[Tweeters] The Rufous Bumblebird

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Fri Apr 8 09:56:07 PDT 2016

Yesterday, while at work, I discovered the Rufous Bumblebird - a lifer!
I was sitting on the ground sawing off some dead branches at the base, my head half -in a nearby Escallonia hedge, when I heard a strange sound at the end of the hedge. It sounded sort of like when a big bumblebee bounces around in a deep rhody flower, a mix of buzzing and bumping around. "Wow", I thought, "that's a big bee". Holding still, I kinda looked through the hedge toward the sound , then I could see movement just a few feet away, as the sound continued.
It was a male Rufous Hummingbird really, and there, near the base of the deer fence, the bird was bonking around in the fence grid. At first I wondered if it was caught up in something - like a bee trying to get out of a big spider web - but no, there was nothing that I found after the hummer flew off. I was seeing all this through a scrim of branches , so didn't have a super clear view, but it appeared the bird was justing bouncing around in the deer fence grid. Slam dancing? Some sort of massage therapy? Trying to knock a chip off it's shoulder? I really don't know.
Anyhoo, the bumblebird continued this for a minute or so, before rocketing up and out of there. This neighborhood, Cape George near Port Townsend, is currently (or should I say currantly) swarming with dive-bombing male Rufous - a major background sound these days. Watching them brings a smile to my face - especially when their dives seem to be directed at the top of my head.
The Escallonia, by the way, also happens to be a good hummer bird flower - there are a number of varieties, most long-blooming. In another exciting episode of biogeography, the Escallonia, and a nearby Fuchsia magellanica (another hummer magnet) both originate around central Chile which enjoys a similar "moderate mediterranean" climate such as occurs around the Puget Sound lowlands. Central Chile also home to the wonderful weird Monkey- puzzle tree also planted in NW gardens. Just sayin'.
Well maybe today I'll get a clearer look at Bumblebird activity - you never know what you'll find ,while crawling around the bushes.
Jeff Gibsoncrawling aroundPort Townsend Wa

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