The nest and the jojoba flowers!
Watering my new paper flower plant, I noticed the jojoba next to it breaking out in tiny green flowers shaped like jester’s hats. I was focusing my camera on the little gems when a Costa’s hummingbird flew up and landed right in front of me. The hummer flew to a stub of a twig and nestled down, rubbing her downy breast on the stick. I slowly shifted the camera. She hesitated until the shutter clicked and then was gone. I peered in at the little branch she had been sitting on, puzzled at its appearance. Hey, it’s a nest! Anchored at the trunk and constructed along a spindly twig, the nest appears to be constructed of grasses and seeds and I happen to know it is stuck together with spider webs. My Audubon guide says that Costa’s have a special fondness for the red trumpet flowers on the chuparosa. I’ve planted two chuparosas over the past couple of years, one right next to the jojoba. Gardening for wildlife works! Over the next several days I designed a “nest peeker”, angling and gluing a compact mirror on a flat piece of kindling. During that time, overnight lows dropped into the 20’s. When I got out to test my mirror, guess what? One luminous bean-sized egg rested in the nest partially covered with a little feather, as if under a blanket! Today I finally glimpsed mom again, zinging from chuparosa to cape honeysuckle and away into the desert. She doesn’t seem to be much of a nest sitter, but the nest is cleverly positioned for maximum exposure to the sun as it travels across the winter sky. Maybe she sits at night. If the egg is still viable it will hatch in the next few days, so keep your fingers crossed!
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