Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lucifer and Agave...

Tucson/Lazydays KOA
Tucson, AZ
March 29, 2014

First, a huge thank you for everyone's concern and well wishes towards Joe's recent bout with skin cancer and the Mohs surgery. The diagnosis is Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC). He will return on April 11th to have stitches removed. Prognosis is very good.
 
Meet Lucifer...I sure feel privileged to have had a wonderful encounter with this beautiful hummingbird. The following information comes from www.allaboutbirds.org. I still haven't had a chance to get to the book store for a bird identification book.


The tiny, vividly purple-throated Lucifer is mainly a species of northern Mexico. When it reaches the US, in extreme southern Arizona, New Mexico and west Texas, it's a highly sought-after species among avid birders. I consider this to a WOW moment and certainly a lucky day!



Adult males have a green back, and it's breast is dingy and whitish. The solid purple gorget of the Lucifer I had the pleasure of photographing indicates he is an adult male. The immature males have only a few spots of purple on their throat.

                   


Although these beauties prefer agave flowers, they do feed on the nectar of other flowering desert plants. I am glad he was enjoying the ocotillo flowers...the bright orange/red is a nice contrast to the purple.

                                                                         


Another noticeable characteristic I captured is the white streak behind the eye. A characteristic I was not able to capture was the forked tail. Lucifers belong to a group of hummingbird species called "sheartails" named for their deeply forked narrow tail. 




                                                                 
Now about the Agave Americana...common names include century plant, maguey, or American aloe... it is originally from Mexico.


According to Wikipedia, the misnamed century plant only lives 10 to 30 years. It has a spreading rosette about 13 feet wide of grey green leaves up to 6.5 feet long. These leaves have a spiny margin and heavy spike at the tip that can pierce to the bone.




After 10 to 30 years, the plant grows a spike that could reach 26 feet tall. The spike produces big yellow flowers. Its so neat how this nature thing works...these yellow flowers are adapted to be pollinated by bats. But the Lucifer Hummingbirds love them and are considered to be nectar "thieves" because their bodies are too small to pick up the pollen.


Once the plant blooms, the plant dies. It does however produce shoots from the base which continue it's growth. I have not seen an agave blooming.


 






This picture is the real reason I became curious about the Agave Americana.






 
In Latin, Lucifer means "light-bearing" and was applied in Old English to the morning star. When William Swainson named this bird in 1827 he might have been thinking of the luminous glow of its colors. I was really glad to find out that bit of information. Lucifer takes on a whole new meaning now!
 
I do hope you are having a great week-end.
 
Until next time...
 
 
 
 
                                                                              

27 comments:

  1. Wow, Gay, you are great with that camera. Beautiful shots of the Lucifer:)

    Thanks for the information on the agave:)

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  2. I sure hope that some come to Imperial next year. I've never seen one. I'm jealous. :)

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    1. I hope so too Judy! Of course I didn't realize when I took the pictures that it was Lucifer. I was way excited just to get a hummingbird and really excited when I did the research!

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  3. Wow, for sure! Beautiful photos of a most beautiful little bird! Congrats!!

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    1. Isn't his purple throat just gorgeous Sheila? Thanks you!

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  4. Your luck is a reflection of your patience and couriosity. Others might not identify this rare visitor.

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    1. That's so sweet Merikay! Thank you!

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  5. That's good news about Joe. Now he just has to get rid of those stitches and he'll be good to go again.

    I love your photos. You certainly do a great job capturing those fast moving birds.

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    1. Thank you Jeri. His bandage comes off today for cleaning and medicine...I'll get my first look.

      I'm glad the ocotillo were in full bloom or I might not have had the opportunity to see that beautiful little guy!

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  6. Good news for Joe.
    You pictures are amazing the color came out so true.

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    1. Thanks Jo.....my camera focused on the ocotillo more than the bird, something I still am practicing to fix. He was a little blurry in some photos. But the colors are nice!

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  7. Congrats on your rare sighting. I love watching hummingbirds. We carry a feeder with us just for the purpose of doing so. Interesting facts & photos too of the agave.

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    1. I love all the birds...but the hummingbirds are extra special! Such feisty little guys! Thanks Gayle!

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  8. So interesting thanks for the great pictures and you research.

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  9. All the best to Joe in his recovery, nice colors in the Hummer & Agave plants are one of my desert favs. We have close to a dozen on the property.

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    1. Joe had a good day today...not so sore!
      I love the agave plants too even though I have never seen one blooming!

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  10. Gay & Joe so glad for the good prognosis for Joe! Also excited you are at Lazy Days! We are pulling in there today! I will bring Georgia and come looking for y'all at the dog park!

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  11. Glad to hear Joe is mending and getting better and good to go.
    Gay you are doing a marvelous job of capturing those challenging tiny and beautiful hummingbirds. I think they like posing for you. And thanks for the details about that purple throated hummingbird and like you Lucifer has a new meaning.
    -MonaLiza

    I can't comment anymore under Wordpress so Im using google account instead. I don't know why.

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    1. Thanks MonaLiza. Joe gets stitches out on the 11th. Can't do any hikes till then as the antibiotic he is taking has a caution for sun exposure.....

      That little hummer was quite pretty with the sunlight!

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  12. We are so thankful to hear about Joe's good prognosis. Will keep you both in our thoughts and prayers. What a beautiful little hummingbird! I was wondering how such a pretty little creature could have a name that to me was not positive--thank you for the information ;-)

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  13. Incredible shots Gay! It's too bad we will just miss you in Sedona...I know you are going to love your month there!

    Wishing Joe a speedy and full recovery.

    Metamorphosis Lisa

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    1. I know...but something tells me we might just meet up somewhere else.
      We have never been to Sedona so I am really excited!

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  14. Trying to catch up. Hope all goes well on the 11th. I go back on the 17th for another body check to make sure everything is still okay after my MOHS. They want to see me every six months for awhile. Going to get hot this week but only for a couple of days. I really like the weather in the 80's. And I can handle the 90's pretty good but when we start hitting a 100 then I want to move north. Another month for us.

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