Yellow-breasted Chat Fail

In the past week, I made it out to Sterling Forest State Park FIVE times in hopes of seeing one of the Yellow-breasted Chats that has been reported out there. Last Saturday, Maria Loukeris and I walked several of the trails at the park, after seeing several reports on eBird the week before. We came up empty-handed. Our best bird of the day was a Prairie Warbler located on the trail at the end of Ironwood Drive.

Prairie Warbler singing at Ironwood Drive in Sterling Forest SP, 5/31/14.
Prairie Warbler singing at Ironwood Drive in Sterling Forest SP, 5/31/14.

On Monday I received a text from Rob Stone; he had located a YBCH on the road that leads into Laurel Meadow Ponds in Sterling Forest SP. After work, as I raced over to the park, John Haas phoned to let me know he had located the bird as well. When I arrived, I immediately heard what I believed was the bird. Try as I might, I never located the bird. At one point, I identified the tree that the bird was in. I was catching glimpses of movement but never got a good look at the bird. Eventually, I wasn’t hearing the bird anymore and even later still, I started to doubt if I had heard it in the first place! On Tuesday, it was more of the same, I heard the bird early on and never located it, then the doubts crept in again. I tried again on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, but on both days I never even heard the bird. The highlight of Thursday’s outing was having two pairs of Blue-winged Warblers giving chase all around me on the trail at high speed. They were completely oblivious to my presence, whipping right by my head many times and perching (very briefly!) very close by. I managed to get a couple decent shots:

Blue-winged Warbler, Sterling Forest SP, 6/5/14.
Blue-winged Warbler, Sterling Forest SP, 6/5/14.
One of four Blue-winged Warblers that made my day. Sterling Forest SP, 6/5/14.
One of four Blue-winged Warblers that made my day. Sterling Forest SP, 6/5/14.

Of course, I took photos all week as I was going for the Yellow-breasted Chat, but really it was sort of an uneventful week of birding. Here are some shots from the week:

Yellow-billed Cuckoos are plentiful out at Sterling Park SP. This one was seen on 6/2/14.
Yellow-billed Cuckoos are plentiful out at Sterling Park SP. This one was seen on 6/2/14.
Another bird that I saw in high numbers this week - Cedar Waxwing at Sterling Forest SP, 5/31/14.
Another bird that I saw in high numbers this week – Cedar Waxwing at Sterling Forest SP, 5/31/14.
I feel like I took more photos of mammals than birds in the past week. Beaver at Laurel Meadow Ponds, 6/5/14.
I feel like I took more photos of mammals than birds in the past week. Beaver at Laurel Meadow Ponds, 6/5/14.

2 thoughts on “Yellow-breasted Chat Fail”

  1. Great shots Matt,

    I’m having difficulty getting online out here (CO) so I haven’t posted any of my shots yet. Have seen a few western species, but I was surprised to see so many different eastern species here.

    When the kids are off work after today I will hopefully get to see some more western species.

    Happy birding!!!
    Wilma

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