Friday, April 30, 2010

Portrait of a Sandylion.

(Two posts in one night! Making up for lost time...)

I realized that I wasn’t going to get the photo I had wanted when I pointed the camera at this cat the other day but Sandylion is adorable pretty much regardless of what he’s doing, so I snapped off two frames anyway. This one didn’t look like much of anything on the camera’s little LCD screen (looked a bit odd, actually, and the other one was beyond boring) but when I opened it in Photoshop... Wow. Didn’t even tweak it beyond a tight crop. Huh. Still a little weird, but surely there's something there beyond great (purely coincidental) focus?

Notice the cat is not looking wistfully out the window... (He's the same one caught looking wistfully in in an earlier post.)


Right on time, too! I put out my hummingbird feeders on April 20th, the traditional arrival date for hummingbirds at my house, but I had errands to run and I didn’t stick around to see if the birds had beat me to the finish once again.

(Feeder by Aspects. Near perfect design, although I’m beginning to wonder if the perches encourage a little too much use…)

On the morning of April 21st, I had just finished reading an email from a cousin (wherein she had thanked me for the reminder to put out hummingbird feeders posted below) when I chanced to glance out my window—just in time to see a hummingbird buzzing around a male cardinal at the peanut feeder (which I had also finally gotten around to refilling the day before). Wrong red object entirely, you insane little creature, but welcome back. Would have made for an interesting voice-over if I had managed a video… "Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! It’s RED! Really red! Lots of red! Is it edible?" (Picture miniature bird darting to and fro with each word, closely scrutinizing from every angle poor daddy red bird, and you get the idea.)

(Photo might appear a bit over-sharpened; had to seriously tweak it. And this time it wasn’t the bird’s fault—he’s sitting still! I need to play more with my telescope/camera set up.)

As an experiment one year, in an attempt to see if the birds really do return to my yard within the same couple of days every year (as well as prevent yet another repeat of being scolded for not having the feeders up on time by a bird barely bigger than a bumble bee) or whether the birds have already arrived and I am merely reminded by the calendar that I need to put out the feeders NOW, I set out the sugar water on the first of April. Most first-sighting reports for ruby-throateds in Cape May County seem to fall between April 1-3, although it generally takes another week or so for multiple and more consistent reports—presumably then of returned residents. And the year I was three weeks early? Yup, it took until the third week before I even heard the familiar buzz and chatter of a hummingbird zinging through my yard.

I have seen at least two individuals during the past week, but so far just males. The girls will show up after the boys have had a chance to get their territories all staked out, more or less.* Now if only I can get the scrappy little terrors to leave the chickadees alone until then… (Hummers aren’t cavity nesters, and other than indulging in an occasional curious impulse the chickadees leave the hummingbird feeders to the hummingbirds.)

* May Day, 7:55am: At least one female has arrived!