Every year in April, hummingbirds arrive in Castle Valley. At first it’s only one species, the black-chinned hummingbird.
Around late July, another species arrives: the Rufous hummingbird. Quick research suggest why: the black-chinned hummingbird travels from northern US/southern Canada to winter in Mexico, while the Rufous hummingbird starts its journey much further north, around Alaska. As it makes its way to Mexico it stops for a bit in Castle Valley.
Yesterday following a rain storm, I went outside to try and snap a few pictures of the Rufous hummingbird–as I have taken several of the black-chinned.
My iPhone camera did all right, but many of the shots (of the unmoving, perched bird) were blurry. Some day I’ll get a better a camera.
In the little garden just outside my office, I have a few bird feeders set up. Mostly little sparrows and, more recently, lazuli bunting. I love watching them fly about, chattering and arguing about who is entitled to which perch.
Beneath the feeders, even more little birds hop about and eaten the fallen seeds on the ground. There are also little ground squirrels and big fat tree squirrels picking through the blanket of seed husks for something dropped–not just discarded.
Frequently, we see cottontail rabbits passing through or digging into the red topsoil and stretching out in the cooler dirt beneath
My favorite, though, are the hummingbirds.
They arrive in mid-to-late April and stay through early fall.
This year I was ready for them, and had several feeders set up as soon as I saw the first one. In the last two weeks or so, the little birds have really increased in number. It rained today, and the temperature didn’t climb above mid-40s, but the hummingbirds were out in force.
At one point, I saw 6-8 of them drinking from the feeder at the same time, while still others buzzed around them.
Mostly, they spend their time defending the feeder (very territorial, these birds) or trying to slip in and get a drink.
I walked out this evening and stood very still right next to the hummingbird feeder. I’d say I was about a foot or less away. Before too long they came back to the feeder and were as active as ever. I recorded a video as I stood. Quite an experience having them hover near, checking me out, or buzzing my head as they flew past.
Here’s the video:
Bonus, here’s Castleton Tower, Priest and Nuns, and Adobe Mesa lit up during sunset:
I’m back in Flagler Beach, FL to visit my mother (who was recently in the hospital–she’s doing great now).
On Thursday, I went for a drive near the intracoastal waterway in the golf cart with Dad. We heard a helicopter, but didn’t see one for a bit. We pulled over and walked near the water. Here’s what we saw:
A helicopter hovering near the water. We watched as it dipped the bucket in and flew over to the fire to drop. I’ve never seen anything like it. Amazing.
There’s a particular glow the valley gets when there’s a rainbow. It’s hard to describe, but I can always tell there’ll be a rainbow when I look outside while the light looks a certain way.
It’s like half the valley is lit by spotlights, and those bright objects are set against a dark sky. Very dramatic.
This morning, after being battered by wind all night, I woke up to see a strong line of storms coming our way. I started working at my computer before the sun rose, but at some point after sunrise, I looked up and saw that glow.
Here’s what I found stretching over the valley:
You can kind of see the glow I’m talking about but, like the rainbow, it’s much clearer in person.
This is the first rainbow I’ve really seen in the morning, and it was so… intense. Hard to capture, but my phone has a pretty decent camera. Here are some more pics from this morning:
the weird light/shadow of this morning
picture that comes closest to showing the brilliance of color