Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hide and Seek with Hummingbirds

Oh, what a morning I've had!

It was early morning and the sun was still low in the eastern sky and casting a lovely glow on the garden. The sprinklers were on and droplets of water made everything sparkle. I stood at the back door and breathed in the cooler morning air and felt that incredible peace that a summer morning can bring. That's when I noticed two hummingbirds darting in and out of the vegetable garden and playing in the sprinklers. It was a moment too good to pass up. I decided to join in the game.

Not taking time to put on slippers and still in my p.j.'s and robe I cautiously stepped out into the garden with camera in hand. The wet grass was tingly cold on my bare feet as I crept between the crops growing vertically in raised beds, but I hardly noticed so intent was I on sneaking up on the playing birds.
Hummingbird taking a shower in the sprinkler.

Rounding a corner I caught sight of one, head thrown back and feathers askew as it took a shower in the sprinkler rain.
Another posed prettily in the morning glories.
Hummingbird having a bath on a broccoli leaf.
In a moment they were on the move again and one landed right in front of me and splish, splashed a bath in a broccoli leaf, tiny water droplets flying in every direction. Then suddenly they were gone. I stood for a moment alone in my garden surrounded by towering tomatoes and sweet corn and pondered what the neighbors must think of me hiding between the rows in my jammies. I didn't have time to ponder long as two came zooming around the corner and nearly collided with me. I ducked out of the way and then jumped as my bare foot landed on a fat, slimy slug! Eeeewww!
Female Rufous hummingbird.
Another break in the action and I run for the house to put some proper clothes on.....camo! (The neighbors are really getting worried now!) Back in the garden and tucked back in the corn I wait for the action to resume. I hear a whirr of wings and a juvenile male rufous hummingbird lands just inches from me, but too close to take a photo. I can see his reddish orange color starting to develop and when he realizes I'm there he flares his partially colored gorget and launches into the air squeaking and scolding and disappears. Moments later a female comes to rest almost as close and I snap her pretty picture.

The cornstalks are getting scratchy so I move to another location. As I do, another hummer comes in and seems to be doing a little ballet. She dips and bows and spins several slow motion pirouettes right next to me. The light hits just right and I can see she's catching tiny insects. So enthralled by her performance I don't even raise the camera for fear of missing one moment of her dance.
Female hummer and crocosmia.
 Almost two hours later my coffee is cold, there's slug slime on my foot and I've taken nearly 70 photos. I am reluctant to leave and miss any more of these magical moments. All to soon these bright little jewels will move on to their winter homes, my garden will be gone and life will go on to other things. But for now, for this moment, on this most beautiful of summer mornings, I am filled with wonder. My heart and soul sigh and I am thankful for this day and this opportunity to play hide and seek with hummingbirds.
Sketch of hummer bathing in a broccoli leaf.