On Sunday, October 24 at about 2:45pm… my phone rang. I saw on the caller ID that it was Rich Guthrie and usually when he calls, it means there is a good bird somewhere, right then. Sure enough it was true.
Apparently a listener to WAMC remembered the last Vox Pop show Rich was on. During that show, Rich encouraged people to leave their Hummingbird feeders out as long as possible, even though most, if not all of our regular Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds have departed the odd Hummingbird might still show up and if it does to drop him a note.
Karl did as he was told.
He noticed a Hummingbird a couple of weeks ago and as he watched it, he began to notice it didn’t seem like the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds that frequent his yard. He took some photos and e-mailed them to Rich, who quickly recognized that it was a Selasphorus Hummingbird. Selasphorus is a fancy word to say the bird was either a Rufous or Allen’s Hummingbird. The males are easier to tell apart, but the females are very difficult and many are simply left as Selasphorus Sp. Allen’s Hummingbird has not yet officially been recorded in New York State, while Rufous is now almost regular in late fall, especially downstate. There is at least one other Region 8 record, with an individual in Washington County in the 1990’s. To read about Rich’s full story, head on over to his blog.
Fast forwarding to October 26, Danika and I decided we couldn’t pass this one up. We gave Karl (the home-owner) a call to make sure he was home and headed on up. We arrived around 10:45 am and it took about 5-10 minutes before we first noticed the bird on her “perch” in a small birch tree next to the feeders. After we got great binocular looks of her as she sat there (at times sticking her tongue out at us), we tried to get some record photographs (the species is a NYSARC review species), but our digital SLR is getting old and our handheld video camera kept trying to focus on the leaves behind the feeder, so we were somewhat disappointed with what we got. But we did get great looks at what is easily both a State and Life bird for me! We stayed until about 11:25am and hadn’t seen the bird for at least 10 minutes before heading on home. But it was a pleasant late fall ride back (with a quick phone call to brag to Corey!).