Sunday, September 8, 2013

Yellow breasted chat!

Yellow Breasted Chat
At 7:30 a.m., it was 64 degrees and cloudy, but it looked like the sun might come out.

I would like to mention that in the last week or so, Mary Lou has seen a yellow throated vireo, black throated blues &  black-throated greens.

When I first arrived, the lower gardens were dead quiet until some blue jays started squawking. I heard a catbird and then saw several cedar waxwings eating berries from one of the crabapple trees. There were several youngsters in tow.

Cedar Waxwing young
It turned out to be a beautiful morning. Mary Lou turned up about twenty minutes after I did, but in the meantime I saw several black & white warblers (one that was still developing its adult coloration), a phoebe, flickers, house wrens, chimney swifts, cardinals, chippers, mourning doves and a common yellowthroat. We combed the gardens in hopes of seeing the indigo bunting she and Haynes had seen yesterday. Sadly, we never saw it, but did see two hummers, some barn swallows, ducks flying overhead and some downies. Mary Lou caught sight of two baby waxwings being fed bright red berries by their mom. I missed the mom, but caught the babies impatiently waiting for more!

Robins and their young were massing together flying from tree to tree. A nuthatch was scouring the bark of a nearby tree trunk. The gardens are especially attractive at this time of year with all the yummy seeds attracting goldfinches, chickadees and song sparrows in great numbers. We saw another black & white nearby. As we rounded the corner towards the back of the gardens, Mary Lou was helped up! She saw a bright yellow-breasted chat sitting right out in the open. Thank god it sat there for a moment and let me take its picture!! Shortly after it flew off and poor Jonathan who had joined us just missed it.

Young Tanager?
We all headed down to the soccer field and pond, but saw only a catbird. Mary Lou left to go a certain route but Jonathan wanted to see if he could see the chat and I was only too happy to see if I could see it again. We arrived and found this very strange looking bird sitting on a branch. It was olive yellow with a yellow belly and bright yellow under the tail, blackish gray wings, and a very slight eye ring around a black eye. It's beak was not delicate. It was very confusing because it looked a little like a winter goldfinch, but no wing bars, no orange beak and larger in size. As I looked through Sibley to look at immature goldfinches, I came across the scarlet tanager page where I saw a picture of a young tanager and it looked just like the bird we had seen. I guess it shouldn't be that surprising considering we see or mostly hear them in the spring near the JCC and hopefully this is one that was born at Nahanton!

Then we saw the chat - not for long but we saw it! Jonathan was so happy!


  1. WOW! Great find on the Yellow-breasted Chat! And a picture too. Was in in the upper or lower gardens?

  2. It was at the back of the upper gardens. Mary Lou is the one who spotted it. It was beautiful.

  3. Fabulous! and a great picture. I was spending my allotted birding time at the Drumlin Farm Optics Fair. What a miss!