After watching a man stalk a hummingbird through the Tucson Botanical Gardens for an afternoon, I wrote a book about photographing a hummingbird. Around and around the man went. The bird appeared to be intentionally taunting him. The man’s tale is told in the humorous book I call How NOT to Photograph a Hummingbird.
I have also spent a fair share of time trying to photograph hummers, but recently I expanded my chasing activity to another species. This bird flitted around the stalls where I board my horse. His bright colors contrasted with the tan ground and gray bars of the stalls. I whipped out my cell phone to get the shot. He flew off to another stall. I pursued. He flew. From stall to stall we went. The bird streaked away. No photograph obtained.
I was delighted when the bird returned the next day. The pursuit continued. Stall to stall without success. I gave up and haltered my horse for a walk. When we reached the turnout pen, there he was – posing at the top of a tree. Perhaps he felt this perch gave me the better shot, and he allowed me to complete my quest.
The magnificent bird pictured above is a male Vermillion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus), perched on a mesquite tree.
Earlier this year, I wouldn’t have written about the national day of the horse. But this past summer, I did something inconceivable: I had never wanted a horse, yet I became a horse owner.
I just wanted to be comfortable riding around the Sonoran Desert. I was having trouble with stirrups, so some equestrian friends suggested I take bareback lessons. The daughter of an author friend became my trainer. I loved riding bareback. The connection between the horse and me was wonderful. We could feel each other as we moved.
My lessons involved two horses, easy-going Lady and stubborn Button. I always liked riding Button the best. I fit nicely on her (she’s only 14.2 hands) and I enjoyed the challenge. As the saying goes, “Calm seas do not a skilled sailor make.” She was stubborn, and I was determined. I guess that comes from handling large, muscular lizards.
A couple of years into our lessons, we realized Button had chosen me as her human. I was honored. After that realization, I knew that if something happened and Button needed a new home, I’d be willing to take her. The next morning, my trainer asked me if I would take Button. She was getting married and couldn’t keep Button at her new home. Of course, I said yes . . .without even thinking. I am happy with my decision.
Future posts will feature my developing relationship with my special horse. As you can see, she really is as cute as a Button.
If you’d enjoy learning about the Sonoran Desert, and laughing as you do so, this fun story is for you:
I was enjoying a walk on the boardwalk of the Corkscrew Swamp outside Naples, Florida recently. A variety of animals were heard and a few seen, although activity was low due to heat of midday in late July.
I came across this Barred Owl, Strix varia, on a branch of a Cypress tree beside the boardwalk. The owl’s wings hung down and its head drooped below the branch. Was it dead?
No, merely sound asleep—dead to the world—obviously unconcerned with the nearness of people. After taking our photos, a group of us who had gathered at this amazing sight quietly walked off, not wanting to disturb the owl’s slumber.
A few minutes later, the barred owl’s distinctive call was heard across the swamp. Someone or something had awakened the owl. Was it expressing its displeasure or telling us it had enjoyed us enjoying the show?
Birds are also known as Aves or avian dinosaurs and are beloved by me. I hope to write about more birds in the future, but here are my offerings thus far to this group of wonderful creatures inhabiting this beautiful planet. EAP
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