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Saturday, October 20, 2012

Oasis Buff-bellied Hummingbird

Yesterday, as soon as Kelly left after banding, I saw a large hummingbird that looked like a Buff-bellied Hummingbird, but thought it couldn't be since that species had never been recorded in W Texas. And there were only 5 records of the similar Berylline, so I called Kelly Bryan. I'd let him deal with it. I've had rare birds here before but never one that had not previously been documented in the area. Too much for me to absorb.

He had to have been surprised at my call, since I almost never call him on the phone. When he answered he probably thought, "what's so important, so soon, that you can't just email me?" That's what I would have thought, anyway. I was also thinking "Buff-bellied," but couldn't let myself be foolish enough to blurt that out. So, I gushed, "I've got a rare hummer here." There's nothing like getting right to the point. (I only have an expensive long-distance calling card from here, so hardly ever make a long-distance call.) 

He, of course, politely and patiently inquired, "What is it?" I'm sure by now I had piqued his curiosity.

"I don't know," I replied, truthfully, wanting to say "Buff-bellied," but lacking the temerity to do it. "Maybe a Berylline," I added, knowing he would know I was knowledgeable enough to at least have some idea of what it was. "But it doesn't have a red bill." I figured that caveat would explain to him why I wasn't sure about the identification.

To my relief, he immediately said, "maybe it's a Buff-bellied." (It's always reassuring to know you're not crazy, or if you are, you're in good company.) I agreed, and informed him I was downloading pictures and would email them to him asap.

After he received a few of the photos, he responded that it looked like an immature male BUFH. I agreed. He said he'd be down first thing in the morning to attempt banding it. Again, I agreed, eager to let him handle the situation from there on.

So Kelly and Mark Lockwood arrived at first light and promptly caught and banded the bird.


  1. Absolutely fantastic, Carolyn!!

  2. If you build it, they will come. We had a whole flock of varied flushes stop over here (Malheuer NWR in the Oregon High Desert)for a short while.