What an amazing way to start the day; such nourishment for the soul!! This morning I was sitting in my lanai by 6.45am. It was going to be another day full of brilliant sunshine and very low humidity and I was ready for it. I love the subtle yet clear light and the silence of the early morning.
Within moments of being there it was as though someone had pushed a button. For the next 30 minutes I was treated to my own High-Def, surround sound, 3-D, wide screen live show. And through it all the sun rose higher and the light got rosier.
The Hummingbirds came out in full force. Within minutes there were at least four couples buzzing in and out and over the yard. I know they were couples because each set of two sported one ruby-throated male. It seemed as though there were bright red diamonds flashing about the garden.
The couples dived and rose together in perfect unison, twisting this way and that. Suddenly, they would come to an abrupt hovering halt, facing each other. For a few moments they hung quivering in space about six inches apart and then it seemed as though they leaned in to each other in two or three darting movements, as if exchanging quick kisses. Then off they zoomed for some more madly ecstatic flight.
Meanwhile, in the background, at the birdfeeder on the back fence, Mamma and Papa Cardinal were taking turns at having breakfast. The male, in all his glorious scarlet beauty, would eat then hop up onto the fence and stand guard while his mate had her fill. When she flew back into the tree behind the fence, he would go again to the feeder and eat some more. As she flew down again, he resumed his spot on the fence and gallantly awaited until she finished.
While all this was going on, several Titmice were playing at catch-me-if-you-can in and out of the wrought iron work of the old gazebo. I was sure they were just marking time and waiting for the Cardinals to finish feeding. And in fact, as soon as they flew off, the Titmice descended on the feeder and took their turn.
I had one more unexpected treat in store. After the Titmice had finished at the feeder and the Hummingbirds were taking a well-earned rest from their tactical maneuvers, I went inside to make some tea. As I stepped back out into the lanai I noticed a large black bird on the feeder. It was a very “glistening” black, almost like a raven. Its beak was also black.
He was about the size of a Cardinal, but sleeker, slimmer. It was definitely not as large as a crow. I began ruffling the pages of my “Birds Of North America” by Kenn Kaufman but could not find a match. Then suddenly the bird moved around on the feeder and I was looking at his profile. There on the side of his breast where the wing met his body, was a flash of vivid red underscored by a slash of white.
Once again I checked my book and I believe I found my answer. There amongst the Blackbirds was a species called the Red-winged Blackbird. It was obviously a male which still had not completely acquired his full summer plumage, hence the slash of white. Although the book indicated that these are “abundant and familiar” birds throughout Northern America, this was the first time I had seen one.
By the time my new visitor had left the feeder, everyone else had retired to the trees or moved on to greener pastures. With the exception of a couple of butterflies who went their merry way, dancing from bloom to bloom. What a wonderful gift God has given us with His creation and what a blessing to have so much of it in my small patch of the world.