The saying is “Lightning never strikes twice in the same place” (unless you put up a lightning rod and then all bets are off!), and equating a Hummingbird nest to a lightning bolt may a bit harsh, but there is now proof this may not be the case. As long as you consider a 20 ft circle of ground the “same place”
Shooting Hummingbirds brings out the best or the worse in a Photographer – you have to have a large portion of universal ability to be patient, with peaks of ADHD. – T Davis
Last year, what probably was a first year mother hummingbird, setup a heat just off one of the back trails and offered a almost direct view into the first 21 days of list for new hummingbird chicks. While it is not known if this Hummingbird is the same as before, but going with the thought it is, some lessons have been learned which for the bird are excellent, but for the photographer – not so much. The new nest was located in a tree just 8 feet from before, and still only a couple of feet from the trail; although it was a good 10-12 feet up the tree and not just 5-6 feet from the marsh floor. Branch coverage was increased as well to ensure the new additions to the marsh were protected, which made it difficult at times to get a good view on the nest for still pictures. Video was another story.
This nest was noticed after the chicks had hatched, so this time around the time to catch growth of the check was limited. The first sighting of the 2 in the nest were after feathers had started to come through and that there were indeed siblings. Over the multiple weeks where any visit to the area was made, there was only about 2 hours in the morning where direct sunlight was shining on the nest; this meant on the days where the skies were mushy and direct light not available, everything from Flash Beamers, Extender and Extension tubes were utilized to get the best shot of a couple of things no larger than your palm when put together 12 feet away from the camera.
While the farthest from any NatGeo quality of work, the following video is being included to just show the amount of time you have available to you for clicking at the mother Hummingbird visiting the nest and feeding her young in between what could be for a Weekend Sanctuary based photographer. The pattern held just as researched and experienced before where during the first weeks of the growing hummingbirds, visits were at most 15 minutes apart; but as they grew larger and time progressed, it could be anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hours between visitations. Move at the wrong time (don’t even think about sneezing), and the mother could be scared away until she once again would become comfortable with you around her nest. Any given day being out with a goal of staying for 3 visitations while the light was good or close to it could mean standing still for hours on hours (well, up to 3 hours as that was the limit before giving up).
And for the pictures – 3 weeks of visits all wrapped into a single gallery for your enjoyment