Whatchoo Lookin At?

Hummingbird on a feeder looking at the camera

Whatchoo Lookin At?

Setup the camera on a tripod in the breakfast room and focused on the spot where the hummer was landing with some frequency. Used the IR remote and bounced it off the window pane so I wouldn’t startle the hummer when taking the shot.

The shutter noise didn’t scare him off, but did make the little guy look at the camera and cock his head in a rather quizzical manner.

Hummingbird on a feeder looking at the camera

Whatchoo Lookin At?

First Hummer Of The Season

Ruby Throated Humming Bird

Ruby Throated Humming Bird

We put the feeders out right after the “hurricane” and today we had our first sighting. That’s a Ruby Throated for sure. We saw one other that was very reddish in color. Did not get a picture. I should be able to get some good shots this season since I’ve placed the feeders right outside the kitchen window.

Birdage Report

Blue Jays have been no strangers to our neighborhood but have not really been seen much in our yard despite the ample food in the form of seed and suet. This has changed recently. There’s been a huge Jay coming in from the Magnolia tree in the back of the yard to the feeding area and quickly zooming away. We suspect that one has built a nest either in our back yard or one of the adjacent yards.

He’s quite the site to see.

Photo by Cynthia

On a related note, the House Finches are back and Ricky and Lucy seem to be gearing up to bring us another baby Cardinal.

Today was also our first Hummingbird sighting since putting out the feeders a few weeks ago.

And lastly, a small, fast moving Sapsucker has been sighted in bush outside the front window. I think it’s a male Yellow Bellied. At first I thought it was a Woodpecker due to the very distinct red, black and white markings. He looks like this guy.

Probably the male counterpart to last year’s visitor

For The Birds

Cynthia baked a lemon cake from a recipe she found. After it was done she sampled it an pronounced it “inedible.”

In keeping with our “Waste Not, Want Not” policy she decided to offer it up to the birds in the yard…

The birds seemed to agree with Cynthia’s initial assessment and left the cake uneaten and in tact, even after sprinkling it with bird seed to entice them.


Cynthia and I were heading down Richmond in an effort to get around some congestion on 59 headed back to the house. As we were driving past the Ragin Cajun we noticed the most enormous flock of pigeons in the parking out front of Jarinee’s Dressmaking & Alterations, which is in the same strip center.

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We had to circle back and investigate.

There were hundreds and hundreds of them all in the parking lot. They were also lining the roof of the building.

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Then this man came out of the building and they all took off…

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The birds flew around in a few circles, but landed again pretty quickly and the man just walked amongst them…

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He came over to me and we started talking. His name is Vichien and he’s been working at Jarinee’s Dressmaking & Alterations for over 22 years. He’s been feeding the pigeons for 10 years.

He expressed some sadness as he told me the property had recently been sold to developers and he worried about the fate of his “friends.” Vichien told me how he tried to watch over the pigeons and how much money he’s spent on feed over the years.

As we talked I saw a Red-tail Hawk circling above the parking lot. Vichien clapped his hands and the birds all flew into the sky. This caused the hawk to retreat a bit, but he stayed close. Vichien confided that he’s lost to the hawk on many occasions.

After we were done chatting he went to his truck and pulled out a bag of bird seed and began to pour it onto the pavement. That was a sight to see…

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Before I left Vichien gave me a copy of last month’s Houston Press. He pointed out a picture of himself and said that the Houston Press was making fun of him. He just smiled. He asked if I could bring him a print of one of my pictures and I said I would bring one by when I had a chance.

All in all, it was an odd encounter, but it completely made my day.

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker

I’m home today waiting on a plumber to come and fix a leaking pipe in the ceiling. Since I am home in the daylight I took the opportunity to break out the 300mm telephoto lens and see if I could catch the Sapsucker in action.

He’s losing his fear of me and tends to just go to the other side of the tree trunk as I circle him. I backed off and was able to squeeze off a few shots.

Look how his markings blend with the tree!

And in this next picture notice how the red on his head mimics the redness of the holes he’s pecked in the tree trunk…

Barcelona – Wild Parrots

We were walking toward the Sagrada Familia doing some sightseeing when I heard a VERY familiar bird squawk.

It was the squawk of the Quaker Parrot (aka Monk Parrot) which is the type of bird Cynthia owns, the one that hates me.

We walked into the park and sure enough, up in the tree was a Quaker Parrot

As we looked around we saw more and more of them in the park.

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They were EVERYWHERE! All up in the trees and waddling along the ground competing with the pigeons for food.

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And I am sure they all hated me, just like Mr. Zippers. Just look at them…

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Apparently there’s a very large colony of them in that park. I saw at least 4 or 5 dozen birds and one giant communal nest.

*pictures 1, 2 & 3 courtesy of Cynthia and her excellent telephoto lens.

Retiro Park

Check out this page for all my photos of Retiro Park.

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Yesterday afternoon we decided to head over to Retiro Park. It was threatening rain but we wanted to see it while we had the chance.

Retiro Park is is to Madrid what Central Park is to New York.

Even on an overcast day this place is spectacular. Sculpted gardens and magnificent fountains adorn this 350 acre park in the city center of Madrid.

We didn’t see much wildlife. No obvious squirrels or other critters. We did see many Magpies, though

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I wish we had Magpies back home.

As the weather began to get worse we made our way to the one “must see” attraction in the park, and that’s the Fountain of the Fallen Angel.

The sculpture at the top is a work by Ricardo Bellver (1845″“1924) which represents Lucifer falling from Heaven.

I’m certainly no devil-worshipper, but how can one resist going to see a statue of the devil in a public park?

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