Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Magnificent Hummingbird 8-16-09 by Gusto!

Magnificent Hummingbird by Gusto! 8-16-09

Magnificent Hummingbird with green gorget flashing.

Magnificent Hummingbird in a pine tree. 8-16-09

Magnificent hummingbird at feeder with other hummers.

On Sunday Gus and I took a drive up Mt Lemmon, a 9000 ft mountain located at the northeast side of Tucson in the Catalina Mountains. A drive up the Catalina Highway starts in the Sonoran Desert with towering saguaros. As we head up the highway the temperature is already 98 degrees F at noontime. As the road follows the steep switchbacks higher and higher we watch the temperature gauge drop and the terrain around us changes from sonoran desert to mountain pine forest. By the time we reach the Palisades Visitor Center the temperature has dropped to 77 degrees!

Today Gus is taking the photos as I have injured my left arm trying to put away a suitcase on a shelf high overhead and strained my rotator cuff. I am alright but the gist of the matter is, I can't use my left arm. So Gus is doing all the photography today. That's fine by me. I am pleased that he is with me and that he finds pleasure in photographing the birds. We scurry out of the car, for the Plaisades Visitor Center is well known as a great location to see a Magnificent hummingbird. If I do see one here it will be a *Life Bird for me.

We take up positions on the deck of the visitor center and watch as broad-tailed hummingbirds and rufous buzz and whizz by. They land at the feeder in groups and drive each other away fiercely. Then suddenly a large black looking hummer lands on the perch, dwarfing the rest of the birds. In the shadows he appears black but then the sunlight bounces off his throat and the lime green gorget flashes like a neon sign. After drinking a moment he flies off into the nearby pine tree and lands on a slim twig. I watch with mouth agape as the smaller hummers dive past him and he flashes his feathers once again. This time I see not only the lime green gorget, but the purple crown feathers on his head. Is there any wonder they named this bird "Magnificent?"

Magnificent Hummingbird at feeder, Palisades Visitor Center,
Mt Lemmon, AZ 8-16-09 by Gusto!
with the Nikon D80 set in sports mode.

and that's...

Go visit!
*Life Bird-the first time one sees a species of bird and adds it to their Life List. Most birders maintain a list of all the bird species they ave seen in their lives. I am no exception. I have been keeping a list since I was around 16 years old. This makes #355 for me, but I have not entered all my historical data into eBird yet and this number could change.


Gaelyn said...

Wow, that is a Magnificent hummer. Never seen or heard of before. I like the white by it's eye, plus the green gorget and purple crown. It's so Big. Hope your doing better soon. Not that Gus isn't a good photographer. Are typing one handed?

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Gorgeous!! Glad Gus could take over for you. His wrist must be mending all right? Take care of your shoulder Kathie!

bobbie said...

Your magnificent hummers are, indeed, magnificent! I'm amazed at their size. I am also amazed at 5 hummers at one feeder. Mine are so territorial, they constantly drive one another away. I've never had more than one feeding at a time.

Hope you are soon back to use of your arm, Kathie.

Kathryn said...

Boy, he is huge, isn't he? Great pictures. Hope you are doing better soon.

Kathie Brown said...

Gaelyn, Lynne and bobbie, thanks for stopping by and saying HI!

I was typing one handed on Saturday but after several doses of pain meds and Arnica I am doing very well today, thank you! I HATE it when anything slows me down. We were going to head up Mt. Lemmon on saturday but instead spent the morning in urgent care and the afternoon at home in a chair watching TV! I was so glad we were able to get out on Sunday.

BTW, by the time we came down the mountain the temp was 103F in Tucson!

Kathie Brown said...

Hey Kathryn, You would love to see this bird but you would have to come visit in the late spring or summer as it migrates back south for the winter.

Anonymous said...

oh what a cute hummer...lovely pics..

health and peace to you and your family..

SandyCarlson said...

Magic. These are just wonderful. I have never seen such great shots of these guys.

I hope your arm mends!

Rajesh said...

Truly amazing snaps. Never seen so many humming birds in one place before.

Texas Travelers said...

I agree. Magnificent.


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Bernie said...

I agree Kathie, your life is magnificent and so are these beautiful pictures. I have never seen a more beautiful photo of a humming bird.
Hope your arm is better, and that your dog and your husbands hand are both doing well.
Thank you for sharing....."-) Hugs

chrome3d said...

The moment when it landed with all those wings flapping was just magic all the way.

Arija said...

Kathie i am sorry about your injury, but kind of glad that Gus was with you to share the thrill of seeing this superb Hummingbird.

Janice / Dancing with Sunflowers said...

I had never heard of the 'life bird' concept before - but I would love to see a hummingbird in real life! This magnificent hummingbird certainly lives up to its name!

ninja said...

I wont be original saying it truly is magnificent but that comment goes really well with your post.

Esther Garvi said...

What a beautiful hummingbird!!

Dawn Fine said...

Yes..magnificent hummer for sure..in name and size and beauty..
I really like the pics that show it compared with the other hummers!

Dawn Fine said...

Oh dear..yes.. i forgot to say...hope your rotator cuff heals quickly!