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Friday, December 20, 2013

Early morning trip to Lajitas

I was determined to go look for the Blue-throated Hummingbird we had seen, but not photographed, Tuesday morning. It was raining at the oasis, but the weather map didn't show rain at Lajitas, so I set out on the hour-long drive, knowing that if the rain continued I may not make it back up my big hill.

Being this is about the shortest day of the year, the skies at Lajitas were darker than I had expected when I arrived at 7 AM. It was raining lightly. Even though the rain fizzled out, it was still dark as I took down the empty feeders, washed, and filled them. Right away, in the dark, I heard the Blue-throated, so I was pretty excited. When it got barely light enough to see its silhouette, I snapped some worthless photos of it. (If I didn't get any others, I could have photoshopped them enough for documentation purposes.) Then I used flash, and at the first flash, it flew off. I heard it cavorting around here and there, but it was still too dark for photos. I contemplated hanging around for a couple of hours, but sure as I would, it would disappear like it had Tuesday. So I decided instead to return Sunday morning before heading back to Alpine. Surely the sun will show up then. Meanwhile, here is the one salvageable shot I got (after a little tweaking on photoshop).

At CMO I had only gotten .2" of rain, but barely made it up the hill, even using my newly-found low gear. For anyone seeking this hummer, it visits the area around the tower.

This is an old photo I got off the internet so things don't look exactly like this right now. This photo was taken from the restaurant there at the Lajitas Resort and is open to the public. We have feeders hung under and near the tower.

I would advise looking as close to daybreak as possible.

Side note: I called the restaurant (now named the Candellia Cafe) and asked what they call the tower. The girl there said they call it the Bell Tower. I responded, "Oh, I didn't see a bell in it."

"No," she said, "it doesn't have one, but I think it used to."

The tower wasn't there 25 years ago, so I'm assuming that way back in the early history of Lajitas there was a tower there with a bell. Just guessing. Another option is that the man who built the tower, I think he was a previous owner named Smith, sold Lajitas to the present owner before he got a bell installed in the tower. Whether or not this tower ever had a bell in it, it has had a Blue-throated Hummingbird flying under it.

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