Monday, April 30, 2012

A Nice Little Chat

My Chat
The first rain in a month came across Bull Creek this morning, welcome wetness even though it postponed a planned nature hike with Steve and Amy.  Once it stopped I took the dogs down the lane and ended up having a trilling little chat...with a yellow-breasted chat.

There were a series of 4 different bird songs coming from high on a bare tree limb.  I couldn't make it out against the gray sky and returned with binoculars.  By then it had flown to the tip of a 30 foot dead tree trunk.  I spent the next 10 minutes watching as it repeatedly went through its repertoire, its throat bulging in song.

I had never seen a chat before but guessed its identity by its bright yellow breast, its chattering song and a report on the GOAS* email of its presence along Red Bridge Road.  A series of 12x pictures from a pocket camera and some enhancement on I-Photo (ain't technology wonderful?)  confirmed the find.

A search of produced better pictures and the sound file played a series of identical calls that  reproduced the serenade. 

Yellow-breasted chats hang out in "dense second-growth, riparian thickets, and brush," a perfect description of our overgrown, unburned glade.  They nest in dense shrubs where they also glean much of their food, holding it with their foot.

For a "non-birder," hearing and identifying this chat was a thrill.  I have to say that I even like my picture better than the professional's, as it creates a much more vivid memory.

* GOAS is Greater Ozarks Audubon Society

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