[Tweeters] Hummer World Tour

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Thu Jun 23 07:08:20 PDT 2016

While working on another day of a long landscaping project at Cape George (outside of Port Townsend), I was led on a World Tour, of plants, by the local hummingbirds.
Today's job was moving a big pile of sand from one place to another with a wheelbarrow. In the one month this sandpile has been there it has been colonized by Sand Wasp's, a bug which I really like (they're interesting), but the sand had to go, so I sold out on the Sand Wasps so I could get a paycheck. Lucky for me that Sand Wasps, unlike their more belligerent cousins, the Yellowjacket and Bald-faced Hornet, are benign, and didn't even try to sting me for destroying their home.( I have temporarily been driven from several maintenance jobs by those other meanie wasps and hornets - I don't use poisons- I just wait 'em out till colder weather puts them down).
Well anyhoo, the first leg of my Hummer World Tour was to New Zealand. As I walked up the lane to the job I noted the unusual (to me) flowers of the New Zealand Flax (Phormium), a large sort of Yucca-looking plant that does well here in mild PT. They now have sent up flowering stalks covered with flowers, that after all these years noting Phormiums, I really never had a close-up view of: the tubular flowers immediately impressed me as being well designed for a Hummingbird, and right then a Rufous Hummer zoomed up and started slurping away - about three feet from my face. The hummers were at these flowers all day, jostling as usual.
"Designed for hummingbirds?" I thought, but then realized there ain't no Hummingbirds in New Zealand ( I've never been, but have watched a lot of Hobbit movies - no Hummers in Middle Earth). My guess was that some sort of other bird filled that New Zealand niche, and did find out later that several types of Honeyeater's do the job. So that was cool.
Then moving right along to Chile, where the Fuchsia magellanica comes from - definitely a Hummer homeland- and Hummer's here love the plant. Another Chilean native ,the Escallonia, is in full bloom now also and while not really a Hummer plant, it is a great bee plant - several hedges of the stuff had so many bees (at least a half-dozen species ) that you could hear them from 20ft away; "The Buzzing Bush" in the bee Bible.
Then, across the road, and around the neighborhood, the Hummers traveled to South Africa to another favorite plant, the Kniphofia ( aka Red-hot Poker), and soon the many Crocosmia (another South African) here at my job site will be blooming - another Hummer loved flower. No Hummers in South Africa either, but they do have Honeyeaters.
So there you go, Hummer World Tour, without really leaving Port Townsend!
Jeff GibsonPort Townsend Wa

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