Looking for My Mom’s Banded Hummingbirds

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In January, Fred Bassett returned to Central Florida and spent a few hours banding hummingbirds at my parents’ house. In 2020, he banded two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at their feeder. This year, he banded two more: two juvenile males who had tiny spots of red in what will grow up to be a full red gorget.

A few weeks later, my mom asked me to bring The Beast over to see if I could re-locate her banded birds. It’s very hard to photograph a banded hummingbird since they don’t exactly fly with their legs extended towards the camera! But I gave it a try. It was very fun to hang out with my parents and watch their hummers fight over the feeders. There were at least three birds and they had several mid-air “discussions” over who should get a turn at the nectar!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

What do you think – is there a band on the left leg? There appears to be a ring, but I can’t see the whole thing. Here is the full-resolution image. I ran it through Topaz Sharpen to bring out the small details.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - Maybe Banded?
Ruby-throated Hummingbird – Maybe Banded?

Here is the other hummer I photographed that afternoon. He’s another juvenile male Ruby-throated Hummingbird. His neck markings are different enough to distinguish him from his buddy. My parents think the birds are nest mates since they are always together. That would be fun, especially if it means that the birds nest near my parents’ house!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

On a few of the images, I caught the bird’s tongue out! In this last image, we again have the first bird, and he turned to wink at me before he zoomed away!

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Oh My Gosh! “Esperanza” Cross-stitch Project

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It’s been a while since I posted regularly, and today I will share why. I’ve been a little obsessed with my latest project, a cross-stitch based on a Sandhill Crane nest that I photographed in 2014. Long-time readers of my blog will remember that I actually got to see a colt hatch from its egg. It was such an amazing experience that it was the first image that came to mind when I discovered a new program to convert images to cross-stitch patterns.

Finished
Esperanza

I started this project on New Year’s Eve and finished it on March 5. It contains just under 40,000 stitches. This was my first time stitching on 25 count fabric. That means you make 25 crosses per inch – in other words, it’s really small. Rich calls this “high definition” cross-stitch! This was also my first time stitching on black fabric, which turned out to be challenging but manageable. Every time I’d step back and see what I was creating, I’d squeal “oh my gosh!”

I’ve been cross-stitching since I was a little girl, and I’ve always wanted to make a video to show the progression of a project. So with this project, I took a picture every time I completed 1% of the total design. I aligned the images in Photoshop and stitched them together to form a video. I hope you enjoy it!

I titled this one “Esperanza”, which is the Spanish word for hope. With the arrival of the spring, I hope to have more special moments to photograph and share!

Surprise American White Pelicans

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In mid-January, Rich and I came across a fun surprise on our afternoon walks. A flock of American White Pelicans had taken over one of our ponds for swimming practice! They obligingly stayed while I went home to grab the camera.

American White Pelican
American White Pelican

This was the first time we’d seen American White Pelicans in the neighborhood, and the cats scurried to update their neighborhood list. Photographing the birds in the harsh afternoon light with the reflections of many houses in the water proved to be a challenge, but I got a few keepers.

The pelicans weren’t the only ones using the pond that afternoon. A sizable flock of Double-crested Cormorants was also swimming laps that afternoon. One bird was sporting the double crest of his breeding plumage. It reminded me that, despite the day’s cold-snap temperatures, the birds know that spring is right around the corner!

Double-crested Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant

After a little while, the pelicans decided to move on. One after one, they lined up on a makeshift water runway, swimming its length and flapping vigorously as they took to the air. I waved goodbye and thanked them for flight shot opportunities. Maybe they will come back tomorrow. :)

American White Pelican
American White Pelican