Exactly two years ago today, I had the pleasure of seeing a Green Violet-ear in NJ. I was reminded of this momentus sighting because I just read about one that was seen a few days ago near Bar Harbor in Maine. A few months ago, I wrote a letter to Wildbird for their Lister's Forum about the NJ Green Violet-ear. Here's what I wrote:
I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present. On August 23, 2005, after celebrating my birthday with a nice Chinese dinner, I came home, settled down on the couch, and checked my email. My last birthday present for the day was a message from the rare bird alert that a Green Violet-ear had been spotted at a homeowner's feeder in Locust, New Jersey less than an hour from my house. This is a rare bird near the Mexican border and is completely unheard of in New Jersey. In fact, this was a first record for the northeast. Not being one to look serendipity in the face, I planned to wake up insanely early, drive down to see the bird at first light, and then go to work. I crossed my fingers and prayed it would still be there come morning.
I awoke in the darkness, dressed quickly, and headed off into the pre-dawn morning with that feeling of anticipation that comes with chasing a rare life bird. Of course, I wasn't the first to arrive at the scene. Scores of NJ birders were already there and the Green Violet-ear was too! I got amazing scope views of the bird feeding and then perching on a branch just above the feeder. My few minutes with the bird were wonderful, but less than I wanted. Unfortunately, work has a habit of getting in the way of birding. I consider myself lucky to have seen this bird. After 7:00 AM, it was never seen again.
Special thanks to Scott Elowitz for sending me that pic of the actual bird. Check out his great photos when you get a chance.