There are so many hummingbirds in the Wind River Canyon right now that they drained their favorite feeder in less then 23 hours! Running four busy hummingbird-feeders is a commitment, but it does pay rewards that can never be fully understood. They have no natural enemies, other than stupid humans, that is, so they have little to fear in Wyoming; so few people.
Of course, these amazing birds would still be here without me; I'm just the hired help after all. I guess I just make things a little bit easier, as should we all when it comes to the wild things. There are so few unspoiled places left for wildlife to survive without the destructive nature of mankind, and that's my lecture for today's Wind River Canyon Blog.
Two days ago, Thursday the 12th of July, I was in my favorite "high-hide" trying to take photographs of our hummingbirds. It was so hot that the sweat was dripping in my eyes, making it difficult to see my hummers. I tied a bandanna to my forehead and kept shooting away with my Canon on a tripod.
It is hot, laborious work....and I love it! In between gulps of my cold-tea and maybe a dozen hummingbirds and a hundred frames, it started to happen. One of the Rufous males was putting on a display; most likely not for me, but it seemed that way at the time. With the Tamron 150-600mm G2 lens on the tripod set at 500mm, I let go with a burst @ 8 frames a second; and that's how long this hummingbird's display lasted----one second!! One particular image was exactly what I had in my mind's eye; the photograph is below. Early this morning, Saturday the 14th of July, with the hummingbird-feeder near empty, I cleaned it, filled it with homemade nectar (pure-sugar water), and sat down with a camera and my old-favorite lens, the 70-200mm F/4L Canon.
After loads of patience and a few nasty words under my breath, I'd gotten the pictures I wanted of a male Rufous Hummingbird. I shot these two photographs (because we couldn't decide which we liked more) with manual exposure settings & manual focus! He was sitting on an ancient basket handle in the shade, the Sun blazing down on the Wind River Canyon behind him.
It took few extra brain cells to make these exposures of the bird correct, but dammit if it didn't work: these pictures were shot and in post-production this morning! They both show off the male's gorget (named after the neck-piece that protects a knight) to full affect. Because we couldn't decide, both photographs are shown below. Some people wonder why there are still manual settings on cameras, but this is a case in point. As sophisticated as these cameras are, it couldn't get the exposure even close to being correct----I had tried that first! The background is white because it's blown out completely by the sunlit Wind River Canyon, but it looks cool that way, doesn't it? Five minutes later, with the Sun lighting him, these pictures would have looked completely different!!!
Take notice of this male Rufous Hummingbird's tattered tail. He is a knight, fighting other knights in the Wind River Canyon for the privilege of the company of a lady....or two. Of the four species of hummingbirds we see in the Wind River Canyon, the Rufous is the most aggressive and dominant. There seems to be a reason that the males are the color of the Tiger......
Thank you for your time and reading my Wind River Canyon Blog from the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. All photographs and wildlife stories are protected by copyright laws ignored throughout the known universe.
*For many more hummingbird photographs and pictures of a hundred other species of Wyoming birds and Bighorn Sheep all photographed in the magical Wind River Canyon, visit my website HogbatsPhotography.com.
Michael John Balog----Wind River Canyon----Wyoming