What a summer we have had! Rather than traveling to distant places, we've spent the whole summer together here at home. Being home, I've appreciated all of the nature and wildlife which surround us here next to the vineyards in The Brogue. I have been much more deliberately aware of all of these treasures than ever before.
One very special kind of visitor to our place every summer are ruby-throated hummingbirds. We put the feeders out for them every year and keep the sweet food in those feeders (a ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part sugar) well supplied.
This year our first hummingbird visitor was a female who showed up in mid-May. She had a preference for sitting on the fence right outside my office window, so I had many great opportunities to observe and photo her up close.
Midsummer, the hummingbird sightings continued, both at our feeders and among the garden flowers, particularly the zinnias. It was always females or juveniles that I spotted. Any day that I took the time to record a certain bird hovering over a bright bloom was a good day.
At this point in the year, turning the page into the next season, I start wondering when our hummingbird friends will take leave and head south again. Knowing that their sojourn will be finite makes me appreciate the times when I do still see them.
Today was quite remarkable, actually, in terms of my time with these birds. I spent a while this morning watching one bird with a single jewel in its gorget. Even though there wasn't much sunlight, every once in a while, while this one darted around the honeysuckle blossoms, there would be a little sparkle of gold.
And finally, this drizzly afternoon, I had a moment which I've been hoping for, for years: a chance to watch a fully-throated male sipping at the feeder. I'm not sure exactly why the males always have seemed to elude me, at least until now.
This boy actually came right up to our living room picture window and stared me right in the face while hovering. "Come on out," he seemed to be saying. "Here I am. I'll stick around for a bit." Sure enough, because I took the time to go and watch, I was rewarded with a lovely couple of visits.
I always think that we must seem so ponderously slow to hummingbirds, who move and sip and have heartbeats so much faster than our own. They aren't engineered to be able to do something as slow as walk; we aren't engineered to see them as anything other than tiny darting wonders.
Thank you, summer, for bringing our two worlds together, if only for a while.