Red dragonflies, green hummingbirds and tumbling bats

The hummingbirds we've seen in our yard over the years now seem like hourly visitors. They perch on a bare twig sticking out of the laburnum tree/bush, or on a higher twig in the giant maple that hangs over the yard, and they sip from the bee balm, crocosmia, and red-hot pokers. The male was doing his circular dives on Tuesday afternoon when the temperature was in the 90s and I was sitting on the back porch. He zoomed down towards the ground, pulled out and sliced up into the sky, jerked to a stop up there and twittered while hovering, climbed higher, and dove again, tracing the same circle over and over a dozen times or more before taking a break on a twig or a flower. It was a little like watching the Blue Angels when he dove so close and so fast. I need to hurry up and plant some red salvias or penstemon or something else to attract them after the current menu is finished flowering.

This page describes the Anna's Hummingbird's courtship flight dive and says their year-round range has greatly expanded northward from California because of garden plants and feeders. Their migration is described as “a succession of movements and temporary residences wherever suitable flowers and feeders are found. In Washington, Anna's Hummingbird appears throughout the year. It is unclear whether this is due to migration or whether the birds we see in January are the same as those we see in June.”

Walking in the Arboretum the weekend before last, we stopped at a pond where a lot of dragonflies and damselflies were patrolling the air, landing on water lilies, and laying eggs in the water. One small dragonfly was a brilliant red. It was the first red dragonfly we'd seen. Today I found two mentions online of people in this region spotting a red dragonfly for the first time—once in 2005 and once in 2004. It says here that dragonflies have teeth (they are predators after all) and that a fossilized dragonfly was found that had a wingspan of 28 inches. Summer bike rides would really require a helmet if those still existed.

And last night around 9:45, with still just a little light in the sky, Tom and I were sitting on the back porch and a bat flew over several times. It was bigger than others I remember seeing in Chicago and in eastern Washington. It makes me wonder—if bats live around us, how come we hardly ever see them? Maybe because we're not out after dark normally. But it makes me wonder where they live and what they do in the winter. This Bat Conservation International page says they live under loose bark, in small tree cavities, in bat houses, and in buildings. Wait, what's a bat house? I'd love to put up one of these on the south side of the house. In the winter, bats hibernate or migrate.