The Australian Garden at the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum has so much to offer, and while I was understandably blown away by the spectacular white hummingbird sighting, I thought I might share some of it’s other treasures…
Rare Leucistic Anna’s Hummingbird in the Grevillea.
Me in my official like birding outfit – meant to blend into the garden and attract hummers…worked!
Showy Honey Myrtle
The Rufous and Allen’s Hummingbirds look a lot alike, the Allen’s is supposed to have two white spots on its tail tips instead of three like the Rufous, but even knowing this it’s still hard to tell as the Allen’s does have a sliver of white on that third feather and both can have a substantial amount of green on their backs – especially the juveniles and the females.
I spent a perfect day with a white hummingbird – my new muse!
This Leucistic Hummingbird, visiting the Australian Gardens at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, may be the first sighting of its kind in Santa Cruz County! I’ve been scouring the web for more info and it seems there have been sightings in Santa Barbara as well. The Leucistic Humming bird (in this case most likely an Anna’s Hummingbird) retains some pigmentation (dark eyes, beak and legs and often there are traces of color in it’s plumage) where as a pure albino hummingbird would have a complete lack of pigmentation, it’s eyes, beak and legs appearing pink.
Seeing this hummingbird in the wild was pure magic and that’s saying something considering how impossibly beautiful a typically iridescent hummingbird is! This was like a little glowing fairy flitting in and out of the sunlight, but a fierce one who was robustly defending his territory from interlopers. I watched him ascend high in the sky to hover then dive balm the smaller Rufous and Allen’s hummers. I first spotted him in his his special perch in a spindly tree where he was perfectly camouflaged, looking like a leaf in the dappled sunlight (I could hear him singing before I saw him – which apparently is a one way of identifying an Anna’s). From here he could clearly survey his territory and would make his rounds visiting the various proteas in the garden favoring the Grevillea “Robyn Gordon” and the Hairpin and Showy Banksia but he also patrolled the conifers edging the arboretum – maybe looking for bugs and worms? Funny how this bird from the Americas is favoring the flowers from Down Under!