Saturday July 16, 2011 written at 8:00 PM
And on the second day the starthroat came……at 4:17 PM. The Plain-capped Starthroat has a certain air about it that makes it one of the most coveted hummingbirds in North America. True it’s a casual vagrant from Mexico to Southeast Arizona but there’s more than that to the mystique. It’s not very showy, that’s for sure. Plain gray/green with a white flight patch that usually can’t be seen and a red gorget that seldom shows any color at all. What makes it so desired is its unique habits. The starthroat doesn’t sell itself to the first humming bird feeder that comes along. Usually its content to fly catch for insects away from feeders. If it does come to a feeder it may only be once or twice a day. It’s been number one on my wish list since I saw the South Dakota Ivory Gull in 2009.
Yesterday I sat at private residence near Sierra Vista from 6:30 AM till 4:00 PM in hopes of seeing one. Just to gain the opportunity to try for it involved getting a friend of a friend to grease the skids. All very hush-hush for which I’m grateful. I sat, and sat, and sat some more. Maderan Alligator Lizard was nice to add to the Quest for a Thousand list.
Plenty of hummingbirds and other bird species, but no starthroat. I left to drive to Tucson to pick Linda up from the Tucson Airport. This morning I decided to bird Madera Canyon. The Berylline Hummingbird was making appearances at the Kubo B & B feeders like a sugar addict to a candy store.
A handsome bird from Mexico and I’m happy to add it to my year-list, but please…..can you at least wait 10 minutes before you run back to the sugar? Yes it was an important bird to get, but I felt an added sadness on the side of having missed the starthroat yesterday. I also saw a pair of Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher-new to my year-list. By 10:30 AM I decided to return to Tucson to wake up Linda. I was driving north on I-19 when I received the call from my friend. The starthroat had returned. The wheels of my mind began to crank. I hesitated for perhaps twenty seconds. Then realized that this was my best chance. I’d grab Linda, head back to Sierra Vista and have her drop me off at the private residence. As a concession , we stopped at El Guero Canelo, a Mexican hotdog place on 12th street. Tasted good ,but wholly cow they were slow. Come on there’s a starthroat waiting.
Anyway I arrived at 2:30 PM only to be told that it had returned from 1:30 till just before 2:00 PM. We were too late. But I was determined to wait till it returned until dark if necessary. At 4:17 PM it did return. My nemesis had finally allowed me to see it in it’s plainness. Never had plain tasted so sweet!