They’re early to arrive. Spring has barely gotten a foothold when they begin to show up. Usually they follow the Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers. Their backup plan should the spring be cold and flowering plants are slow to come into bloom. The Sapsuckers drill holes in the trees to release sap that attracts insects. I’m referring to Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, the only hummingbird species that we see in this neck of the woods being all of Ontario. This past spring we had a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird show up on May 8th, a couple of days earlier than usual. We had our hummingbird feeder out in anticipation. A couple of days later a female showed up. The male did his little dance, back and forth, back and forth, to impress the female. Presumably they mated, and then the male was off to heaven knows where to find another female. Male hummingbirds do not help with the raising of their young. The female was busy visiting flowers and our feeder all summer long, then one day there were two more hummingbirds, and immature male and an immature female also at the feeder. We suffered through a very hot, windy, summer in our area near to Southern Georgian Bay. It was difficult to keep the flowers growing, and in the absence of moisture even the insects had a difficult time of it. Consequently, traffic at our hummingbird feeder was, at times, quite furious. In the middle of August a male Ruby-throated hummingbird showed up at the feeder, and did his best to chase the others away. And then it was time for the hummingbirds to think about heading home. Towards the end of August the male disappeared, then the adult female was gone….and on September 3rd there were no more hummingbirds at the feeder. Another year has passed. Soon the last of the wood warblers will head south, the ducks will make a final push, and the Black-capped Chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers will have regained their dominance in the neighbourhood. So much like we humans who are delighted when Labour Day rolls around, and the tourists depart the area. There’s peace and quiet in the woods once again.
For those of you who might be following this blog, and my writing and publishing efforts, just to let you know we've been up to Algonquin and have done some sketching. The hard part has yet to come, interpreting the sketches into paintings and writing the text for MY PAINTING PLACES _ ALGONQUIN. With some 60 odd pages in the bank, so to speak, and still working my way into the park, it looks like I have my work cut out for me come the long winter.
Lake of Two Rivers - Algonquin Watercolour Painting 2016
Algonquin Landscape Watercolour Sketch