Hummingbirds and Cherry Blossoms

Elly and I took sushi to the Arboretum for lunch, intending to spend the afternoon looking at the blooming cherry trees. We found more than we bargained for, though.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

1: We set up next to a set of stone steps

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2: And beside a duck pond

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3: Wider shot of the stone steps

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4: The duck pond had turtles!

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5: Our Protagonist enjoys his vegetarian sushi

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6: Elly enjoys her non-vegetarian sushi

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7: Relaxing under a Prunus subhirtella

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8: A cherry blossom sits on the ground

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9: Petals littered the ground at places

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10: Cherry blossom petals

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11: I found a nice tree in the sun and called Elly over

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12: She seemed to like the relocation

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13: Elly immediately spotted the Lysichiton americanus lurking nearby

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14: And I commenced taking photos of the cherry blossoms

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15: And the surrounding greenery

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16: Turns out that gold reflectors really do add a colour cast, don't they?

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17: Elly spotted a visitor flitting amongst the blossoms!

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18: A female Calypte anna was moving from flower to flower, methodically eating the tree.

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19: I didn't bring a birding lens, so these were all taken with the 70-200mm. That lens really isn't long enough for this kind of work.

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20: She was really enjoying the flowers

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21: She was moving so fast and unpredictably that it was remarkably hard to get good shots of her.

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22: She was frequently obscured by the flowers, and sometimes you couldn't see her at all

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23: And most of the time, she seemed to be keeping her derrière pointed firmly in our direction. They're fairly insolent little things, so it's entirely possible that this was on purpose.

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24: But every once in a while I'd get a profile shot

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25: …every once in a great while

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26: And sometimes the light would catch her feathers just right

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27: But the sun wasn't at the right angle to really get her feathers to light up

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28: Birds-eye view! You can see her nose stuck firmly in the depths of the blossom.

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29: This really was an idyllic spot

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30: There were a couple of Nymphalis antiopa in the area

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31: And Turdus migratorius

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32: A clump of Cladonia rangiferina rests against the earth

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33: Our Protagonist poses under the hummingbird tree

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34: We also had a couple of Sitta canadensis hanging about, although I didn't get any good shots of them.

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35: Competition! Hummingbirds are territorial, and this tree was definitely owned by the little lady we saw earlier.

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36: This guy was sneaking in when he could to grab a couple of flowers, but as soon as she saw him, she'd chitter angrily and drive him off.

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37: I didn't quite get the right angle to see his neck feathers iridesce. If you look really closely, you can see pollen grains on his beak.

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38: He wasn't happy about the pollen and would rub it off against the tree when it got to be too much.

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39: It's a little hard to be sure, but I think this might have been another interloper.

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40: There were definitely three hummingbirds in the tree at one point—two furtive ones and one very very angry one.

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41: Note the transparent wing feathers.

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42: Their body shape changes dramatically as they maneuver.

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43: A random branch strikes again. This would have been the winner shot of the day, except for that twig across her head.

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44: Shooting through the tree can produce interesting effects.

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45: One last shot of the owner, enjoying her tree.

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46: The tree, in all its glory!

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47: Don't we look all relaxed after our day with the hummingbirds? :)

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