Sunday, June 7, 2015

Assunpink 6/7--Yellow-breasted Chat

FAA Navigation Beacon at Assunpink WMA
There is a fine line between persistence and stubbornness. I have erased that line.

The winner of my "Most Effort Expended to Find It" award goes to Yellow-breasted Chat which I finally found today in the fields around the navigation beacon at Assunpink. It was my 3rd trip there in the last 2 weeks where I have spent hours tramping the tick infested paths looking for this very large warbler, obsessively circling back to a corner of one of the fields where last year I spotted one. It wasn't until I sincerely invoked the magical words, "Well, I guess I'm giving up on this bird," that I heard a chat in last year's place. I could count it, but I wasn't really satisfied.  I looked into the fields without much hope of seeing it--look at all that undifferentiated green. Then I saw a bird pop up in a bush. Yes, a very distant chat:
Can you find the chat? It's in there.
As I was moving along the path, hoping to at least get a better angle on the bird, I heard another chat close behind me. I turned, thinking it was deep in a tree directly in front of me, but turning a bit to my right I saw the bird "naked eye," singing.

 I looked at it closely for a few seconds through my binoculars then saw that it might be a cooperative bird and took some shots.

According to my records, I spent 7 hours and 44 minutes and trudged 6.3 miles altogether in order to find this bird and did not, amazingly, pick up one tick. In the course of looking for this bird in my 3 visits I also came up with Alder Flycatcher (a rarity hereabouts) a Horned Lark, lots of Indigo Buntings, and was able to watch the American Kestrels go in and out of their nest box. I walked out of the fields satisfied that my persistence/stubbornness had paid off but also wondering if they really had or was it just conceding defeat that made the chats show themselves?
29 species
Canada Goose  2     f/o
Mourning Dove  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  2
Willow Flycatcher  2
White-eyed Vireo  3
Tufted Titmouse  1
Carolina Wren  1     Heard
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
Eastern Bluebird  2
Wood Thrush  2     Heard
American Robin  6
Gray Catbird  15
Northern Mockingbird  1
Cedar Waxwing  2
Ovenbird  1     Heard Norway Spruce grove
Common Yellowthroat  15
Yellow Warbler  4
Yellow-breasted Chat
 2     both singing.
Eastern Towhee  4
Chipping Sparrow  1
Field Sparrow  10
Grasshopper Sparrow  1     Heard
Song Sparrow  1
Northern Cardinal  2     Heard
Indigo Bunting  4
Red-winged Blackbird  5
Common Grackle  1
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
American Goldfinch  1

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