I made a quick dash to Patagonia this morning in the hope of seeing a rare hummingbird discovered by Michael Marsden at the Paton house – the enigmatic PLAIN-CAPPED STARTHROAT. There are fewer than 20 US records, all from SE Arizona. There was one at Paton’s in 2008 and two in the Patagonia area in 2009, making it the best place to see the species in the country.
I didn’t have to wait long – I arrived a few minutes after its first appearance of the day at 7.30am and it returned at 8.20am to give me a great view at the feeder and briefly in a large mesquite in the garden. Whilst not the most obviously striking of the hummingbirds, they are large and packed with character, and this was a particularly smart one compared to the previous one I’d seen several years ago.
On the way home I changed lenses and took in some of the greenery around Las Cienegas and the east side of the Santa Rita Mountains. It seems incredible that a mining company is likely to be given permission in the coming months to largely destroy this oustanding and beautiful area, but this is Arizona in 2010… run by short-sighted, brainless idiots… 🙁