by Pat Bean
Last night, at around 9 o’clock, I sat on my bedroom’s third-floor balcony and watched lightning flash across the sky like fireworks. Sometimes a deep rumbling followed, but mostly it was a silent event, until I moved to the living room balcony where the rumbling was more consistent. The air smelled musty with the rain that never fell, and I was awed by the deep magenta hue of the sky, wondering how that was possible.
The show was long, and so I fixed myself a Jack and Coke and settled into a patio chair to watch in leisure, afterwards falling into a relaxed sleep that held me until a sliver of light seeped through my bedroom shutters.
The morning was muggy, but still cool enough here in Tucson for me to sit again on my balcony and sky watch, this time with my morning ritual of cream-laced coffee and my journal. As I watched, through my usually handy binoculars, a broad-billed hummingbird landed on a nearby tree then zoomed straight to my nectar feeder that sat above my head. Seeing me, it zoomed away, but soon returned, and after deciding I was harmless, fed.
Then there were two hummingbirds flitting about in competition for the feeder. The second one was a black-chinned hummingbird, the species I see most often. After they had left, a third hummingbird appeared and drank. It was an Anna’s, although because it was a female, it took me a while to identify. The males, with their spectacular pinkish-purplish heads are an identification no-brainer.
Seeing these three hummingbird species took me back to the morning I awoke to find three hummingbirds flitting in my ten. It happened in 1991, during a rafting trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon–before I became addicted to bird watching. I had no idea what species of hummingbirds they were at that time. I’m not sure I even knew then that hummingbirds came in different races.
While seeing those three hummingbirds flitting above my head in the tent 25 years ago thrilled me, seeing the trio this morning, and being able to identify each of them, was just as thrilling.
Life is good. And I am blessed.
Pat Bean is a retired journalist and late-blooming birder who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Pepper, and writes an blogs at http://patbean.wordpress.com.