Nature.

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Bullethead
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Joined: 26 Jul 2011, 06:02

26 Aug 2017, 00:59 #161

Michael Bootz wrote:
Ouch, that sounds nasty. Glad they're not so bad around here.
But OTOH, I don't have to put up with icy roads except maybe 1 day every few years .

Anyway, I've been remiss in congratulating you on the health of your local honeybees.  They don't look Africanized in the least but seem to be rather pure European domestic stock.  Yet despite that vulnerability, there's not a single varoa mite or deformed wing to be seen, and all of them seem healthy young foragers with no evident wear and tear yet.  Are they yours, a neighbor's, or feral?  Either way, if you have to have an invasive species, you've got one of the better ones right there.


In other old business, I was going through my eclipse pics and found the one I'm currently using as my desktop.  This is because it's mostly shadow so my icons show up well against it.  And it's a wide-angle shot across a whole 2-lane road, to put the thing into proper scale.  I uploaded it at full resolution so you can click on the pick below to get that if you want.  It's about 5MB so nothing you see here or even following the link does it justice.


Desktop Eclipse 2017 by TheBullethead, on Flickr









[font]-Bullethead
[/font]Where I live, you're as likely to see a rock of any sort (let alone knappable) lying there for the taking as you are to see Elvis and Bigfoot making out in the backseat of a UFO .
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Forager
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Joined: 22 Oct 2010, 23:42

26 Aug 2017, 01:13 #162

Thanks for this addendum. It's truly spectacularly marvelous.
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Michael Bootz
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Joined: 21 Sep 2007, 16:23

26 Aug 2017, 12:39 #163

Bullethead wrote:
But OTOH, I don't have to put up with icy roads except maybe 1 day every few years .
OK, you win
Can I trade some of your wasps for our winters?
Bullethead wrote:
Anyway, I've been remiss in congratulating you on the health of your local honeybees.  They don't look Africanized in the least but seem to be rather pure European domestic stock.  Yet despite that vulnerability, there's not a single varoa mite or deformed wing to be seen, and all of them seem healthy young foragers with no evident wear and tear yet.  Are they yours, a neighbor's, or feral?  Either way, if you have to have an invasive species, you've got one of the better ones right there.
We don't have Africanized bees here, to my knowledge (at least I've never seen any). We do have varoa mites, however, and bees dying for various (partly yet unknown) reasons are a big problem. This is the first year I really noticed a much lower than usual number of bees around here. I've seen lots of places that should be teeming with bees with not a single one around (large willow trees in full bloom in early spring, patches of various flowers in summer, etc.).
Oh, and the bees are not mine. A few people around here keep bees (rural area), so the bees are from one of their hives, I guess. I've never seen feral honeybees here.


Love the eclipse shadow photo - that's the most impressive one so far, IMO!

A pic I took yesterday. I liked the reflections on the water in the background and that the spider only used a single grass stalk for it's web.
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Bullethead
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Joined: 26 Jul 2011, 06:02

28 Aug 2017, 03:27 #164

@Steve:Thanks!  That pic was at the bottom of my pile and I wasn't impressed myself until I saw it full-screen.  Now it's my wallpaper


@Michael:
Cool spiderweb!


How much do you want to trade for a pound yellowjackets?  Do they have to be alive?  I'm keeping the actual, honest wasps, who only sting when I trespass on their turf, but you're welcome to whatever yellowjackets I get from digging up their nests.  I've got the armor to make that possible and I'm never happier than when I spend an afternoon beating every last one of their thousands to death with the shovel I dug them up with.  Such brutality on my part is only the interest payment on the karmic debt those bastards owe me from before I had the armor to wreak condign retribution on them.


As to honeybees, I got out of the beekeeping business a couple years ago due to my conscience bothering me.  European honeybees are an invasive species in the Americas and certainly weren't ever intended to live in the tropics as opposed to northern Europe, so my efforts to keep them going were just prolonging their agony.  Besides, they don't pollinate any native American food plants, only other invasive European species and a few weeds they have a taste for.  I can live quite well on native American plants (as does most of the world these days), so really only value honeybees for their honey.  Which the bees themselves only make as a last resort because they prefer pollen as food, so me taking their honey is robbing them of their last chance.





[font]-Bullethead
[/font]Where I live, you're as likely to see a rock of any sort (let alone knappable) lying there for the taking as you are to see Elvis and Bigfoot making out in the backseat of a UFO .
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Bullethead
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Joined: 26 Jul 2011, 06:02

08 Sep 2017, 17:35 #165

When a hurricane passes me on or about 1 September (which is when they usually come this way), it is always followed immediately by a mass influx of southbound hummingbirds.  Such post-storm swarms are much denser than the normal crowd, perhaps because the critters know it's coming and wait further north, thus creating a backlog.  This year was no exception and ever since Harvey went by, I've been struggling to keep my feeders full.

Sorry for the low-quality pic but it was the best I could at the time.  Taken at long range with my phone, the only option to make the birds visible at all was to shoot them against the white wall of my house.  Still, this should give some idea of how thick the air is with the hungry little buggers.  I have several other feeders up so the congestion around the house as a whole is amazing.  Hmm, and it seems this new version of the forum software is even worse than the original about shrinking images, so I suppose you'll have to click on the link to see anything at all <--- EDIT:  Unjustly accused.  It only looked way small in the input box.

Hummingbirds 2017 Fall Migration by TheBullethead, on Flickr

Strange to say, the ONLY thing normal about nature right now in my bailiwick is that all these hummingbirds showed up right after Harvey.  Everything else is strange.
*  The weather is about 10^F cooler than it should be for another month, almost fall-like.
*  Leaves on many trees are already turning and falling.  This normally isn't a thing until mid-October.  But OTOH, these leaves appeared about 6 weeks early, too, due to a lack of winter, so maybe their biological clocks went off.
*  Numerous azalea bushes are blooming pretty densely (as opposed to a few stray flowers).  Normally, these bushes only bloom in early March so I have no idea what's going on with them.
*  Large numbers of deer, more than we've seen in several years, are roaming around in broad daylight.  Normally we don't see them in daylight until mid-winter when it's actually cold.
*  Even the hummingbirds themselves aren't acting normal.  They have always before spent about 1% of their time actually at the feeders and 99% fighting each other like velociraptors.  Right now, however, they're lining up in an orderly manner and sharing the feeders like civilized critters, frequently with multiple birds using the same feeder hole simultaneously.

Signs and portents, surely.  But of what?  There are quite a few bad things on tap or in the offing which we already know about.  It would be a real bummer if all this foretold something even worse we don't yet know about :)
Last edited by Bullethead on 09 Sep 2017, 21:05, edited 3 times in total.
[font]-Bullethead
[/font]Where I live, you're as likely to see a rock of any sort (let alone knappable) lying there for the taking as you are to see Elvis and Bigfoot making out in the backseat of a UFO .
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Quillsnkiko
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Joined: 22 Jun 2006, 08:25

09 Sep 2017, 16:18 #166

Bullet head...interesting observations on the nature of nature. Thats interesting that the hummers are spending more time eating than sparring. Its even more fall like here in Iowa..has been for a couple of weeks. Very cool nights but no frost yet...Yes its more like early October.Glad to hear there are a lot of hummers...though as I have wondered about the birds in general and how they survive winds and rain such as has been going on in a lot of places. Quills
" You can't stop the waves .... but, you can learn to surf."
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Robson Valley
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Joined: 24 Apr 2015, 00:27

09 Sep 2017, 18:19 #167

Any idea which species you have?  Here at 53N , the Rufous birds are by far the most aggressive.  The first ones arrive on or about the 3rd Saturday in April.  The last to leave might be as late as mid-August.  Tagging studies show that our birds overwinter in mid-Mexico, some 4,000 miles away.
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Bullethead
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Joined: 26 Jul 2011, 06:02

09 Sep 2017, 21:32 #168

@Quillsnkiko :  I figure the birds expect a hard time heading to Mexico, at least for as far as a bellyfull of sugar water can carry them.  If they know hurricanes are coming and wait them out, then they must surely also know the storm will have blown away most flowers and feeders along their route.  Thus, I think they've called a truce and are tanking up for an endurance run through the devastation.  The little dinosaurian buggers can cross the Gulf of Mexico on 1 feeding so this seems an abundance of caution on their part, but I don't blame them.  I'd do the same in their shoes.

What's this "frost" thing you speak of?  :D

@Robson Valley , the hummingbirds hereabouts are 99.9% ruby-throated.(Archilochus colubris).  This includes the 2 handfuls who show up in early March, the few who stay all summer, and the deluge that comes through heading south in the fall, with or without a hurricane.  Very occasionally, a stray member of another species shows up briefly but it's certainly lost, well off the track taken by its brethren.  It seems to me that I'm just on the edge of the northbound migration path and square in the center of the southbound migration path for the ruby-throats.  The other species seem to follow different paths, perhaps because they specialize in different flowers.
[font]-Bullethead
[/font]Where I live, you're as likely to see a rock of any sort (let alone knappable) lying there for the taking as you are to see Elvis and Bigfoot making out in the backseat of a UFO .
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Robson Valley
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Joined: 24 Apr 2015, 00:27

09 Sep 2017, 23:21 #169

Don't see Ruby-Throats here in the west slope of the Rockies.  Mostly Rufous and a few Calliope.  Have been a rare Anna's and the big mountain hummer, the Violet-chinned.   Pretty sure you're right about seasonal differences in migration routes, I've noticed that in some bird books.

Frost:  If you pull 1 calorie out of a gram of water, the temperature goes down 1 degree Celsius.  Keep going until you get to Zero Celsius.
Now you have to suck 76 cal/g out of the water, to get it to go from a liquid to a solid, kind of like a house of cards, at Zero Celsius.
The original "hard" water.  At my house, it can be pure white and 40+ inches deep overnight.
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Bullethead
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Joined: 26 Jul 2011, 06:02

10 Sep 2017, 03:59 #170

Robson Valley wrote: Don't see Ruby-Throats here in the west slope of the Rockies.  Mostly Rufous and a few Calliope.  Have been a rare Anna's and the big mountain hummer, the Violet-chinned.   Pretty sure you're right about seasonal differences in migration routes, I've noticed that in some bird books.

Frost:  If you pull 1 calorie out of a gram of water, the temperature goes down 1 degree Celsius.  Keep going until you get to Zero Celsius.
Now you have to suck 76 cal/g out of the water, to get it to go from a liquid to a solid, kind of like a house of cards, at Zero Celsius.
The original "hard" water.  At my house, it can be pure white and 40+ inches deep overnight.
Yeah, the Rockies are a Continental Divide in more ways than mere drainage.  But as Willie Nelson said, "tengo que obedecer mi corazon"



I make my living on the other end of exploiting water's specific heat, the highest of any readily available and non-toxic substance.  My main concern with it is that 1 gallon of water applied to fire becomes 1600 gallons of steam, which is a problem inside a closed room because steam goes through a fireman's suit :).
[font]-Bullethead
[/font]Where I live, you're as likely to see a rock of any sort (let alone knappable) lying there for the taking as you are to see Elvis and Bigfoot making out in the backseat of a UFO .
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Bullethead
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Joined: 26 Jul 2011, 06:02

11 Sep 2017, 22:38 #171

Yesterday I managed to take a really crappy cell phone video of the hummingbird feeding frenzy going on here.  I took this by lying on the ground near the feeders.  After a couple minutes, the birds forgot I was there.  Normally, I hang my GoPro in the tree but it's currently unavailable.

[video][/video]
[font]-Bullethead
[/font]Where I live, you're as likely to see a rock of any sort (let alone knappable) lying there for the taking as you are to see Elvis and Bigfoot making out in the backseat of a UFO .
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Michael Bootz
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Joined: 21 Sep 2007, 16:23

15 Sep 2017, 16:32 #172

Cool video (not crappy at all!). Hummingbirds are fascinating and I wish we had them over here. I'd really like to try photographing them.
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Robson Valley
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Joined: 24 Apr 2015, 00:27

15 Sep 2017, 18:49 #173

So, are hummingbirds strictly creatures of the New World, the Americas? 
We put out nectar feeders across Canada and simply expect them to show up.
I run 1 sugar plus 3 water and no food coloring.  They can suck up a liter per day.
When backlit by the evening sun, you can watch them catch tons of bugs, like the bats do.
They nest in the big, bushy spruce trees in my front yard.
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Bullethead
Registered User
Joined: 26 Jul 2011, 06:02

15 Sep 2017, 23:02 #174

Yup, hummingbirds are New World critters.  I'm surprised they haven't back-filled the rest of the planet.  They are, after all, theropod dinosaurs so should be able to out-compete both moths and bats for nectar exploitation thanks to their vastly superior vascular system, and can travel at least 900 miles on 1 bellyful of sugar water, despite having to keep their exothermic bodies warm and flap their wings so often.  Perhaps it's mostly due to Old World plants not having co-evolved with hummingbirds all this time.  But I wouldn't be surprised if in the near future hummingbirds cross the Bering Strait and then it'll be "Katy bar the door!" in the Old World.  They'll scrounge until the plants catch up with them and in the meantime, humans will start hanging feeders for them.  Once the latter happens, there's no stopping them.

I also use 1 sugar to 3 water but at present (as usual in the Fall migration) they're drinking 1-2 gallons (4-8 liters) per day.  Even though I live in the home of industrial sugar production and can see entire parishes (counties) of nothing but sugar cane in most directions from where I live, this still gets expensive.  I hope they all go to Mexico soon so I can start saving up to buy sunflower seeds for the goldfinch migration starting about next Solstice :)
[font]-Bullethead
[/font]Where I live, you're as likely to see a rock of any sort (let alone knappable) lying there for the taking as you are to see Elvis and Bigfoot making out in the backseat of a UFO .
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Robson Valley
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Joined: 24 Apr 2015, 00:27

16 Sep 2017, 16:39 #175

If the Hummers got across to Kamchatka and the Kabarovsk Krai, they would have no clue for migration to escape the winters.
Certainly a very complex business for seasonal movements.  Even so, I can't imagine the benefit to flying all the way up here to 53N and further
just to mate and raise young, then fly south, some 4,000 miles again.
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Forager
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Joined: 22 Oct 2010, 23:42

18 Sep 2017, 00:09 #176

Jim thanks for sharing this video, I agree with Michael - nothing crappy about it.  That other one you made a few years back was great as well, is it still available for viewing?
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