Phoebe, the Allen's Hummingbird - Botanical Illustration

Maree Clarkson

Tarlton, South Africa

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Phoebe, the Allen’s Hummingbird – Botanical Illustration

This is a page from one of my Moleskine Nature Journals
- W & N watercolours – 12″ × 8″
From scarlet to powdered gold,
to blazing yellow,
to the rare
ashen emerald,
to the orange and black velvet
of your shimmering corselet,
out to the tip
that like
an amber thorn
begins you,
small, superlative being,
you are a miracle,
and you blaze
From “Ode to the Hummingbird” - Pablo Neruda (1904 – 1973)
Did you know a group of Hummingbirds is called a “Bouquet”? Also a “glittering”, a “hover”, a “shimmer” or a “tune” of Hummingbirds!
I had been following the progress via Live cam of Phoebe, the Allen’s Hummingbird, sitting on her eggs, laid on the 2nd and 4th of January 2010, respectively, and which hatched on the 19th January. It was absolutely wonderful watching Phoebe feeding and taking care of them, against all odds.
I did this sketch from screen-shots taken of the live cam. Not having Hummingbirds in South Africa and not knowing them very well, I Googled it – the description read, “Allen’s Hummingbird: Small, compact hummingbird; male has straight black bill, glittering green crown and back, white breast, and rufous sides, belly, rump, and tail. The throat (gorget) is iridescent copper-red. Feeds on nectar, insects, spiders, and sap. Swift direct flight, hovers when feeding.” It also states that it is the female that incubates the eggs for 15 to 17 days, all wonderfully new stuff to me!

13th April 2011 – FEATURED in “Just Watercolours”
February 2013 – FEATURED in “Explore”
26th February 2013 – FEATURED in “Image Writing”
5th April 2015 – FEATURED in “Women Painters”

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