This year spring didn't want to arrive here in the Wind River Canyon or anywhere else in the Rocky Mountains. I had hummingbird feeders out the end of April as always, and on May 1st we awoke to ten inches of snow! The first hummingbird was observed on May 7th @ 6:56 pm and it was snowing on the high-rim of the canyon at the time; he was a hearty Broad-tailed hummingbird. Bad weather in the high-country always chases them down here.
The next morning, May 8th, @ 8:45 the first Calliope hummingbird was observed. He was obviously not habituated because even after 3 days he hadn't learn to sit down----a behavior that takes time to learn, usually from others of which there were none.
On May 11th a beautiful adult male Broad-tailed arrived and another was observed on May 14th and a female Broad-tailed arrived the next evening. The portrait of the male Broad-tailed was taken on a cold, overcast morning later in May.
The very next day, May 16th @ 4:45 pm we had noisy hail of 1 inch in size! I wrote in my journal that we had lots of heavy rain for 7 minutes; it was a cold, nasty time. Two days later @ 4:40 pm I wrote, "cold rain 47 degrees, tough species." On the 23rd of May @ 7:45 am we had cold, wet snow in the high-country, yet, there were the Broad-tailed hummingbirds feeding on my cold, wet nectar. They sure are tough!
Which leads me into my next observation----the male Black-chinned hummingbirds never did arrive here in the Wind River Canyon this year. They'd been arriving each of the past 6 spring seasons in a row----but not this year. I swear I observed a female (or two?) during July through my lens. They are easy to spot as the Black-chinned hummers have much longer beaks than any other species we ever see in Wyoming. The Broad-tailed hummingbirds are very tough little birds, that's for sure; the Black-chinned obviously are not.
The first day of summer, June 21st, it was cold and wet. The temperature dropped 11 degrees in an hour before the storm; 51 degrees and rain. I also wrote, "So far very few hummingbirds!" It was that obvious to this seasoned hummingbird observer.
The first Rufous hummingbird male was seen on July 1, right on schedule, never knowing what fun he missed in the snow. Five days later @ 9 pm all four hummingbird feeders were very crazy busy; the hummingbird season had picked-up considerably.
On July 11 it finally hit 100 degrees here in the Wind River Canyon, nearly a month later than it has been in recent years. The next day it rained quite hard, which is unusual.
On July 22nd we had a storm roll-in out of the high-country. It was a downpour, no it was more of a cloudburst; it can be a very dangerous situation in the mountains. I noted at the end of the page that the adult male hummingbirds "are gone awfully early." I wrote that the downpour was a disaster for the nesters.
August 3rd was the hottest day of the year....only 101, which sounds hot, but is not. We usually hit 100 in June in recent years and it gets only warmer, but to hit 101 as late as August is strange indeed. I also noted that "not many hummingbirds left; very unusual situation."
Every summer I photograph a baby Rufous hummingbird that is born here in Wyoming, and this year was no exception. He was on my favorite spot, near everyone's favorite feeder. It was just before 6:30 in the morning! A good time to image a portrait of a baby hummingbird. I just sat down less than six feet away and blasted frame after frame when I saw a pose that was what I wanted; the sound of the camera never phased him, and it never does bother hummingbirds. The photograph is below and is an exciting image of a young, and powerful little bird----he will fly down to the mountains of central Mexico----a snow-bird! He will return next July when all Rufous arrive here in Wyoming. I love the shallow depth-of-field created by the f-stop of 4.5; this was handheld at 1/125th. This little jewel was photographed with the amazing Canon 70-200mm f/4 L-series lens.
On the 13th of August I came down with a yucky summer cold someone brought home for me, that will remain nameless. On the 19th it hit 100 degrees, very unusual this late in summer. On September 2nd it hit 98 degrees, a very unusual temperature as we have had snow occasionally in early September.
This Wyoming hummingbird season was without doubt the coldest in the 20-odd years I've been observing and/or photographing the Hummingbirds-of-the-Wind River Canyon. There were observations that proved there was a lack of hummingbirds and their resulting offspring. What does this mean for winter? Probably nothing....or maybe I need to look into a bigger snowblower?