Yellow-breasted Chat

Today’s adventure in the Maine woods was a quest to find a Yellow-breasted Chat seen yesterday morning in Thomaston, Maine. The location, near the Thomaston Airport was familiar to us as Ingrid had sighted our first Northern Shrike there, some three years ago.

Up at 4:30, I arrived an hour later just as Eddie Edwards, another birder who knew the area arrived and we plunged into brush.

Eddie asked if I had knee high boots (I didn’t) and I quickly learned why, as the mud was pretty deep on the trail (actually skidder track . . . the area had been logged to for airport safety).

The Yellow-breasted Chat is a difficult bird to classify, some guides make it a warbler, still others say it has no relatives. It has a repertoire of whistles, grunts, rattles and catcalls that make it an easy bird to locate . . . or at least get near . . . as they enjoy thick brush. But one thing for sure, they are not a Maine bird as their northern range generally ends at New Jersey.

Anyway, Eddie and I followed the Chat rattles to a thicket and about a quarter mile from the road and finally coaxed him out for some photos.

Such an adrenaline just when you work hard to find a rare bird and one gets a great view.

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