The weather forecast predicted rain and high winds last Saturday. So instead of going somewhere, I took my camera to the backyard. It was a drab, cloudy morning, but that’s perfect for my backyard since I can point the camera in any direction. It turned out to be a very special morning!
Within seconds of setting up my camera, an Orange-crowned Warbler hopped out into a clump of salvia. It was one of those perfect flower stalks out in the open with a beautiful green background. This was one of those moments when you have to contain your inner squeal.
Then a male Painted Bunting hopped into the crape myrtle to check out the intruder with the giant camera lens. He wasn’t impressed. But he did decide it was safe to visit the millet and feed his face!
Zippy showed up a few minutes later, at the same clump of salvia. He moved from flower to flower, sipping the nectar from within. There was practically no light, so I cranked up the ISO to achieve a high shutter speed. I had a whole burst of beautiful images within just a few minutes of getting started!
Zippy skipped my hummingbird feeder that morning. He came by every 15-20 minutes, nectared from the flowering plants, and then settled on a coral porterweed branch. From the branch he could survey the whole yard, preen a little, and flash his two red throat feathers for his favorite photographer!
I wonder how long it will take him to grow his full red gorget.
At one point, I thought I was photographing Zippy nectaring from the salvia. But when I saw the pictures on the computer, it was clear that I had a second hummer. This one is a little girl who lacks Zippy’s juvenile male speckles on his throat. Her tail is different too, showing more white than Zippy’s. TWO hummers – so cool!
I had the Pine and Palm Warblers hopping around all morning. My regular Yellow-throated Warbler was a no-show that morning, as were my Brown Thrashers. Then I did a double-take when I saw a female Black-and-white Warbler hop out over the birdbath. She’s a regular winter visitor to Central Florida but a bit of a surprise in my backyard.
The light got progressively worse and the wind started to pick up. Pretty soon it was time for me to head inside. Zippy gave me one last salvia-nectaring moment that left me grinning from ear to ear. Something tells me I’ll be spending a lot more time in my backyard this spring!
Find my birding list from today on eBird.