as the birds are here, I have a terrible time getting good photos of them. Maybe I just don't have the patience to follow their rapid movements. And then I don't usually have a telephoto lens in hand either. These are the best photos I managed to take. I believe all are the same bird, as he managed to keep his competitor at bay.
|My skills in bird identification are severely limited but, after checking The Cornell Lab's identification pages, I'm fairly certain this is an Allen's hummingbird (Selaphorus sasin)|
|Allen's hummingbirds bear some similarities to Rufous hummingbirds (Selaphorus rufus) but Rufous have orange backs and they generally pass through California between mid-February and mid-May so the timing doesn't fit yesterday's sighting|
|The flashing red-orange color on the bird's throat clearly identified him as a male|
|Once he'd pushed off his competitor, he gave up surveillance and returned to feeding|
I tried to get more photos a little later after checking the quality of those I first shot but the hummer didn't cooperate. I could hear him chirping away but, as stealthily as I tried to move, I failed to get any more photos. It's all a matter of timing - and luck.
For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.
All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party