Return to Me

A female Costa's hummingbird perches on a tree branch along the Marcus Landslide Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona

It was cold Saturday morning but as I prepared to make the return hike back to the car, I took off my coat, hat, and gloves and put them in my backpack since while moving I would be warm enough without them. But before I got far I noticed a hummingbird near the trail and stopped to photograph her. I soon realized it was a favorite perch as she’d fly off to feed in flowers blooming nearby before returning to me, or so it felt, though I knew she was returning to her perch. The gold dust covering her head is pollen from yellow flowers that were blooming across the desert. I did go back into my backpack for my hat and gloves as I decided to watch her for a while, she flew over and hovered up and down my right side and my left then settled down a few feet away. I didn’t try for pictures to avoid spooking her and only took them when she was further away. I eventually decided to continue on but came back twice just to watch her before finally breaking free and hiking the two miles back to the car.

A Little Surprise

A male Costa's hummingbird perches on a branch along the Marcus Landslide Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona

The desert offered up a little winter surprise this morning when I met this Costa’s hummingbird on the hike back, it’s a new species for me. They are one of our smallest birds, weighing about 0.1 ounces. It had already been a lovely morning, this little fellow was the icing on the cake.