A bit late, but we’re humming along…

It’s been awhile since my last post, and while things have quickly quieted down into a more “summer” pattern here along the Space Coast (especially with the way above average temperatures), the last few weeks haven’t been without some birding drama.

It started with a report from Mitchell Harris, via eBird and the Brdbrains listserv of a potential Bahama Woodstar hummingbird at a local sanctuary. There had been only 2 “official” state records of this bird since the 1970s, and since many female and juvenile North American hummingbirds look quite alike, there was a brief collective pause as the data and photographs were evaluated. The sighting was quickly confirmed, and birders from all over the state and the country descended upon the oft-overlooked Maritime Hammock Sanctuary, south of Melbourne Beach.

Myself included, after a few days of anxiety over missing it due to work obligations. I managed to get there super early one day and, along with 25 or so other birders, got a nice look at this rare gem of a bird. Enjoy these few photos.

The rufous “armpits” are a good indicator this is a Bahama Woodstar.
The bill is a bit stouter than that of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird (it also looks like the bill was damaged or deformed a little at some point).
Although not well pictured here (or above) the tail pattern – rufous outside of green central tail feathers – was seen as the bird occasional spread its tail.
The bird would rest for several minutes before heading back to forage, primarily among honeysuckle flowers. When the flowers began to wilt and fall off, the bird must have gone on its way.

Having likely been transported over water from the Bahamas via the continuing, strong south and southeastern winds this spring, this hummingbird used the time to rest and refuel while waiting for conditions to allow it to return to it’s usual range. After being seen consistently for four or five days, once the honeysuckle ran out and the winds calmed down, the reports stopped.

A rare and exciting find, and by chance my 300th Florida life bird!

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