Hummingcrow & Co.

sounds

Seán ☀️ End-of-Summer Summary 🍂 Kate

oak leaf gradient

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.

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Seán   Signs of Spring  Kate

As spring comes to a close, we thought we'd celebrate the shifting of seasons by sharing the gallery we've been assembling (~60mb) which showcases some of the myriad expressions of life which we've witnessed around Humm Hill this time of year. And while summer may be dawning across our hemisphere, we look forward to continuing to share and reflect upon these scenes in the months to come.

While you explore our noticings, you may also enjoy listening to this field recording taken here one rainy morning earlier this spring:

How many different bird calls do you hear? For the answer, read the description.

Kate Encounter with Sleepy Young Ravens  Seán

The other day, while taking a stretch break from the anti-ergonomic act of photographing tiny lichens on a rocky slope, I looked up to find I was being silently watched:

juvi raven

I could tell it was a juvenile raven because of the fleshy pink “gape flange” at the base of its beak.

juvi raven blink

I watched as it rested there: quietly preening, yawning and occasionally blinking its spooky nictitating membrane at me.

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Seán   Secret of the ghost swing

Trumpet Honeysuckle - 20.5.15

Known in some Salishan languages as the 'swing of the ghost' (or of the owl: q’ít’əәʔəәtsəәspəәlqwít’thəәʔ), this beautiful western trumpet honeysuckle provides food and shelter for at least 20 bird species in our area, and is also frequented by swallowtail butterflies. Likewise, amongst hominids, its nectar has served as a natural treat for children, its leaves and bark used for medicine, and its stems for building bridges.

Trumpet Honeysuckle - 20.5.15

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Kate  A visit from Quinton the Question Quail

Our natural soundscape has recently been upgraded by the humorous calls of our friendly neighbourhood California quail (described here as “a handsome, round soccer ball of a bird”):

quail quail moss

Seán captured these recordings of this particular handsome, soccer ball of a bird—whom we've fondly named Quinton—this morning:

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Seán   Happy World Migratory Bird Day!

A male rufous keeping a wary eye out for rival Anna's hummingbirds

In honor of World Migratory Bird Day, here are a few photos of rufous hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus) which have visited us here over the past couple of years.

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Kate  A grub to be delivered to baby junco :)

a grub to be delivered to baby junco

Seán ~ And here's one of the babies...

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Seán  

#Meanwhile, as sirens blare and we hunch anxiously over our computers, the birds continue to sing on.

Over the past few months, I've spent the first 15-30 mins (depending upon when I wake up) of my day sitting outside attending the dawn choir. Lately, robins have taken the lead, but today I was delighted to hear varied thrushes filling the landscape with their beautiful, ethereal whistling.

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🌱 Sounds of the first spring morning 🎶

Birds in this recording, as identified by Kate:

American Robins, Common Ravens, Pacific Wren, Rooster, California Quail, Dark-eyed Juncos, Gulls (Glaucous-winged?), Anna’s Hummingbirds, Northwestern Crows, Pine Siskin, Downy Woodpecker? (drum), Spotted Towhee, Northern Flicker

~13 Species in 14 minutes