icteria (jaundice, yellowness) virens (becoming green)
Tuesday, May 3, 1983 — 7:50 am
Mayflower, Arkansas — Bell Slough Wildlife Area
This was a scary place. I parked along Lake Conway, crossed the dam and hiked a short way back through the trees into a large brushy area. The brushes, shrubs and small trees were thick and grew to about seven feet high. The area was criss-crossed by weedy, partly overgrown roads. It looked and felt like a good place for snakes, and I walked very, very, very carefully.
I spotted the Yellow-breasted Chat as it flew to the top of a small tree in the middle of the brushy area. It sang for a little while, then flew down into the tangle. I spotted another one singing in a nearby bush. Their flight was strange, fluttery, with both wings held up at right angles to the body much of the time.
The song was a weird mixture of calls, chirps and whistles in series or singly with spaces in between. At each note, their throats puffed up.