Mine

Mine, mine, mine!  The Ruby Throated Hummingbirds are making a migration stop in the Automatic Garden.

It has been pandemonium or hummermonium around the feeders.  Some clever little birds decided to guard the feeders and chase the others away.

Dueling Hummers sit opposite each other fiercely defending the food source. The fights have been brutal, including wrestling each other to the ground. The hits are loud and are accompanied  with Hummingbird screams.

I have located 4 feeders in the yard and the Automatic Garden came through the storm rather well with flowers continuing to bloom.

From the perch on the back porch, this Hummer can survey all the feeders.  The bird was so absorbed with keeping an eye on the others, it never noticed me standing 12 inches away.  (This photo was later taken through a window.)

I know the Hummingbirds need to head south, but I am hoping they will stay for awhile.

 


Hummer Madness

Hummingbird madness descended on the Automatic Garden this morning.  The little birds are impossible to count, but there may have been nearly 10 participating in a feeding frenzy.  The little Ruby Throated hummers are also impossible to photograph, but these pictures give an idea of the action.

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The sparring was rampant.  Little bodies clashed with thudding sounds and dropped to the ground.  Bees were chased away by screeching hummers using their beaks like swords.

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There were moments of rest between fights.

DSC_0451Clever hummingbirds took advantage of the feeders while the rest of the birds chased each other.

This group will probably be here a day or two during their migration, loading up on nectar from Hummingbird Bush, Cigar Plant, Bottlebrush, Salvias, Mist Flowers and good old sugar in the feeders.

I wish them well on their trip south and the garden will be ready for the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds’ return.


An Old Friend?

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Could this be my old friend The Guard?  He was the Hummingbird that sat on the on the trellis protecting the feeder from intruders. The place and time are about the same.

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Actually, Hummingbirds are likely to follow the same migration route and remember where to find flowers and feeders.  After arriving on the Gulf Coast, the Ruby Throats need to fatten up for the 500 mile trip to Mexico and some go as far as Northern Panama.  It is nice to think that the Hummingbirds remember the Automatic Garden.


Flashback Friday

And the seasons they go round and round

It seems unbelievable that Autumn is almost here.  On the Gulf Coast it is really hard to tell as the changes are very subtle.  Temperatures can still hit the 90’s and the flowers are blooming or reblooming (they like to rest for summer). If you garden here long enough, the changes become more obvious.

One change is the arrival of migrating hummingbirds and butterflies.  My flashback is to a post about nature providing fuel just in time for the migrating creatures.

Fuel…

 


Sugar Addicts Heed Nature’s Call

The cool winter months brought some northern visitors to the Automatic Garden.  They were attracted by the flowering plants, but the supplemental sugar really kept them happy.  From dawn to dusk the sugar birds could not leave the sweet nectar.  It is not unusual for a Rufous Hummingbird to enjoy the liquid sugar, even a Ruby-crowned Kinglet will indulge, but I really think it might have been a new experience for the Yellow-rumped Warbler, who could not leave the feeder and spent a lot of energy chasing the rest away.

I was afraid that the birds may not be  able to break their sugar addiction, but the weather changed and nature called them back to their northern homes.

And as the seasons always return, so did the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds taking their place at the feeders and flowers.

 


The Guard

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After being gone for a few days, I found this little hummingbird taking up a guard post on the back porch.  The little bird spent the first few days after its arrival chasing around the two local hummers that had spent the summer in the Automatic Garden.  Then the Bottlebrush (blurry red in upper right of photo)  started to bloom and the hummingbird population almost tripled.  The guard bird had its work cut out.  To help ease its ceaseless  duties, I added a feeder to the trellis  guard post.  This hummingbird seems somewhat different from the usual visitors.  It has a bright orange spot on  either side of its neck below the eyes.  Maybe an immature Allen’s?  If there are any experts out there let me know.

All of nature continues in a cycle every year with very little changes.  As I started this post, I realized I had already ready written it.  Please check out Fuel.


Revived, Resurrected, Renewed

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This past winter was one of the coldest we have had in awhile.  It was hard to see many plants that have been growing for years in the Automatic Garden succumb to the cold temperatures.  This is a patch of Fountain Plant (Russelia equisetiformis) that has never died back until this year.

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The Sword Ferns have been a reliable plant reproducing to the point of needing to be thinned.  But it could not take the cold either.

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Just when you might think all is lost, nature does her tricks and revives the lost plants.  The Fountain Plant is back, but not to the point of blooming yet.  Hopefully, its red tubular flowers will come in time for fall migrations of hummingbirds and butterflies.

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The Sword Fern renewed so vigorously that stray ferns had to be pulled.  It is exhilarating to see plants that were thought to be lost resurrected.

 

 

 


Pop, Pop, Pop

The trees and shrubs suddenly popped with flowers!  It seemed to happen over night.  Each morning in spring holds a new surprise to start the day.

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The Fringe Tree opened its leaves and wispy flowers practically at the same time.

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Nature does a great job timing the Weeping Bottle Brush blooms with the return of the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds.  The hummers would not pose for a photo!

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This shrub popped full of flowers all at once.  Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow starts with purple flowers that fade to lavender and then to white.

 


If I Could Have Only One Tree…

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It would be the Weeping Bottle Brush (Callistemon viminalis).

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In the spring it is loaded with luscious red brush-like flowers.

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It will lightly bloom again in the fall.

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Bees love it.

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It blooms just in time for the hummingbird migration.  The tree buzzes with hummingbirds and even though there seems to be enough for all, the little birds spar with each providing exciting entertainment.

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The Weeping Bottle Brush is evergreen and provides shelter year-round for birds.


Fuel …just in time for fall migration

Pentas ((Pentas lanceolata)  had a lazy summer, but perked up for fall.

Wild ageratum (Eupatorium coelestinum) planted itself in the garden and is now in full bloom.

Firecracker (Russelia equisetiformis)  growing in a pot low to the ground doesn’t stop hummers from visiting.

Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa) is blooming in time for Monarchs and hummingbirds.

Cigar plant (Cuphea micropetala) is hugely attractive to hummingbirds.

Pam’s Pink turk’s cap provides plenty of fuel.

Hummingbird Bush (Hamelia patens) is the number one favorite of hummingbirds.

Salvias. Bees need fuel too.

Weeping Bottlebrush (Callistemon viminalis) This tree just re-bloomed and is buzzing with hummers.

A hummingbird sitting still for a moment.

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Fall is a great time of the year to be on the Gulf Coast. Hummingbirds and Monarch butterflies are passing through on their way to warmer winters.  Today the garden was humming with six little Ruby Throats vying for fuel for the long trip ahead.  Nature is in sync with the migration as many flowers re-bloom for the season.