Sunday, August 2, 2015

Black-chinned Hummingbird on the Tuolumne Bluffs

It's been awhile since I've posted any birds. I was on a series of trips that extended from Canada almost to Mexico, and I found limited time for blogging. I also had trouble coming up with something as dramatic as my last post here, the life and death struggle between the Great Blue Herons and Bald Eagles at Beacon Hill Park in Victoria, B.C. It was the most-viewed post on this site ever that didn't have the world "rumped" in it (really, one can't count all the people who clicked on the Yellow-rumped Warbler as being birdwatchers). In any case, I'm trying to get back to some normal posting, and my walk this morning gave me the inspiration. I actually saw a totally new species in my neighborhood (keep in mind that it doesn't mean a rare species; I'm still catching up with the list of common species around here). It was a Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) at the future park on the bluffs over the Tuolumne River in Waterford.
I actually thought it was a big moth at first. It was on a bush just below the bluff's edge, and it was fluttering a bit differently than I expect hummingbirds to do. For one, it wasn't going for flowers; it was flying out into the void for a moment and returning. Once I realized it was a hummingbird, I realized it was going after insects, which you can see swarming in the picture below.
Anna's Hummingbirds tend to be the default species around here (we actually have five species in the area, so I have some catching up to do). I was surprised when I saw a flash of bright blue on the throat of the today's bird; it was something new. I tried to catch it in the photos, but as the guides say, it's only visible from some angles. I don't like the fuzziness of the photo below, but it's the best shot of the throat that I was able to get.

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