With apologies to Robert Burns, “Hummin’ thro the rye” is what came to my mind after I took these photos of the hummer enveloped by the pineapple sage, which, obviously, bears no resemblance to rye. Sadly, that’s the way my mind works sometimes.
I liked the front view of the hummer in these shots, something a little different from the photographs of hummers I usually post here.
It looks like the next show I’m going to have to start binge-watching is “Orange Is The New Black.” While that has nothing to do with the actual subject of this blog post, the name came to mind when I walked outside with my camera to watch for backyard birds and this orange and black monarch butterfly flew into the yard. Appropriately, it flew to the butterfly bush, landed, sipped some nectar and flew off into the neighbor’s yard, and then, almost immediately, returned to the butterfly bush in my yard. It did that twice, giving me ample opportunity to get up close and personal with the butterfly. I had the 300mm lens with the 1.7x teleconverter and high speed crop set so I was able to almost fill the frame with the subject.
We watched this bull moose for about 5 hours as he rested near us in the tall grass on the edge of the taiga, the swampy coniferous forest that Alaska’s moose favor.
This bull moose had just gotten up from resting on his haunches for 5 about hours. He still looks a little groggy but he’s finally on the move, heading off to forage or maybe to challenge another bull. He didn’t get very far before he stopped to munch. I guess he needed to fuel up before exerting himself.
After reviewing my photographs from the Moose Moose Trip (photographing moose with Moose Peterson) I had to chuckle at this one. Bull moose spend a lot of time laying down and dozing. In fact, we watched a couple of bull moose laying down quite close to us (this shot isn’t cropped) for most of 5 hours on our last full day in Anchorage. Much of the time their heads are up, and they appear to be watching their surroundings and are wary of other bulls approaching but every once in a while, they stretched out and lay their heads down, taking off a little of the burden of the weight of those antlers. This one looks as if he’s still feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders. He reminds me of my brother’s Golden Retriever Mady who has this same look when I’m dog sitting her and she is wondering when I’m going to take her for a walk.
My pineapple sage is in full bloom and the hummers are loving it! I think it’s fascinating that depending on how the light hits the hummer’s gorget, it appears pink, gold, rosy gold, or black. These shots show the same hummer in a series of photos taken over several minutes as it buzzed around in search of the best tasting sage blossom. The gorget color changed with every wingbeat.
I took these shots while sitting on the patio about 12 or 13 feet away from the sage. I hand held the D5 with the 3oomm lens and the 1.7X teleconverter attached and set high speed crop in camera. By the way, if you’re not familiar with the term High Speed Crop (it’s called DX mode in the Nikon manual) the setting basically turns my full frame camera into a crop frame camera, resulting in an in camera crop from FX (full frame) mode at a crop factor of 1.5. With the teleconverter and HSC, my 300mm lens becomes a 750mm lens. HSC is so-called because it increases the frame rate over FX mode.
When we walked along the Coastal Trail in Kinkaid Park in Anchorage, we encountered not only several moose crossing the roadway, but we came across a trio of Spruce Grouse, two females and one male. The male was trying his best to impress the females. When one of the females flew off, the remaining female perched aptly in a spruce tree and watched from afar. She was still there when the male disappeared and we walked on down the road.
When they were on their feet, the bull moose spent most of their energy foraging. They eat lots of willow species and I suspect this might be one variety of willow. Both shots are of the same moose, taken about 5 hours apart. He snoozed a lot in between munchings. We had about 7 different bull moose in our sight but only two or three were close enough to fill the frame like this.
On our last full day in Alaska, at the German Bridge on Campbell Creek, we spent hours watching at least 7 bull moose in the area at one time. The locals who walked by us commented about the rarity of seeing such a thing, especially during rutting season. The bulls were not very aggressive toward one another and, as I posted a couple of days ago, a few even settled into the grass near each other to snooze. I witnessed only two events of aggression and this was the first with the better view. The head butting was a bit halfhearted and between butts, one would lean down and grab a branch to munch on before locking horns again.