Wild and wooly weather here this past week. I’m choosing to share photos that more tell a story than are exquisite or frame -able. The spring-like weather we’d been enjoying brought out the hummingbirds en masse. Usually I see one or two over the winter at the feeders and that had been the case since about Oct/Nov. Then, last week after our weeks of warm sunny weather, the mobs of 12 I usually only see in spring arrived (I think the best shot captures 9 – a few always take off when I start clicking the camera). Hummingbirds do fight over the food – flaring their tail feathers as I captured in a shot you’ll see. Once they’ve established dominance, one bird will sit at and own that feeder to only be challenged occasionally. They nest close to the feeders in the oaks closest to the house, usually one or two in the wisteria on the front porch. The picture of the tangle of vines has the hummingbird nest within. Their behavior was totally spring at the beginning of the week. Then the storm hit. Thursday was whistling whipping winds with sleeting rain. Friday morning, instead of the mobs, I only saw a bird or two. I’m sure many nests were destroyed but it wasn’t yet freezing and don’t have a clue what happened to them. Then of course, the snow came with a vengeance, knocking out my power and hanging deep on the trees that house their nests. For the next two days I’d hear the loud thumps as the snow began to melt and slide like an avalanche from the tree branches.
I used to call the fat guy sitting on the red feeder “Glutton” – one time he kept his head in the feeding tube so long I thought he was stuck and started out to the porch to pull him back. He did stop feeding and then like a cartoon flap his wings while he slowly sunk below porch level as though on a slow elevator. I thought I’d seen him once since the storm but can’t be sure. No one’s sitting on the red or blue feeders even with the sun shining and I’ve only seen a few hummers that I can identify as different in the past few days at the back feeders. It looks like one is trying to own all three back feeders. The jays and larger birds are also about, though also not as prolific as before the storm. I’ve hung up a net filled with dryer lint (for new nests) and will leave bundles of ‘ready made by me’ small clusters of branches about, I’m keeping the feeders fresh and full and putting out some roosting pockets. But, I’m sad as it looks like our surprising storm wounded the amazing little creatures. Thus is my tale of woe.
The human population is mostly back on its feet. Neighbors with longer driveways were out with the chainsaws to clear the fallen trees from the roads to their homes and PG&E had their bucket trucks, monster orange vehicles and Polaris all terrain mountain climbers here in attempts to restore power to neighbors uphill of me (eight or nine homes). The power for the folks at the top of the hill is from lines strung up the vertical hillside, not along the curvy, narrow and steep road they have. My own home is right on the road, something I usually don’t appreciate until winter when I realize I really wouldn’t want to deal with a long road in. Our entire hill is on a “not county maintained” road – so no snow removal. You let the folks with the really big trucks get out first and go back and forth a bit. This storm knocked me out, no power and no power for well = no water, no electric turn on for gas furnace and oven means they don’t work as well, for first 24 hours then again for 8. Luckily, I pack in supplies for the possibility of this happening when I have four or so friends visiting to ski – so when it’s just lil ol me I do fine, if grumpy.
All 16 shots are from the back deck except the hummingbird nest and power lines which are the front.
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