I and the Bird

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Friday, November 10, 2006

YB Chat and Other Updates

The Maine birding bonanza had slowed down a little since last week's trip to Biddeford Pool. I had gone out several times without much luck...the sea ducks had disappeared and lingering passerines weren't showing themselves.

But today I awoke with a spring in my step and felt like I was gonna see something good. There were reports of a Yellow-Bellied Chat on Munjoy Hill in Portland (not a place I would consider a great birding location...) and so I thought I'd give it a try.

Now, I usually bird alone. And I'm fine with that. But there are definite benefits to birding with other people. Today I showed at the spot where the bird was reported. I walked around aimlessly, didn't hear or see anything, and was getting ready to leave when a man with Maine Audubon stickers pulled up. Excellent.

The man's name was Turk and he told me that not only had he seen the Chat in this area, but he had just seen ANOTHER Chat down the road (there have been about 6 YB Chats reported in Maine recently...). Turk was a good birder, and didn't get nearly as discouraged as I did. Turk and I birded around the overgrown, abandoned lot and turned up quite a few good species. Lots of cardinals, hermit thrush, white-throated sparrows, house finches and, believe it or not, my first ever Fox Sparrow. Two of them.

After about 20 unsuccessful minutes of chat-searching I could tell that even Turk was ready to throw in the towel. Just then our bird dropped into view. Lovely. I've seen so many chats in field guides that I recognized it immediately, although I was pleasantly surprised at how bright its namesake breast was. After a few quick glimpses of the birds chest and one good look at its head, it dropped out of sight and was unable to be relocated. Satisfied, Turk and I parted ways, both happy.

IN other news, this blog is still called birdDC...even though I'm in Maine and going to Colorado in a week. I haven't figured out a new blog yet, but, I will. I'll keep you posted.
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Location: Portland, ME

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