Full Chase Mode – Abilene, TX

9:00 AM Saturday, July 9, 2011

It started again on the way to the party last night. That gnawing, restless feeling that I’m beginning to know like an old friend.  Our friends Al and Carol Weimer were having a “New Deck” party.  There was good food, especially the chicken dish, with plenty to drink of both alcoholic and non.  Some interesting people, particularly the gal who’s lost 60 lbs. boxing. Her first match is Aug 8th.  Very impressive, but I’m curious how she will handle a right hook to the jaw? But in truth, I had drifted away.  I was already focused on today’s chase trip.  A Green Violetear was spotted yesterday around 4:00 PM Central Time by a birder who was visiting his dad.  He watched the hummingbird settle into an oak for the night around 8:00 PM last night.  So I’m on the road again.

To see a Green Violetear in the States would have special meaning for me.  My brother Bill and I filmed them for a week in the Sierra de Manatlan in Jalisco, Mexico back in January of 2002.  We were able to get some great video of the males displaying and singing their loud monotonous calls from prominent perches in the pine forests. Hummingbirds of North America of course covers all the hummingbirds that have been seen in North America even the rarities.  Green Violetear shows up somewhere in the states every year but I’ve yet to see it;  as you know if you’ve been reading this blog, I “dipped” on the bird in the Texas Hill Country in June and missed the opportunity to chase the Marquette, Michigan bird last week.  I do know that SOMETIMES they will stay in one location for a week.

My plan is to fly standby to Lubbock then drive 165 miles to Abilene, which will put me in position around 4:00 PM Central Time.  Feeding activity in hummingbirds always picks up in the evening as they load up on sugar for the night so this should be a decent time to arrive..  How lone I stay will depend on the bird.

Scott thinks I’m now officially “crazy”, but then again he ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain for his bachelor’s party! I don’t know if I’m crazy. What I do know is that I’m still in full chase mode.  Stay tuned.

3:00 PM Saturday, July 9, 2011


Flying down US 84 at 75 mph, enjoying the wide open space and listening to Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac belt out “You Make Lovin Fun”. Try it sometime; it doesn’t get much better than that….particularly when you’re destination is Abilene to try for a Green Violetear.  I was reveling in a mixture of reflections from my youth in the 70’s and the anticipation of what might occur in the next hour.

4:30 PM Saturday, July 9, 2011

I pulled into the alley behind Randy Packer’s home.  First things first, I assembled my camera.  In Maine I was caught in a downpour so I had no idea whether the camera would work.  Next, I walked slowly up the driveway, Christine’s words ringing in my ears “I never did believe in miracles, but I’ve a feeling it’s time to try.”  I found a place to sit down in the shade, but one minute later Randy Packer came out to greet me and invited me indoors (and air conditioning, it was 106 deg. F outside). Then he said the words that were magic in my ears, “It’s been coming to the Flame Ancanthus all day long”

Once we were settled inside, the Green Violetear didn’t take long to put on a show. Wow!  Others soon joined us and we sat around and traded stories for over two hours.  Thanks to Randy for the hospitality and Jay for identifying the hummingbird and getting the word out.

10:30 PM Saturday, July 9, 2011

It’s late and I’m in Post, TX on my way back to Lubbock. The camera still has a little condensation, but to quote another 70’s icon, “Every picture tells the story don’t it”

Green Violetear at Randy Packer's home in Abilene (Photo by John Vanderpoel)

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3 Responses to Full Chase Mode – Abilene, TX

  1. David White says:

    Congradulations on 660! Great photos as usual! Milk that chase mode for all its worth. You’ll be glad you did, not only towards the end of the year but for the rest of your life.

  2. Fr. Tom Pincelli says:

    Been following your progress all year and enjoying the fun you are having.That’s the perfect additude: Make it fun

  3. Pingback: ☀️ Mexican Violetear - Eight Years Ago Today - Taylor County Big Year 2019

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