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August 10, 2021


I haven't seen any monarchs this year. Haven't had many bumble bees either. But at the same time, I've seen a lot of really small bees, a few blue mud daubers (which suddenly appeared in abundance last year - never had them before),and American Pelecinids. The pelecinids are interesting as their larva are a parasite of scarab beetles - which I had a lot of this year. Usually I have Japanese beetles, but saw none of those this year.

I assume the change in insects this year is from the drought we had for about a year - some species lay low or find better areas to habituate, others come to the forefront.

Contrariwise, Bogie, we have had many more bumble bees than in previous, recent years. I just looked up the blue mud daubers - pretty! We haven't had as many mud daubers, this year, and I don't recall having seen blues at any time; but, who knows? Likewise, I recall seeing only two Japanese beetles this year (saw our first ones a few years ago). I think my count of Monarch sightings for the year is up to three and HH's and my black swallowtail sightings are up to about the same number - caterpillars up to one and four, respectively.

No sightings of hummingbirds, this year, although Elder Brother says his hummingbirds are keeping him busy sterilizing and filling his (small) feeder. Of course, there in Colorado, he gets broadtail and black-chinned.

I've got one female hummingbird, but haven't seen any males. I didn't put up a feeder until 3-4 weeks ago when the female buzzed me on the back porch to check out the potted flowers. I just use a tube feeder so I can tell that it is not hit by a lot of birds.

Bogie--Thanks for the report. I think it was Monday or Tuesday (16th or 17th) when a male hummer came to our sliding glass door to beg while I was fixing supper. I immediately boiled up some sugar water and let it cool while we ate. The next day, I saw one female hummer at the feeder in the late afternoon and saw the blur of motion left by one hummer chasing another at about the same time. Since then, I've seen hummers zing around and flit at the feeders, but never got my eyes and binoculars in focus soon enough to really tell what I was seeing.

Late afternoon, yesterday, I had three separate sightings of male hummers at our feeder; but, again, they wouldn't let me focus in on them. I did see the glints of color off of each - each different. The first was chartreuse green (and it did flick its head from side to side so that I caught the green across the expanse of its throat). The second one looked like a black-chinned to me, but I only caught the inky black/reddish tinge and not a purple band. The third hummer flashed all manner of copper-ish/pinkish/reddish glints. As the birds were not in exactly the same lighting conditions, two having been on different parts of the wrought iron cross-bars and the third having actually been sipping, I don't know whether I saw one, two, or three different birds. Lighting can be tricky on any bird, but especially on hummers.

I called Elder Brother who reminded me that Mexico has some green-throated species and suggested I consult Sibley's big book instead of the Western book at which I had been looking. I have no idea what I saw; but I have eliminated some of the green-throated hummers because, as far as I could tell at a glance, none of the three had a recurve to its bill. Too bad EB wasn't here to ID for me. These migrating birds are not at all what I'm accustomed to seeing.

I've been surprised to see both males and females (not at the same time and who knows if of the same species) since I understood that the sexes migrate separately. Perhaps that is only in the spring migration.

I must get my walk in. I've already done a load of laundry and pre-cooled the house and garage for the heat of the day.

I finally saw a male hummingbird a couple of days ago. NH only has one species of hummingbird (ruby throated), so I don't have to worry about identifying the type :)

I was reading yesterday and saw that the males leave earlier than the females by a couple of weeks. Not sure if that holds true for all of them.

After looking at zillions of still and video photos of hummingbirds and watching the hummingbirds (of both sexes) that are still coming to the feeder, I've decided that the colors I am seeing are the result of light and the funny bounces it takes getting to the hummingbirds. Body-build, wing length and form, bill shape and color all tell me that all of the males that I've seen (whether that be one, two, or three individuals) can be labeled as ruby-throated. I must say, though, that while re-winding the hose, yesterday morning, a hummer flew above me that sounded like a broad-tailed (I didn't see it, only heard it.) But...I think it's just wishful thinking on my part - lol.

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