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Austin, TX...first visitor!

Posted by tess_tx TX (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 12, 07 at 13:58

So exciting! I got out a feeder yesterday and we had our first official visitor just after noon today!

This will be our first year with a pool...when the pumps are running there is a waterfall activated, since it turns on at noon I wonder if that had anything to do with timing? I know that Hummingbirds are supposed to like running water so it will be interesting to see if or how that effects our visitors. The past two years we've had a pretty steady group, generally 6 or 8 hanging about fighting over who gets what. We had hoped that the big change of landscaping wouldn't adversely effect them but were worried. Hopefully this is a good sign of, if you feed them, they will come!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Congrats Tess!!!!

Penny


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor! follow up

:-) Thanks Penny!

My yard is still not quite hummer worthy but the plants are in we just need some blooms! I have coral honeysuckle vine that was popular last year, bush honeysuckle, 2 pride of barbados that are just starting to come back(they LOVE those!), a new dwarf bottle brush, hotlips sage and a few other things more for me than for them...

I sat in the hot tub last night after work with a glass of wine and saw two more fly over. They didn't stop this time but I got out an additional feeder out this morning and my binoculars and camera are ready to go so I'm ready and waiting for the season to start in ernest!


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

What an idyllic scene--you in your hot tub, glass of wine in hand, watching the hummingbirds flit about. You sure know how to live!

Congratulations on the return of your hummers! We've got at least a month of waiting before they return. Unfortunately, the best I'll be able to manage is a seat at the dining room table, or a folding chair on the front lawn! Not exactly the luxury of a hot tub, but I'll take it just to see those little darlings come back.

Still, that hot tub sounds mighty nice...


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor! kw

Hi Kristen...I practically had to pinch myself last night to convince myself I was awake. We were going to move last year until we saw the prices of homes closer to Austin (we live right next to the boonies ;-)) So instead of getting the same house closer to my work for 3x the price we decided to invest in pool/hot tub. I wouldn't change anything!

I promise to take some hummer pictures as soon as I can and post them here to make your long wait a little more fun. We've been actively feeding them for the past 2 seasons but this year I'm going to try and actually figure out which breeds we have and how many if possible. I have a Sibley guide and I think I am guessing right but I'll look for the seasoned birder here for confirmation.


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Hey Tess,
Are you the same Tess that is on the Matt & Shari message board by any chance. You can email me off list if you prefer.

Penny


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Hi Tess, It looks like your breeding hummingbirds would be either the Ruby-throated, or the Black-chinned. I was just consulting my field guides and realizing that you live in the one part of the country where the breeding ranges of these species overlap. I don't think I saw a Black-chinned when I was visiting my sister in California. I think I saw mostly Anna's. It looks like the Ruby-throat and Black-chinned are very closely related and similar to one another. Good luck telling them apart!

I just looked in my National Geographic guide and it says that the females and immatures of both species are almost impossible to tell apart in the field. The female Ruby-throats are supposed to have greener crowns than the female Black-chinned, but that would be tricky to see, I think, with the iridescence and all. It also says that Ruby-throats have shorter bills, but with individual variation, I think it would be tough to say unless you got a very short or long-billed individual. Of course, if you get a good view of the male's throat, the males could be easily told apart. Also, the tail in flight is supposed to be twitchier in the Black-chinned than in the Ruby-throat. The last thing they mention is that the individual feathers in the wing of a Ruby-throat are more pointed. The Black-chinned have more blunted tips. If you can get a really good, stop-action photo, you might be able to see this.

It looks like you might get wintering Broad-tailed and Rufous Hummingbirds, or even a stray wintering Ruby-throat. With rare exceptions, we only get the one species. It's too bad they're only here for about 5 months, but maybe it helps us appreciate them all the more!

Please do show us any photos you take of your birds. I'd love to see them. I hope you have better luck than I've been having in sharing my photos. I've been trying to post images of my home made hummingbird feeders in a different thread, but am having trouble getting them to be viewable. People were seeing the boxes with red x's in them instead of the pictures. I resubmitted them, and I may have corrected the problem, but there's no way for me to know if they came through unless someone tells me. If you have a chance between sips of wine (sorry, I couldn't resist!) could you check them out and let me know if you can see them? Penny and hummersteve weren't able to view the first set, but I'm hoping the resubmitted set is now visible.


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor! k

Hi Penny...no sorry, must be a differet Tess.

Wow Kristen! Thanks for all the information!! I know that we do have the occasional Ruby Throat (males make those hard to miss!) I'm pretty sure that the majority I get are Black Chin but I'm excited to try and capture them on film and see if Y'all agree. I found gardenweb in my research from our pool build so I learned how to post pictures there so I'm assuming the same process will work here. I'm pretty sure I saw the pictures of your feeders on another thread but I'll pop out of here and confirm it.

Tess


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Now what are the chances of two people being from Austin with the name Tess and having tess_tx as a login.

Penny


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Really? I assume that the board you mentioned is actually called that, right? I do post on two other forums here, cooking and pool/spa.


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Hi Tess. No the Matt and Shari message board is on the Matt & Shari Real Decorating for Real People website. I don't know if you ever watched Room by Room on HGTV with Matt Fox and Shari Hiller but it is their website.

Penny


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Tess,
Great news for you. I've had mine out in South Austin a few weeks already, but haven't seen any visitors yet. My redbuds in the front yard have been blooming for a week, and the red and pink salivas just started opening up yesterday.

Last year I had 3 that would hang around the feeder on the back patio. I'm thinking of placing a feeder up front so there will be less "fights".

So far my best luck has been with Salvias. The crossvine and trumpetvine I planted last year didn't really do much; if they don't perform this year I'll probably replace them with Maypop passionvine for the Gulf Fritillaries. The whole year, the trumpetvine only had 6 flowers on one location on one branch! It did manage to grow over a good 10' long portion of the fence, but I was expecting a wall of flowers...

Some of the new stuff I'm trying this year is red buckeye, red columbine, and single-flowering Rose-of-Sharon.


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Don't know if this would interest you guys, but there's a hummingbird sightings map where you can click on the location dots and see where the reports came from. It looks like you can also contact the observer. There's a dot on Austin, TX. Just click on the "i" for info, then on the white dot on Austin, and a window will open with a little bit of information about that sighting. That particular sighting doesn't list the name of the observer, but I think some of them do.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sightings map with clickable info


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

The sighting from Austin was one that was reported through Lanny Chambers website at hummingbirds.net that is why there is no name for the person who reported in. There is no way to contact that person.

Rich, as far as Trumpet vine goes, it can take a few years before it really takes off depending on the age of the plant when you got it but once it matures enough it will be a great bloomer. I started one from seed last year and it grew over 10 ft its first summer. I am not expecting blooms for 3-4 more years but I don't need the blooms as I have my coral honeysuckle which blooms from spring to killing frost trumpet vine blooms late season and crossvine blooms early season.

Penny


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor! r

Penny, I have seen that show but haven't been to that site...guess I just don't have a very original nickname!

Richard...I'm actually Northwest of Austin, Leander area, I'm surprised you haven't seen more. However, my husband works from home and we just started heating the pool for the year so like two little children we spend just about every waking moment out in our back yard! At this point they don't seem to be hanging about much so I think the few I'm seeing are really passing thru on their way further north.

By far our most popular plant/feeder combo was the Pride of Barbados...it got to be about 9' tall last year and the flowers combined with the feeder tucked away in it's branches was a terrific draw. This year we've planted an additional one, plus the coral honeysuckle, and I'm our to locate some smaller things to put into pots and scatter about. Are you seeing many wildflowers South yet? last year I remember TONS of them and I thought that coincided with the majority of the hummers...this year I've only seen a few so far.


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Once some space frees up, I'll try adding a Pride of Barbados to my collection. :) The bluebonnets are just starting right now; I haven't seen much else for wildflowers other than the common yellow mustard all over the roadways (see http://www.texasinvasives.org/Invasives_Database/Results/Detail.asp?Symbol=RARU for details).

LBJWFRC is saying that this year could be a bumper crop for wildflowers (http://www.wildflower.org/?nd=forecast), hopefully that means a bumper crop of hummers and butterflies!

Here is a link that might be useful: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center prediction on flowers


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Pride of Barbados? I had no idea what it was until I googled it. What an amazing and gorgeous flower! I'd love to make a hummingbird feeder from it, but don't have any real, live ones around here to look at. Also, the long stamens would be too fragile unless I reinforced them inside with very fine stainless steel wire. Also, they would be stiff and might interfere with the hummer's path to the flower, so I might not be able to do it. This flower would not be the same without those long, graceful stamens.

Just in case I do want to do a feeder based on this flower, where does the nectar come from? I found a picture on Dave's Garden and scribbled in what I think I'm seeing. Does anyone know, or is it hard to remember such a minor detail like that?

Sorry to mar such a beautiful photo, but is this what you're growing, and do the birds go to the spot I'm indicating?

Here's a link to the entire picture. I can't get over what a gorgeous flower that is. I had never seen or heard of one before.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pride of Barbados from Dave's Garden site


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Kristen,
Email me off list


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Well, he wasn't being very coorporative posing but I did finally catch him in the red-bud tree. Kristin, I think that you have the placement correct, to be honest I don't exactly remember and the plant dies back to stumps here so I can't look at it now.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Thanks for the picture, Tess. Is that a male Black-chinned or a Ruby-throat?

As for the Pride of Barbados picture, it's amazing how hard it can be to understand photographs. It seems like there is a central tubular structure with yellow ruffles around the rim, and I'm assuming the nectar is inside that. Too bad yours isn't blooming yet, or you could just check. Maybe my eyes are playing tricks on me.

I'm going to check our local conservatory and see if they might be growing these or something similar. I'd love to get a look at one, but I've never known of anyone who grew them around here!

Like the rest of the northeast, we are being blanketed with snow--3" and still coming down. Quite a contrast to your blooming redbud!


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Tess,
Is that little guy actually nectaring at the redbud, or just visiting? I've got two in my front yard, but haven't seen anything yet.

Penny,
Thanks for the tip on the trumpetvine, I guess I'll keep it around. It and the passionvine can duke it out. :) It's funny that the "tropical" passionvine made it through our harsh winter (for Texas) this year without losing any leaves.

I also planted about 500 mixed bulbs of glads a few weeks ago; they're just now starting to come up. I mostly chose yellow-red and yellow with one bag of pink. Hopefully they'll help keep the hummingbirds around...


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor! x

Hi Kristin, I looked in my old pictures but I don't have one that shows the Pride blooming...there are different kinds, at least according to my nursery guy, the picture you have up is from South America (yellow with orange) the one from Barbados is orange with yellow and I think the flower looked a bit different but it won't bloom until May/June if I remember correctly so we have a while to wait!

Richard, we have two black chin's so far that are hanging out, one consistantly goes into the redbud and seems to be feeding there or at least trying. No idea if he is actually succeeding or not, I don't remember seeing this happen before this year. BUT I also didn't start feeding anywhere near this early last year so I'm not sure if I just missed it or what.

Penny, is there something I should know about the Barbados?


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RE: Austin, TX...first visitor!

Hi Tess, No nothing at all. I just had a question for Kristin as I know she likes to make flowers of different kinds and I was trying to get her attention before I went to bed LOL!

Richard, I had a passion vine up here in NY for a few years. They are much hardier than we imagine. I finally got rid of it b/c it attracted more carpenter bees than anything else. Don't recall which Passion vine it was though. My Trumpet vine is still in a large container as I haven't figured out a SAFE place to plant it yet where it won't invade my other beds. I am thinking of putting it out by the road on the telephone pole.

Penny


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