Thursday, December 9, 2010
A pleasant chat.
Last night I got a call from an old birding buddy. He asked if I wanted to play hooky and go search for the Yellow-breasted Chat that has been hanging out around the buildings at the Alaksen Wildlife Area for the past few days. Would I? The last chat I saw was at Point Pelee, Ontario, during spring migration when I was a teenager. I believe it was in the company of the same birding buddy. It had been a difficult bird to spot, in dense Carolinian understory.
These migratory birds, included within the wood warbler family, although not comfortably, are larger than other warblers, and in British Columbia are most common--which is not to say very common at all--in the relatively arid southern interior, where they inhabit brushy areas near water. At this time of year, a chat should be gobbling fruit and bugs in Central America.
This one, far from winter home in a cold, wet place, at least had the sense to show itself outside the window of a building full of ornithologists. And it repays the filling of the feeders by cooperatively appearing several times a day to be admired.