Saturday, October 17, 2009

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary

Anna's Hummingbird

Allen's Hummingbird

The Sanctuary has been developed around the water board's settlement ponds. Dense plantings filter urban run-off and provide shelter for more than 200 bird species. By agreement, the local chapter of the Audubon Society provides the Sanctuary with natural history information, including a bookstore and a small museum/library. A list of recently reported birds is posted outside the door. The Big Sit has been won from here more than once.

A building that housed one of the many private duck hunting clubs that dotted the marshy areas of Orange County in the 1800s is now an education centre. The parking area nearby is landscaped and the Mexican Sage was in full flower, attracting hummingbirds.

Anna's and Allen's are the most common hummingbird in southern California, and with Costa's the only permanent residents of the US or Canada. Unlike most other hummers, Anna's has a (minimal) song.

Hummingbirds vigorously defend their feeding territories which, although often as small as a few clumps of fuchsias, provide adequate nectar and small nectar-feeding insects. During the fall, however, transient and juvenile birds disregard territorial claims. As if it wasn't hard enough to photograph these tiny, fast moving subjects, they kept chasing each other.

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