Hummingbirds are known for their unique way of flying and of course their colorful feather display. They are amongst the smallest and fastest birds in the world, which also makes it into a challenge for me to photograph and identify them correctly.
But once I succeed I forget about the whole endure. Patience and perseverance are the best ingredients for success.
The Crimson Topaz (Topaza pella) was one of my greatest challenges. Most of the time I've seen the Crimson Topaz on the river, feeding from blossoming flowers of the Inga tree or the Monkey Brush vine. Imagine to try and take a picture on a moving and unstable boat: Mission Impossible (for me)!!
What makes the Crimson Topaz so special for me is that in the first place it is the largest hummingbird (19 cm length) I've seen so far in Kabalebo. Second is of course its color display. This is where the sun needs to be involved too. Because without the sunlights it looks like a dull looking hummer. But when the 'lights' are on ….. an incredible plumage set on FIRE!!
Not only did I manage to photograph the colorful display … I was also fortunate to witness their breeding system.
March 27 - 30th, 2014: I went to check on the River Cabins when I suddenly heard a familiar sound. In a split second I found the culprit: a handsome male Crimson Topaz. Since the River Cabins are near the Kabalebo river it was no surprise to see him there. The Monkey Brush vine (Combretum rotundifolium) was blooming in abundance.
March 31 - April 1st 2014: I noticed that he was defending the vine with all his might. Constantly chasing away other hummers (Fork-tailed Woodnymph and Grey-breasted Sabrewings), except for one particular hummer: a female Crimson Topaz (of course)
It became clear that he wanted to mate with her, since he was very polite towards the female. Suddenly I noticed a second male was also in the neighborhood: rival Crimson Topaz (villain Crimson …)
The second one was even more aggressive in his approach towards the female. Right above me he rudely tried to 'waltz' with her (so it seems) …. giving me of course also the opportunity to 'capture' this unique moment.
The villain had something to prove … he is the main MAN, the center of attention or the boss. Either way he proved his point by showing off his delightful feathers in direct sunlight. I would rather call him MAN ON FIRE!! He was one hot little hummer. And he was right … I was stunned.
April 3 - 5, 2014: the female didn't mind all the attention. She just wanted to feed on the nectar.
Between March 27 - April 5, 2014, I was present between 10.00 - 11.00/14.30 - 17.00 hours. I have to admit that those were also the unbearable hours during the time. But also the best time for some action and also see the beautiful colors too at the same time.
All three were also used with my presence, allowing me to get closer for some memorable shots.
On April 6th 2014 all three were gone. Possibly one of them succeeded in his mission. They surely went their separate way.