The Path to the Fire-tails
A memory sparked by an old photograph
“Are you the lady looking for the Fire-tailed Sunbirds?”
I look at the man asking this question — a local I’ve never seen before. My quest has become a topic of discussion. “That’s me.”
He points down a path, describes some twists and turns. The place where the cow never moves out of the road. A barn beyond that. The beginning of forest. A shrub. A tree. “Yesterday, I saw a pair working the flowers in that tree.”
“On it!” I hurry down.
The landmarks are where he said — which happens a lot less frequently than you might think. (Especially with theoretically movable objects like cows!) But I round the final turn and quickly spot the flowering tree.
And then I see them.
The most glorious flower of all is the fluttering male Fire-tailed Sunbird with his long sweep of a scarlet tail. I’m meant to look only at him, but I soon notice his quietly dressed mate hovering nearby.
If you’d enjoy longer stories about the birder’s quest, try these: