Monday, August 10, 2009

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and Lucifer Crocosmia (BPW #50)

The evening sun seeped through the leaves of the Cleveland Pear to drop dappled shadows on the stems and flowers now growing at its base. I had just planted four pots of Lucifer Crocosmia and was watching three little Ruby-throated Hummingbirds slowly loosing their senses for its nectar. As the hummingbirds ducked in and out of the cast shadows, the deepened sun lit their feathers to iridescent extremes. I ran in for the camera and began photographing them as they fought viscously over the nectar. I had just brought these fiery red perennials home from the nursery and wondered how long it would take our little residents to find them. It took less than five minutes. They loved its nectar so much they allowed me to stand just feet from the blooms as I photograph them.

Shimmering in direct rays of the evening sun, the
hummers seemed electric. The vibrant crimson and
the shadows in the background added to the drama.

As they sipped the nectar, they didn't care a hoot
that I was shooting only feet from their heads. They
were more worried about fighting each other
to protect their sacred nectar stores!

Slices of evening light hit the feathers just right.
I stood for over 45 minutes as the three fought and
squeaked and squawked at each other. Puffing up to
extremes, they all tried to gain control of these
beautiful flowers with the sweet, sweet nectar!

I took so many photos of the birds in this strange light I probably have enough to last all week!

Note - Lucifer Crocosmia has intense orange-red, tubular-shaped flowers that hang on long and strong stems. Our hummingbirds enjoy perching on the stems while sipping the nectar. Lucifer Crocosmia is only winter hardy in areas where temps don't drop below zero degrees fahrenheit, so it might not work as a perennial in our area--it often dips well below zero in Cincinnati. You can dig up the corm offsets and store them through the winter like a gladiolus.

37 comments:

Greener Bangalore said...

LOVELY KELLY! All Great shots and the explanation as well. The moment I enter your blog, I feel like been to a village side woods...THANKS for sharing with us.

Tabib said...

Beautiful Hummingbirds.
Not easy to photograph this tiny and fast moving bird.

NicoleB said...

Those shots are so awesome!
I've never seen a hummingbird, let alone one that close and in such great lighting.
These are lovely!

Elaine said...

Oh, my, talk about instant gratification! Even if the Crocosmia don't come back it's worth planting new ones every year since the hummingbirds like them so much. I'll bet it's on the top of your list of favorite plants now! And oh, my, the photos are exquisite! The color and the lighting, everything came out just perfect, and your description makes everything really come alive. I'm sad though that the hummingbirds don't migrate this far north. Sigh....

Roy said...

Hey Kelly, your first sentence was pure poetry.
Lovely images of such a colourful little bird.

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Oh! I've never been so close to a hummingbird. It must be a superb feeling. The photographs are perfect. Enjoyed it too much :)

Brand New Blog on Fresh Quotes

Kerri said...

Outstanding! You've done a great job capturing this flighty fellas!

DK Miller said...

Wow!! Those are beautiful photos of the hummingbird. How cool they let you so close.

Laure Ferlita said...

Amazing! What great photos! And I need to get some of these plants!

JKoenig said...

How amazing they found the flowers so quickly. As I have watched them here it almost seems like they have their path all mapped out and keep going back to the same places every few minutes. I especially like that last shot.

Maybe I'll go buy some new/fresh red flowers for on my deck!!

Have a beautiful day, Kelly. You always make mine brighter!

Gabrielle said...

Kelly does it again! Those are just amazing shots - the lighting is incredible. Perfect for a sketch or a painting, hint hint.

Thanks for mentioning about the LC plant. We've seen it over on the coast and I had wondered if we could grow it here. I love its structure and intense color. I might have to give it a try next year, even if I do have to dig it up for the winter.

Montanagirl said...

Kelly, these are wonderful shots of the Hummers! The colors and lighting really do add the pizazz. Great job!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

These are wonderful, Kelly! I'm off to see if I can find these plants at my local nursery. :) Out of all the photos I shot of the bird I featured today, that was the only one that was worth posting. I'd love to have a plant that encouraged them to perch and feed like this one did for yours. Stunning post!

Nature As Is said...

Wow Wow and Wow good captures Kelly!!! Wonderful little things aren't they. I just love hummingbirds, I don't care about what species they are...I would love them no matter what.
Have a wonderful day.

holdingmoments said...

Those are stunning Kelly!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Great pictures of the hummingbird, Kel. We finally have a few around here (not too many)--but I still haven't been able to get a photo yet.

Hope you are having a good summer.
Love you,
Bets

Warren Baker said...

I think these photo's are your best yet. Well done kelly.

JPT said...

Great shots - as usual.

Hilke Breder said...

Enchanting! Beautiful description and photos, Kelly. I have to get some of these plant in pots for my deck.

Jenny said...

Beautiful images and words as usual Kelly. Are you like me in that you forget to breathe when you're in that sort of situation? Obviously not for 45 minutes, but you know what I mean! (-:

madahmas said...

Incredible shots of the hummingbird. Very pretty.

Susan Ellis said...

Words fail. 'Amazing' is inadequate.Seriously, you are a gifted photographer/observer.

Alan said...

Amazing photos Kelly! Thanks for the information on the Lucifer Crocosmia. I'm going to look into getting some of these.

Tammie Lee said...

these portraits are extra ordinary! The light is divine and your wording of the event is lovely. Thank you for sharing life through your life and lens!
Spirithelpers

Cindy said...

Amazing photos. The birds are beautiful. I saw one the other morning out the front bedroom window. It looked to be almost all black or a dark color like blue or green. Either way it was gorgeous. Really awesome shots.

mick said...

Those hummingbirds are amazing birds and you have captured them perfectly. I like the flowers too. Wonder if it would grow out here. Must try and find out.

Shekinah Photography said...

Loved your beautiful hummer images! I've yet to capture the ones in my yard as nicely. I did just get some of chicks in their nest and mom feeding them though and blogged about them. Feel free to stop by and read it. http://shotsnthoughts.blogspot.com/

Midmarsh John said...

How marvellous to have such pretty birds come to your new plants so quickly. Stunningly beautiful photographs.

Jayne said...

Oh Kelly, I am catching my breath! These are exquisite!!!!

ShySongbird said...

OH WOW Kelly! what stunning photos. How I wish we had Humming Birds here! I have had Crocosmia Lucifer for some years and our Winter temperatures regularly drop well below zero and mine come back time and time again so I don't think you will have a problem, they spread easily too.

Linda McGeary said...

Such beautiful little birds. Seeing them always starts a little leap of joy in me.
I must say, birding must be a very healthy hobby/passion, as you are out walking all over the place to get these great pictures. The little Wrens a few posts back are so adorable. I always thought of my Mother as a little Wren.
Thank you so much for your great pictures and descriptions.
I'd be surprised if you don't write a book. But then you already have...right here.

Kelly said...

...aren't these little gems incredible. Perfect evening light and shadows in the pines standing behind--combined with the nectar of these incredible flowers, created these beautiful photos. I'm so glad I was there at the perfect moment. I wish it had lasted longer than 45 minutes. I doubt I'll ever be able to recapture that time. Thank you for all of your kind comments. I love birds--and photographing and writing about them (and am so happy others do too!).

dAwN said...

Breathtaking Kelly! all of these photos are amazing!

Larry said...

Amazing captures of these shining jewels Kelly! Absolutely breathtaking! You really captured the feeling of the moment.

RuthieJ said...

Wow, Kelly, that's so amazing. I'm going to have to look for that plant around here and see if I can try to winter it over. Thanks for the tip on a sure-fire hummingbird attractor.

yen said...

Great shots...

Mary said...

Definitely some of the best hummer photos I have seen in all of these posts!