Plain-capped Starthroat in Portal, AZ

Yesterday's visit to the Foothills Road feeders in Portal, AZ was certainly a more exciting way to start the day than I had envisioned!  Experiences like this are a great reminder to me, and hopefully to others: don't ignore bird feeders as an early morning stop if they're available, often that's when you find the really good birds there!

Among the 25 species we saw while sitting in a single spot was this stunning PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT:

Note the large white patch above the rump, in the lower back.  While there aren't any other hummingbirds in this photo for size comparison, it was quite large in comparison with nearby Broad-billed Hummingbirds, about the same size as a Magnificent or Blue-throated.  Other features/field marks visible in the photo are the overall brownish color, very long bill, and arcing white eyeline and malar stripe framing a very dark auricular patch.  The throat can't be seen here, but was a neat dark ruby color.  Cool find!

Also flagged as "rare" in eBird (and appropriately so for Cochise County) was a RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW.  Couldn't snap a National Geographic-quality photo, but we snagged a documentation shot anyway:

The dull rufous eyeline matching the crown color, and two thin black "whiskers" are essentially diagnostic for this unique species.

Just another day birding in southeastern Arizona!

John Yerger
Adventure Birding Company

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