Saturday, July 30, 2011

Yellow-breasted Chat - Western Birds

Yellow-breasted Chats are pretty much found throughout the U.S from coast to coast with the exception of  the high elevations of the Rockies, the extreme northeast, and a few spotty areas in the borders of Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.  Even though they are found in Illinois, I have never seen one in Illinois, as they are considered uncommon and secretive and tend to hide in the dense brush.
A Yellow-breasted Chat, Crystal Cove State Park, CA; 6/17/2011.
On the very last day I had in Newport Beach, California, I decided to make one last trip to Crystal Cove State Park before I had to pack off.  After a couple of hours (and running a cross a Bobcat and several roadrunners), I needed to head back, and on my return I heard this loud chattering fly past behind me, and I saw the bird which made the noise land on an open branch a good 100 feet from me. It wasn't in the best light, but I snapped a photo, and before I could get a second shot, off it went chattering a way out of sight.  Even though I never saw one before, by the brief look I had of it and my recall of the many images in bird books I've leafed through, I hoped it was a Yellow-breasted Chat. And sure enough after looking at its image on my LED screen, it was (Above), and it became #305 on my Life List.

These birds are from the warbler family, and is one of the very few warblers found in the extreme West. They are fairly large at 7 1/2" long and (as their name suggests) are noted for their very bright yellow breast, white spectacles, and olive-gray back, head, and tail. Their yellow breasts give way to a white under belly.

Crystal Cove State Park was good to me in the 5 days I spent some time there. I identified 40 species, 23 of which were FOYs, and added 11 new birds to my Life List.

Crystal Cove State Park, CA (6/13-6/14 & 6/16-6/17)
Birds Identified: Mourning Doves, Common Yellowthroats, Brown Pelicans (FOY), American Crows, Common Ravens, Brewer's Blackbird (FOY), Brown-headed Cowbirds, California Gulls (FOY), Heerman's Gulls (FOY), California Quail (FOY), Greater Roadrunners (FOY), California Towhees (FOY), Spotted Towhees, House Finches, Lesser Gold Finches (FOY), Mallard Duck, Song Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, House Sparrows, Starling, Black Phoebes (FOY), Says Phoebe, Double-crested Cormorants, California Gnatcatchers  (FOY), Bushtits  (FOY), Wrentits  (FOY), Ash-throated Flycatchers  (FOY), Bullock's Oriole  (FOY), Coopers Hawk  (FOY), Black Skimmers  (FOY), Allen's Hummingbird  (FOY), Bewick's Wren  (FOY), House Wrens, Cassin's Kingbird  (FOY), Yellow-rumped Audubon's Warbler  (FOY), Yellow Warblers, Cliff Swallows  (FOY), Northern Mockingbird  (FOY), and a Yellow-breasted Chat  (FOY).

Additions to Life List (292-302 & 305): California Quail, California Towhee, Black Skimmer. Bushtit, Bullock's Oriole, Allen's Hummingbird, Bewick's Wren, Wrentit, California Thrasher, Cassin's Kingbird, and Yellow-breasted Chat.
Sunset of the Day
The last two posts, I highlighted a photo from this same scene (on Watchman's Peak) as the sun was setting . This photo was just minutes later as storm clouds rolled in and everything turned gold form the setting sun, Crater Lake National Park, OR; 7/10/2008.

1 comment:

~Val said...

I've never seen a Chat before. He's cute. The sunset is one of my favorites from that trip.