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Arizona Happy!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Iridescence on a young Anna's hummingbird: a fairly conventional fire-pink at one angle

and a bewitching emerald at another. For whatever reason, the complimentary color seems to be the reverse of many iridescent feathers; a pintail or rock pigeon's shell-pink neck feathers go sea-green at another angle; a ruby-throat's fire-engine red shows deep emerald, and so goes this Anna's gorget, shocking pink to lime green. I'm back here to edit this post, because a Facebook friend just asked, "Julie, how did you get to hold a hummingbird?" And I realized that not everyone is reading every little thing I write. Duh! In the social media world, we dip in, take a sip, and fly backwards and sideways out for another little sip somewhere else. So explanation is good. I was at a hummingbird banding demonstration, and that hand belongs to master hummingbird bander Steve Bouricius.

I took one last look at the hummingbird garden's red rock view and took off for the festival hall to give my talk. Sigh. I could stare at that all day.

My talks at the Sedona Hummingbird Festival went really well. The weeks of work it takes to build just one Keynote presentation are worth it. I've been told that I work too far too hard and for far too long on my talks. That I could totally wing it. But winging it is not how I do anything. I'm like an ox who knows exactly how big a load he can pull, who throws his weight into the yoke and gives it the power and time it takes to get that load from A to B. So when people come up to me after a talk with tears in their eyes and say that it changed their way of thinking or even changed their life, I'm less abashed and embarrassed to hear that because I feel good about the fact that I've given it all I've got. That happened in Sedona, and it was wonderful. I love being able to move people's souls. And I love how doing that takes me to magical places I'd never experience otherwise. Grateful.

On Saturday afternoon, after my talk and book signing, I had a couple of hours before I'd be attending a banquet. I'd seen what looked like a trailhead behind Yavapai Community college, very near where I was staying at Summit Resort, so I boogied up there with my boots on. I wanted to get into some of the desert I'd been ogling from the road.

A whispery, jittery flock of bushtits greeted me. These kinglet-sized birds, are members of a monotypic genus (Psaltriparus) and the only North American member of an Old World family (Aegithalidae) that includes the spectacular long-tailed tit of Eurasia. I thought about the ancient continental drift that might have brought bushtits to what would become North America, and felt very young, or at least recent. It's just cool that we have a bushtit in North America, sort of the way we have one Old World creeper (the brown creeper), from the 
Certhiidae, a family that's well-represented by a bunch of species in Eurasia.

 A Gambel's quail, waiting for his family of puffballs to follow. 

I couldn't get enough of the monsoon sky. It never rained more than a spatter on me the whole time I was there, but other areas got drenched.

I was so glad to be out there under that sky, and all I want to do is go back. 

I've never been to a place with such alluring hikes. I don't know how I'd get anything else done, living in Sedona.


Your cholesterol should be zilch. Love pics!!

I'm wondering if the iridescence changes in ultraviolet light. Your photos have been stunning!

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