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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A 27° 29 hummers sort of morning

I froze at Lajitas this morning while trapping hummers for Kelly. It was the same temperature there as it was at CMO. I'll bet that doesn't happen often.We caught 28 hummers of 5 species. Not bad for the end of winter. (Please let it be the end, and not the middle.) I observed one little tail-less Rufous that never did go into the trap, if you're wondering why my numbers seem off.

We had some visiting birders who enjoyed watching the banding process and helping in any way they could. Well, that Broad-billed I trapped last week wouldn't go into the trap even though I heard it around. That didn't surprise me. Once hummers have been banded it's often hard to recapture them. When I needed to run to the bathroom for a minute, I handed the trap door control to one of the lovely ladies and instructed her how to push the button to close the trap door, but not to do it until the hummer perched on the feeder inside the trap. I was back from the bathroom in a minute or two, and she had caught the Broad-billed. You'll never convince me it didn't recognize me as the villain and think it was safe with me out of sight. Amazingly, the Blue-throated went into the trap, too. But Kelly netted him the first time, so this was his first trap visit. Likely his last, too.

Kelly shared a story with me the other day about a bander in east TX who couldn't recapture a Buff-bellied Hummingbird she'd previously captured. When someone borrowed her vehicle and drove off, that hummer dove right into the trap.  And many of you remember the TV special about crows who remember individual faces for years. I contend hummers are just as smart as crows.

So I was too busy and cold to bother with photos, but later in the day I did photograph this Gray Hairstreak butterfly. Any butterfly in January is beautiful to behold.

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