A Visitor to the Anise Hyssop

This gallery contains 5 photos. The local nursery told us that anise hyssop would be great for attracting hummingbirds to the backyard garden. Turns out they were right. Not a day after the first couple of flowers had opened than a female Anna’s hummingbird put in an appearance.

Anna's Hummingbird, female drinks Anise Hyssop 1

Mrs. H. was a long and diligent pollinator. In fact, she was in the backyard so long that I was able to get some photographs from the second floor, and then go downstairs and outside to get another 40 shots of her in burst mode. She alternated between drinking from the anise hyssop (clearly, her new favourite), and perching on the top of the hybrid plum tree.

Anna's Hummingbird, female perches on hybrid plum tree

She even took a half-hearted peck at the spiderweb on the apple tree in the hope that there bugs ensnared. Photographed on the morning of June 29th — a day that starting out grey, overcast, and pitter pattering before quickly changing over to bright, sunny skies and temperature highs of 24 C just after lunch.

Anna's Hummingbird, female drinks Anise Hyssop 2

Because she was moving so fast when she was pollinating the anise hyssop (and the background was so “busy”), I took these photos in Shutter Priority Mode (1/1600, ISO 6400) but used manual focusing as the AF could not keep up with all the movements. Sounds counterintuitive, but it worked. 🙂

Anna's Hummingbird, female drinks Anise Hyssop 3

Unlike most other birds (like the Eurasian Collared Doves, which spook at the sight of a human being), Mrs. H. let me approach to within six inches of her, and kept on sipping while I shot away.

Anna's Hummingbird, female drinks Anise Hyssop 4


27 thoughts on “A Visitor to the Anise Hyssop

      • I’ve been trying now for days, to get a good shot of a ruby throated hummingbird that visits my feeder. I’ve got a few nice shots of the females (with a white throat) but I really want the gorgeous red-throat male. However, either the lighting is not right, the hummer too fast and skittish, or I sit on the porch while my camera is inside the house…. patience belongs to a photographer’s toolkit as much as the camera does 🙂


      • many times I’ll be taking photos of other things like flowers or the black-capped chickadees in the back yard, and the hummers will show up (and then it’s hope I have the camera set to Shutter Priority (1/1600 shutter speed and ISO sufficiently high enough for the ambient light).


        I understand the challenge! and it’s very true 🙂
        the Rufous and Anna’s hummingbirds that have showed up for me are females or adolescent males — I have not managed to photograph a male of either in full breeding plumage in the backyard (although I have seen a breeding male Anna’s on the nectar feeder a few months back in early spring).

        thankfully, our local wild bird sanctuary provides me with many opportunities to capture the hummingbirds digitally. 🙂

        though I am envious of those homeowners who not only manage to get plenty of hummers to their backyard feeders (they usually live on the migratory route) and/or can have the little birds perch on their hands or handfeed them! 🙂


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