North American Birds

VOLUME 70 NO1 2017

A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record Published by the American Birding Association. The mission of the journal is to provide a complete overview of the changing panorama of our continent’s birdlife.

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Page 14 of 139

V O L U M E 7 0 ( 2 0 1 7 ) • N U M B E R 1 13 F I R S T U. S . R E C O R D O F A M E T H Y S T - T H R O AT E D H U M M I N G B I R D Charles Eldermire, Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Cams, suggesting he go to the server and capture the video. Eldermire re - plied immediately and did just that. Bryan ad- vised Eldermire via additional text messages of the probable ID of the bird and advised him of the significance of the record—a first Texas and U.S. record. Numerous texts were exchanged over the next few minutes as the excitement of the bird's presence grew. By this time, Bryan knew that additional documentation was in order. He retrieved his camera and a copy of Howell and Webb's, A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Cen - tral American from within his residence. Bryan captured a couple of screen shots on his laptop from the previous cam visit so that the bird's field marks could be scrutinized. The observ - ers both looked over the potential candidates to refresh their knowledge while awaiting the bird's next visit to the feeders. It was concluded that Amethyst-throated Hummingbird was indeed the species present. The bird under observation exhibited all of the primary field marks for a male of this tropical species. The bird's next approach to the deck was not until 3:20 pm, and within just a few seconds it was chased off by another hummingbird. At 3:29 pm it reappeared and approached the feeders. Within just a few of minutes of sitting down, they noticed a large Rivoli's-sized hummingbird that looked distinctly different hovering in front of the row of feeders. It appeared duskier over - all and clearly lacked any noticeable white tail spots. Bryan's first impression and thought was something distinctly different and definitely not a Rivoli's Hummingbird or Blue-throated Hum - mingbird. On the next pass in front of the feed- ers, despite being constantly harassed by numer- ous Rufous and Broad-tails present, it turned just right in the afternoon sunlight and flashed a very different-looking pinkish-red gorget. Bry - an's thoughts immediately turned to something extraordinary. Plain-capped Starthroat, a species not yet recorded in Texas, was considered ini - tially, but Bryan suggested to Floyd it might very well be an Amethyst-throated. At 2:31 pm the bird was finally able to access a feeding port on one of the feeders. Serendipi - tously and seemingly against all odds, out of over 40 feeding ports available on the feeders lined up on the north deck of Bryan's residence, the bird chose to feed in direct sunlight on the left-center port of the live cam feeder provid - ing the best possible viewing conditions. At this point the observers knew that they had obtained the first documentary evidence of this bird's occurrence. Bryan immediately texted hummingbird cam at his mountain property. One of the reasons Bryan agreed was because public access to the property was limited due to private roads providing the only entry-points. Thus, providing access via the live cam afforded viewers an opportunity to experience the spec - tacular nature of hummingbird migration in the mountains, especially during the peak months from July through September. That installation was completed in September 2015 and imme - diately became a big hit with viewers (tinyurl. com/W-TX-hummer. Since its inception, the vast cam-viewing audience—represented by hummingbird lovers from almost 200 different countries—has had the opportunity to observe 12 species of hummingbirds on the live cam. As of late 2016, viewers have logged three-quarters of a million views and more than twenty-five million minutes watching west Texas hum - mingbirds on the Cornell cam. The Discovery On Friday, October, 14, 2016 at approximately 2:15 pm, Floyd, a bander with West Texas Avian Research, Inc., arrived at Bryan's residence. They decided to sit for a while on the front deck to observe hummingbirds and look for an unusual, Anna's-type female bird that was observed on the live hummingbird cam the previous day. Fig. 2. The first record for the ABA Area came from the same year, and just a few months earlier—from a residential area of Québec. Both birds were identified by carefully ruling out the similar Blue-throated Hummingbird, Lampornis clemenciae, and the less similar, but still potentially confusing, Rivoli's Hummingbird, Eugenes fulgens. Photo by © Kelly B. Bryan.

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