At approximately 12 noon yesterday (8/19/2016) Ryan Winkleman told the story of how he was merely planning to walk along the creek at Wilderness Glen Park. Before braving the sun, he opted to rest under the Peruvian pepper trees at the park entrance near the corner of Vista Del Lago and Duende in Mission Viejo. Ryan is an excellent birder and tentatively recognized the mechanical sounds of a “Broad-tailed hummingbird”. Ryan recorded audio and photos then texted out for confirmation. He claims capturing clear photos were difficult to obtain as the BTAH (Broad-tailed Hummingbird) was in the shade or back lit most of the time. The range of this species is as far west as central Nevada and Arizona according to Cornell University during summer months though Ryan also pointed out sightings can be found in Northern California along our eastern range of the Sierras and Yosemite National Park . This should offer an idea of how rare this species is in Orange County, CA.
I received a call from Jeff Bray who joined Ryan shortly after the initial sighting. I arrived just after 1 pm. The images below were taking during that time frame and also when I returned around 2:30 when the park began to fill with birders from all parts of Orange County and its outskirts. A short list of the birders present were: Tom Benson, Brian Daniels, Rick Shearer, Andrew Lazere, Curtis Marantz, Doug Willick, Monte Taylor, Becky Turley as well as many new and intermediate birders.
The unusual flight sounds of this Broad-tailed Hummingbird were easily recognizable as “unique” for seasoned birders who know the mechanical sounds of an Allen’s or Anna’s Hummingbird as well as a Costa’s or Black-chinned Hummingbird. These are our four most common hummers during our summer months here in Southern California.
For those unfamiliar and interested, you can easily find theses mechanical (flight) sounds of the Broad-tailed Hummingbird at http://www.xeno-canto.org .
Included below are several images from today’s outing at Wilderness Glen Park – congratulations to Ryan Winkleman for finding this rarity.