A rare Rufous Hummingbird was reported in Bryant yesterday. I went to see it this morning and was surprised to see what I believe is an Allen’s Hummingbird. These are west coast birds. They are occasionally seen in the east during migration, like now, but they have never been confirmed in Arkansas. An expert was consulted and she thinks it is an Allen’s. So Yay. State Bird Number 350. It was cloudy and only 30 minutes after sunrise so the picture is grainy. As of this writing, the bird has not been seen again.
I just got some 15×70 binoculars. Nominally for astronomy, I can see these being used for birding as well, mainly as an alternative to a spotting scope. The 70mm objectives will bring in a lot of light. For astronomy, I’ll use them with a parallelogram mount I built a couple years ago. For birding, with a conventional tripod. I arranged to have them delivered during Winter Storm Diego so that I can’t be blamed for the cloudy weather, it was already here.
Following up on a tip from a confidential informant, I drove to Lake Monticello Sunday. I’ve never been there before but Google Maps indicated at least three vantage points around the not very large lake. An undeveloped “campground” to the north, a small park to the southeast, and the dam. For efficiency, I started at the top and went clockwise. I saw assorted “regular” birds at the first two sites but it was at the dam that I hit pay dirt. Eight male and five female Black Scoters where just out from the dam as I drove over. They were very cooperative. This is a life bird for me and Arkansas state bird #349 for me.