Sunday, June 17, 2012

Chattin' with the chat

As I mentioned in my last post (also done today), I went after a Yellow-breasted Chat that's been seen at Bald Eagle State Park, about 30 miles from my house.

The key to finding the bird was, of all things, patience. Gretchen and I had missed on the bird the other night because we just didn't wait around long enough, I think. This time, I went to the tree where the bird had been seen and just stood and sat around, listening to the millions of Gray Catbirds and Red-winged Blackbirds. After about 30 minutes, just when I was just about to give up (isn't that always when the good stuff happens?), I heard the craziest sound: a single-noted call, but not a single note; it was more like several notes in harmony, a chord, almost a twanging sound. This was nothing like any other bird I'd heard before. I first thought it was a catbird showing off, but I kept hearing it, and that's when I saw the unmistakeable flash of deep yellow. First, he was skulky, giving me only little glances:

Can I help you?!

but then he did what Gretchen had told me he would do: he picked a spot and sang from it, although only ever the one note, the twang.
It sounded NOTHING like the call on my Stokes CDs. 

 The light was terrible; it was between 7:30 and 8:30, and there was some thin cloud cover muting the sunlight. Still -- isn't he beautiful? Lifer number 338!


Rabbits' Guy said...

Lotsa Birds - boy there are pretty ones back there. We have some awesome ones, but not many pretty ones!

Dan L. said...

Great photos, I have yet to add this species to my life list, but I'll be on the lookout for it now. I recently started a new natural history blog called New England Nature Notes, which might be of interest to you:

Perhaps if you like what you see we could exchnage links (i.e., I would post a link to your site on my site, and vice versa)

Drop me a line if you're interested at:

Daniel E. Levenson
New England Nature Notes

dguzman said...

Rabbits' Guy--but your Varied Thrush is beautiful.

Dan--sure thing; can't wait to check out your blog, especially as I'll be moving to Maine in about two months!

Owl Things First said...

Great pics! The best picture I ever took was a Chat just after he was banded. Here's the link:
Glad you stopped by!

I'd Rather Be Birding