Ruby Throat et al

Two weekends ago we brought a hummingbird feeder up to Casco. I used to be skeptical about hummingbird feeders until we rented a house on Moose Pond, Denmark, Maine, for a week once about six summers ago. There was a hummingbird feeder on one of its windows that had birds at it every day that week. So we had great hopes for this one. Anne and Matt put this one up and filled it last weekend. Sometime early Saturday I looked out the kitchen window and there, big as life and moving as fast as you expected (which is to say, its wings were just a blur), was a male ruby-throated hummingbird. They’re something we rarely see in the Boston area. It’s not that they’re that scarce, just that they’re tiny and move very fast. You just don’t see them if they’re any distance away, or maybe you see something out of the corner of your eye and wonder if it was a hummingbird, but you don’t often get a good look; so it’s a real treat for us to have one coming to a feeder, where you can see it for several seconds at a time at a distance of two arm’s lengths.

One of the times the hummingbird was at the feeder something else swooped up to the feeder as if to chase it away. The bigger bird was black and white with a red cap and red on the upper part of its breast — a yellow-bellied sapsucker. We saw them three or four weeks ago but didn’t realize they were still hanging around. It was on the apple tree near the kitchen window, eating suet from the feeder there. I got a picture —

Later Saturday we drove out to Gray just for the sake of exploring. On our way around the southern end of Thompson Lake Arlene saw a couple of large birds on the water and asked me to stop. They were loons, the first ones we’ve seen on the lake, close enough for a really good look. A motorboat went by, leaving the little marina there, and didn’t seem to bother them.

Sunday when I was on the deck grillling hot dogs Arlene called out to say that a rose-breasted grosbeak was on our feeder. Sure enough! That’s another bird that we don’t get to see as often as we’d like, a chunky black-and-white bird with an electric pink patch on the breast. We can hope it sticks around for the summer, too. So, four good birds for the weekend.

Oh, and the phoebe was back, sitting on the wheelbarrow handle for a while. Goodness knows there are enough black flies out now for it to make a good living.

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