Hanging with Calliope and Rufous

Last weekend we saw an amazing little hummingbird when we were hiking in the Rattlesnake Wilderness. It was super tiny (between 2 and 3 inches, depending on which of us tells the story). The little guy lit on the very top branch of a young (12 footer) Ponderosa Pine while we were sitting on the grass. Since I looked up at the tree at such a sharp angle, his little silhouette popped against the blue sky backdrop. He moved between a couple of trees landing on the tippy-top each time. He was a beautiful green, with a red throat and white belly. This little dude made me so much more thrilled with what was already a really great day that I named him/her, Thimbelle.

I get Rufous hummers in my yard a lot. In fact, I saw one on my front porch enjoying the hanging basket of orange Nicotiana just the day after we saw Thimbelle. So, Thimbelle could have been a Rufous, but was probably a Calliope, and in the story that I insist is possible, is that he was a Bee hummingbird which are only in Cuba. But what if we spotted the first one in Montana? What if he came all of this way? It's possible, you know. It doesn't matter to me so much that it is true. Just that it is possible.

We also saw some other birds that come to my yard: a Western Tanager and a Downy. We have been getting so much rain that they were fluffing and preening, trying to dry out their moppy feathers. And the wildflowers were out in full force - even some Indian Paintbrush on the slope facing the river. My own garden is very showy right now, too.  Something about taking the hike and making the discoveries that you don't pass each day, adds a little extra thrill somehow, I guess. And I took more time to enjoy it. Having been reminded, I'm appreciating my own yard more now, too!  (All it takes is a few drops of sun and I am a better person. Or I think I am, anyway. Glorious sun, thank you!)

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