29 October 2008

Castellow Hammock Surprise

When I said another lifer bird was lurking at Castellow Hammock Park, I should have described it as buzzing around. If you've been to Castellow you know it's infamous for winter hummingbirds. The butterfly garden plants attract scores of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. They zip about chasing each other through the Firebrush.

Our main reason for visiting Castellow was to look for migrants since we were already in the Homestead area. The place had decent numbers of Black-throated Blue Warblers, and Palm Warblers were everywhere. We even had a great look at a Blackburnian Warbler right before leaving. But the hummers stole the show. As we were scanning the Ruby-throateds I noticed a hummer with pink-orange flanks. It zipped off and we were left wondering if it could be a Rufous Hummingbird; a bird that neither Andy or myself had ever seen.

After speaking with Roger Hammer, the park staff, he gave us directions to the front butterfly garden area where the Rufous had been seen a week ago. We waited patiently surveying each hummer as it came in to feed. Finally our female Rufous Hummingbird showed herself. She sat perched on a branch for our viewing pleasure. I couldn't believe it, two pinkish lifer birds in one weekend in less than an hour. One small bird, one large bird, but both spectacular to behold. Life is good my friends with birds and friends and great parks like Castellow to visit.

Female Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) by Derrick Ditchburn

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