First Ruby

First sighting of a beautiful male Ruby Throated Hummingbird, Sunday, 6:10 PM,for only 15 sec.  Didn’t see him coming back. Very cold today and the next days, 4C  (35F)  no flowers, but there are 4 feeders up. I hope the little Ruby will be safe after these cold nights. Happy hummingbird watching!

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Salvia Black&Blue

The third year of gardening revealed me the truth: I am gardening for hummingbirds. Whatever flowers I like, it “happens” to be a hummingbird flower. I have very few flowers just for my pleasure,  and I keep adding more and more hummingbird flowers. The thing is that I’ve learned about flowers I would never thought they can be so beautiful. Who cares about “salvia”? I only knew about the culinary salvia or the medicinal salvia. I was wondering what is so remarcable about this flower? Oh, well… I wish I can fill my whole garden with all the flowering salvias. The hummingbirds taught me about flowers, they showed me more beatiful species and it is a delight just watching both, the flowers and the birds.

About Savia Black&Blue I have learned  from my daily reading of the Hummingbird forum ( http://www.network54.com).  It took me  two seasons  to find this  Slavia.  I  found it at Belgium Nursery in Kitchener.  And it worth it: a realy stunning flower! Leaves, stems and flowers make a very attractive plant.

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This is Salvia guaranitica Black&Blue, also known as Blue Anise Sage. Isn’t she beautiful? The name comes from the deep blue flowers and the dark purple (almost black) calyces.

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In our Ontario zone is an annual plant and must be dug up in fall. It is a perennial semi-woody subshrub for USDA zones 8- 11. It grows up to 3 ft (0.9m) tall and almost as much wide, branches of dark green stems. The leaves are long on oposites sides of the stems, slightly toothed. If crushed, the leaves have a pleasant fragrance.

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Blue anise is a bloomer, it will give you the best show throughout the summer. They like sun, and moderate water, being a drought resistant plant. And the hummingbirds… they love it! I  have lots of flowers in my garden but this one was the most visited and the most wanted flower. This is  Alba ( white) a hummingbirds with a white spot on its crown. I’ve had such a great time watching her ( I believe it’s a her) for a few weeks.

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This  is a young male, you can see the one red spot on his gorget.  I planted one Salvia in a planter and the other three in a flower bed. My little friend took over this  planter and here he is getting some nectar from one flower.

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The flowers are tubular, with a hood like upper lips and a shorter downward pointing lower lip. Look at the size of this flower: it is bigger than the hummingbird’s head… or maybe is he too small?

DSCN3391Here are a few  more captures during the 2012 summer:

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In fall I dug up the plants after the foliage died. I found the roots look more as a tuber and I put them in a flower pot covered with soil, and I placed them in the garage.

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When I checked them sometime in December, I  was surprised to see that new sprouts showed up and I brought the plant inside, in the basement. Not too cold, not too warm ( 20 C) and I watered once in a while. Well, they had new leaves,  stems and new shoots. Even more, last month one stem got a few small blooms.  The one I left in the garage, and bring it in only late in March, it does not  look alive  anymore. Just dried stems. So, I’ve learned that they really need a medium temperature to stay alive over the winter, and must be watered just a bit, from time to time.

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The winter is playing tricks with us and the spring is hiding somewhere… can’t wait to go out and get ready for a new gardening season. And most of all the hummingbirds arrival.  I also have new plans for the next Salvia Black&Blue flower bed, and for more Salvias.

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The Countdown

We count the last days of winter and  eagerly waiting for the warm and shiny days of spring.  The new season will start soon and I wasn’t able to finish with my last year’s postings.  Thank you kindly for your comments and for visiting my neglected blog.  Yes, this is suppose to be a blog about hummingbirds, the flowers they like and all what I’ve learned about these beauties for the last three years.  And I have sooo much to tell… the most important thing to know about me: I am Dana and I am a hummingbird addicted :).

Well, my commitment for hummingbirds shows up mostly in my garden work and not too much here in my postings. I will try harder to keep up to date this blog ( which is actually my favorite subject).

The migration map for 2013 is on, and it shows how the hummingbirds are moving north.  Some of them left already the  southern sunny places to fly over the Gulf of Mexico and US to arrive here sometime in May. This is a long-long way  and they are amazing in making this trip to reach the breeding grounds.  I can hardly wait to see my beautiful birds again.

These are a few of my favourites photos, taken in summer 2012.   This summer I have seen for the first time two hummingbirds hanging out together. They are so territorial and will protect their grounds and flowers.  Oh, it wasn’t a perfect friendship but they ignored each other and sometimes they shared the flowers and feeders.

I named this pair  Amore and L’Amour. They were so cute together!
Here they are nectaring the Zinnia flowers.  This year Zinnia have been used a lot. 

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There is a little spot on the neck, can you see it? He is L’Amour,  a young male, and the spot will become soon a beautiful fire-red gorget. DSCN3385-002

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This is a Mom, she is so thin because she is feeding all by her self her babies. No help from males hummingbirds!

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This one looks better.  In august, they start feeding a lot and get fat to be ready for their flight back south.

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Feeding from Salvia Black and Blue. Awesome flower!

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I like this picture very much.  It was so windy and he perched on Clematis Radar Love vine.  A fuzzy hummingbird!

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This last picture is very important to me.  Hand feeding a hummingbird was a dream for me. And became true! My Fuzzy Friend gave me the best gift ever!

And this was the Good bye.  Next day Fuzzy left my garden. The end of the season: October 6, 2012. DSCN6279-009

The countdown:  7 weeks.  See you soon!

It was June

My secret wish is to have more hummingbirds than the last summer.  This is why my garden becomes the host of more and more flowers.  It was only June and my hopes were so high… The two males were accompanied by 2 other females. Dancing in the air and hovering around the garden, they gave me the beautiful show I was expecting: the mating dance,  U shape flights and fights to defend the territory.  At this time I wasn’t yet able to say if they were new or they have been already in my garden.  I’ve  had 4 tubular feeders, and two other from hummzinger.  It wasn’t too much activity, or at least not as much I was expecting, and for sure less than the previous summer.  Anyways, I was happy with my little hummers coming  every day.  However, I prefered more to watch and less taking pictures. DSCN0179 DSCN0178 DSCN0282 DSCN0281 DSCN0280 DSCN0185 DSCN0180-tile DSCN0180

In motion

My little bird visiting Zinnia flowers. This year Zinnia was one of the favourites.  One of the hummingbirds was guarding these flowers. ( click on the picture)

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Another loved flower: Salvia Black&Blue. It was a long search until I finally got this flower. Worthly efforts: amzing beautifully with great flowers and color. Of course: a hummingbird flower. Look how tiny is the bird’s head: almost smaller than the flower.

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Agastache is another very busy flower. Hummingbirds were hovering over the flowers.

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Shine!

This is why they are called Flying Jewels…

(pictures posted last summer on my gardening blog)

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May 2012: The Arrival

The 2012 hummingbird season was so different in so many ways. I didn’t have to many hummingbirds, maybe two or three in the same time. I was quite sad for a while, but the end of the summer brought me the best hummingbird gift.

The first hummingbird arrived earlier, on May 3rd. I have seen him late in the evening at my million bells hanging basket. What a delight!

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He wasn’t too friendly, and for sure didn’t like me taking photos. With some luck I was able to get a few photos.

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My boy became a regular at the feeders. It was a bit cold and rainy, and only a few flowers in bloom, and the feeders were at the most used.

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Every morning I looked at the window hoping I will see him. In the sun, his beautiful gorget was shinning like a flame.

One day, another male showed up, I recognize him after the white spot in his wing. And the fight over the feeders begun. I place the feeders far away from each other,  so they can’t see each other and have a good nectar snack any time.

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Spring time, hummingbird time, a wonderful show to watch.

 

Happy New Year!

 

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Hummingbirds in May

May was a long rainy month, and spring had a late arrival. During the cold and wet days  I was hoping that my hummingbirds will find the nectar good enough to make them stay longer in my garden. Not too many flowers in bloom at that time, so I bought a hanging basket of Million Bells – Calibracoa flowers. The blooms in the garden have been so poor, only a few Daffodils, Hyacints, one Fritillaria,  and a few other bulbs.

The first one arrived on May 8th, a beautiful  male, who perched on the red nectar bottle. I have seen him almost every day, wonder if it was the same or another male.  To make sure it will be enough nectar for all ( possible) visitors, I put out 5 feeders in different locations,  because of their well known territorial behaviour.

A few times I watched their U shaped fight protecting their feeders and they amazed me again and again with their dance in the air, these beautiful flying jewels. By the middle of May I was sure about my  two resident males, coming at the feeders and some times I was lucky enough to watch them perching and not disturbed by  our presence.  The photos are not so good,  sometimes I just prefered to watch them instead of looking for the right and perfect photo capture. This is one of the boys, sipping the nectar and also very alert because of me being so close to him.

I knew this is  the beginning of the hummingbird watching season, a new amazing experience between flowers and my beautiful flying jewels.

It’s a boy!

The first hummingbird of the season finally arrived Saturday, May 8th, around noon time. The waiting was so long. By the end of April I wasn’t patient at all, looking on the window with the hope they are back.  That day,  I left the feeder on the table  just for a few minutes.  And here he is: waiting on top of the bottle, amazing beautifully.  The quality of the picture is not good, it was taken through the door screen, but this is one of the most important pictures of the season.This day was the beginning of joy, a summer of hummingbird watching and the appreciation of the beauty.