The Biggest and the Littlest

Anna’s Hummingbird

At first I thought this would be a walk without any encounters of the feathered kind.  I had just turned around to return to my car when a wingbeat caught my ear.  As if on demand, a Great Blue Heron swooped in from somewhere and began stalking on the mud.  This species is arguably the biggest bird in this environment, although some of the grown-up Great Egrets are certainly in its league.  The heron didn’t seem hungry.  It fell to preening, and eventually my attention wandered.

Counting my outing already a success, I again headed back toward the car, when a tiny green flicker flashed in the corner of my eye.  There atop a fennel bush was a male Anna’s Hummingbird.  The light came from a backward angle where its throat seemed disappointingly dark gray.  As if it had heard me, the little guy took wing and did a 180 degree turn inches above the twig before settling back down.  For an instant its throat flashed neon pink.  I slowed that part of the video down to ten per cent of normal here so that we can briefly enjoy this display of  its brilliant color.

The park not only repaid my patience with a single good sighting, it gave me a double reward.  In a few minutes it showed me both the biggest and the littlest of its feathered creatures.


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