13 December 2014

Garden Visitors for 12-13-14 ♥ ♥ ♥

Anna's Hummingbird, female.
Winter resident on Shaw Island,
Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Anna's Hummingbird, male.
Winter resident on Shaw Island,
Courtesy of Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
For two successive years the "winged winter jewel" known as the Anna's Hummingbird has been observed in at least two Shaw Island winter gardens. Both genders calmly enjoying Mahonia and Viburnum bodnantense flowers with backup of a feeder with sugar solution.
      For many years this hummingbird has been staying through the winter on San Juan, Orcas and Lopez Islands. Perhaps they are finally attracted to Shaw Island shores by tropical scent in the air from fragrant garden plants displaying luscious winter blooms.        
      Ciscoe Morris writes that this tiny bird needs to eat half its weight every day to survive, and encourages us to help them out with plant specimens they enjoy. Listed below are some of Ciscoe's recommendations that we can easily grow and plants that are commonly found at local nurseries.
Tall, winter blooming Mahonia x "Charity"
Shaw Island Community Building garden.
Planted along south fence line in the 1990s
by the volunteer garden crew.
Photo December 2014.

For expert advice on growing this Mahonia bred in N. Ireland, see this link

Hardy Fuchsia (F. magellanica); late fall bloomer in Mary Lou's garden.
witch hazel
Lonicera fragrantissima (winter honeysuckle)
Viburnum bodnantense
Sarcococca (sweet box)

If our gardens can provide a diversity of nectar plants, shelter, appropriate water sources, and if we can eliminate or greatly reduce the use of insecticides and herbicides, we will be able to experience hosting the jewel box hummingbirds all the year through. May they stay on Shaw for the Christmas Bird Count.