Monday, August 22, 2016

Allen's Hummingbird in Costa Mesa (Maybe)

For today's post, we find out why I'm still an amateur at the birding game. I was touring the Sherman Gardens in Costa Mesa in Southern California at the beginning of July. In other words, I was on unfamiliar ground. The gardens were nice to tour, and there was a hummingbird. It posed for me. It just sat there waiting for me to finish snapping a few pictures. It was clearly a Rufous Hummingbird female (Selasphorus rufus), since the Rufous is the only golden colored hummingbird I know (from my area, anyway).
But I wasn't in my home area. So I looked it up, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology had this to say: "Female and juvenile Rufous and Allen's hummingbirds are nearly indistinguishable in the field - it's probably better not to try to identify them during migration, when their ranges overlap considerably."

An Allen's? What's that? So it's an Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin). Maybe. They live in the coastal areas of Southern California and Mexico. Or a Rufous Hummingbird, which has a much wider range across the American West, but the area we were in is a migration route rather than a breeding or wintering ground. So I settled on the Allen's for the title of the post. I welcome an identification from an expert!

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