My son and I were headed pretty far West of my home for a little Fall salamandering. A few days earlier I noticed that a Rufous Hummingbird was being reported in Adams County. Rufous Hummingbirds are a Western hummer belonging to the genus, Selasphorus. They can easily be confused with Allen's Hummingbirds and both show up around this time of year as migrating vagrants on the Eastern side of the US. Unless someone can nail a spread-tail shot, its impossible to tell the two apart. Thankfully, the homeowners got in contact with a bird bander. She came, trapped and banded the bird, and confirmed it was a Rufous. The bird didn't seem to mind as it was still hanging out days later, taking advantage of the multiple feeding stations around the yard.
I emailed the homeowner with little hope that the spot would be anywhere near our amphibian destination. The reply was kind and as I anxiously typed the address into Google Maps, the screen popped up with a marker only 15 minutes away from our prior planned spot!
I called Nate, my son. I said how would you like to have a lifer on your brothers? Of course, everything is a competition with them and I knew he would jump at the chance. Is this type of manipulation bad parenting? :)
The day arrived. The homeowner Ralph, came to meet us in the driveway and he was extremely accommodating. He invited us in and told us about the many wildlife experiences in his yard. I had envy.
The bird showed up immediately and sat on a dead tree just as Ralph's wife, Deb had told me it would in an email. We got a good 90 second look at it. I snapped a few shots, but through a window. After talking with Ralph for a few more minutes, we headed outside to see if I could get any clearer shots.
As luck would have it, in the next 45 minutes, the bird only popped up once and I wasn't ready for it with the camera. That's ok though - I'll take the second look it provided. We got our shot. I added a new bird to the year list and closed in on my 319-species record from last year. And Nate got his lifer. The salamanders were waiting for us on the ridge 15 minutes west, and we had to get moving. ...Not before picking a few of the Siefkens' delicious Fuji apples from their orchard, per Ralph's request.
A big thank you to the Siefken's for reporting the bird,setting up such a great bird-attractive yard, and being such gracious hosts.
...step into the outdoors.