New Year, New Nectar
Here on Hummingbird Hill, one of our most important duties is to keep the hummers happy. We have a handful of hummers year-round who regularly come to sip the sweet stuff from our two saucer-style feeders. When we were still new at it, we found it difficult to remember which of us changed the nectar last and when. This resulted in confusion and—more importantly—the potential risk of unhappy hummers.
So, I came up with a solution.
Enter: Nectar Refresh Schedule!
“Crow Ho Ho!” It's...
This is our first collaborative lino-print. We passed it back and forth throughout the whole process— from sketching to digitizing; carving to colouring; printing to packaging. We offered some for sale at Metchosin Artpod's Mighty Fine Art & Craft show, but primarily made them to send to loved ones & friends for the holidays. 'Twas a fun & pun-tastic experiment— and we're looking forward to collaborating more through this medium in the future! ☺︎
Returning & Reorienting (戻りと変更計画)
After over six weeks of exploring 日本, we're officially back in Metchosin to reorient ourselves toward the holidays and a rapidly approaching new year (正月). That being said, as we hinted in our last post, our virtual 旅 has been so rewarding and inspiring that we've decided to continue making periodic trips back across the submarine cable bridge which connects islands & digital lives through the 'thick' 太平洋.
Field Notes from Japan (日本からのフィールドノート)
This week marks the 36th anniversary of Hummingbird Hill, and soon we'll officially be back in Metchosin to reflect, reorient, and prepare for the future. We have exciting plans for the new year, and will be busily laying the groundwork for the next chapter of Hummingcrow & Co. through the winter. We'll have a bit more to share on that front in our next post, but before we take a break? from our exploration of 日本, we thought we'd share a field report from our digital studies of two species which have delighted us over the past several weeks.
~ Kate (ケイト): Hummingbird hawk-moth
「ハチドリ VS ホウジャク」illustration by Kate (ケイト)
While researching different 鳥 (birds) in Japan, we wondered if there was anything similar to a ハチドリ (hummingbird) there. Well, we discovered that they don’t have hummingbirds, but they do have amazing hummingmoths, known as 蜂雀 (literally “bee sparrow”) or hummingbird hawk-moth in English. The two of them are a case of convergent evolution— unrelated species in different places evolving similar traits to adapt to similar conditions—sharing the same hovering method and sipping nectar from flowers, pollinating along the way.
🍁「 楓蔦黄 」🍂
Lying down on a clear, windy day in October to enjoy the vibrant leaves' final dance of the year. The oaks are already looking winter-ready.
In addition to being Bandcamp Friday (you can peruse our Hummingtunes 五 list here), today marks the end of the traditional Japanese 'microseason' (kō) of 楓蔦黄 (when frost descends, and maple & ivy leaves turn yellow). Soon we'll have an update about our trip, but first we thought we'd squeeze in a few irregular updates from October (十月) about various goings on both around the Hill and beyond.
Over the past few weeks, we've been busily preparing for the next phase of our collaborative endeavours as Hummingcrow & Co. We'll have an announcement to make in November with more details. But first...
We're headed to Japan, and we're taking Humm Hill with us!
~ Wait... wha?
That's right, Quinton – hold on to your head plume, because today we'll be traveling 7,000 km across the Pacific Ocean at near-lightspeed for a virtual stay in Japan.
Before overseas travel was put on pause this year, our grand plan for October was to visit Japan together for the first time. We had been practicing Japanese (日本語), trying out washoku (和食) recipes, discussing friends (友達) living there who we'd like to visit, planning our budget, and mapping possible routes & destinations. As things stand, there's no telling when this trip will actually be possible in the future – at least, physically... So that got us thinking: why not adapt to these circumstances and make the journey (旅) a different way?
World Migratory Bird Day Spotlight: Rocky Point Bird Observatory
World Migratory Bird Day is upon us once again, as many of our feathered friends prepare to embark on their journeys across vast, treacherous autumnal flyways, connecting communities and ecosystems around the world (while we humans continue to manage our zugunruhe). In honour of this auspicious occasion, we thought we'd take some time to spotlight our incredible local bird observatory, where we've previously had the opportunity to participate in their migration monitoring and saw-whet owl migration programs.
A very soft and warm swainson's thrush being held gently by Kate
☀️ End-of-Summer Summary 🍂
Now that two weeks of dense smoke have given way to both rain and blue sky in our region, an immense sigh of relief has swept across the land and through our bodies here atop the hill just in time for the autumnal equinox. We've also been treated to a flurry of bird activity over the past few days, as flocks of many species hop happily amongst the oaks and grasses, foraging and chittering after so many stressful stuffy days. The return of our Steller's jays, towhees, and robins signifies a much-awaited shifting of the seasons.
To be sure, summer brought energizing light and splashes of delight to hazy times, but the parting curtains of golden-brown leaves offer an opportunity for rejuvenation, deceleration, and transition. We'll have some big announcements to make about our autumn plans soon...
But before we wave goodbye to the last beams of the summer sun, we thought we'd take a bit of time to step back and reflect upon various happenings around the Hill during this year's dry months.
Digital Painting Practice – Flowers and Oak Leaf
Two more digital painting experiments from Kate: