This post is kind of a sequel to Real men wear pink, where we talk about the other hummingbird species in these parts: the Rufous Hummingbird. They are much more elusive, mostly keeping to unbuilt or lightly-developed areas. Plus, unlike most Anna’s they migrate south for the winter, so that’s even fewer chances to see them.
Remember this one, from way back in June of 2021? I was so hyped about my first photo of a Rufous, and such a lucky shot, too. There one second, gone the next. I managed a few more Rufous photos over time, but nothing I was really happy about. The little bastards just did not make things easy for me!
But then! Earlier this month, on the way from Reifel to Terra Nova, I impulsively decided to swing by the Richmond Nature House. Hey, why not? It was right on the way, and I figured we’d see a bunch of pretty spring birbs.
And we did. But you know what else we saw? A bunch of Very Serious Birders pointing their Very Serious Gear at the hummingbird feeders. Because hanging around the hummingbird feeders was a gorgeous male Rufous, probably newly returned from his travels. He was kind enough to pose a few times, in between drinking and fighting with the local Anna’s, and I got my best Rufous photos ever. Look at this beautiful orange boi with his brilliant copper gorget!
We went back two weeks later, and the Rufous was still there. This time I was able to get a bit closer and took some absolutely amazing photos—my best photos ever, again—including one of him stretching and showing off the pretty pattern on his tail feathers.
Actually, I think I got a bit too close: something must have triggered in his tiny sugar-high brain and he actually took off and buzzed me a couple times. I swear I felt him get within a foot of my head! Well, that’s hummingbirds for you. I promise I’ll keep my distance from now on.
I am still super stoked about these photos, and feeling the same sense of accomplishment as with the Anna’s last month. But, also, there’s a little voice in my head asking: how can I top this? Where do I go from here? I don’t remember getting that from last month’s Anna’s photos, weirdly. Maybe I just need to shoot more Rufous to get it out of my system? I don’t know, but I do know it’s a thing that pops up on a regular basis. The urge to push myself, to compete with myself, to top my latest photos.
Meantime, I can acknowledge the little voice, and it does have its uses, but we have to seek a balance. Not everything needs to be “My best [whatever] photo ever.” It’s okay to rest on my laurels, for now. My shiny shiny orange throat laurels.