Bird #239 — Yellow-breasted Chat

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 crisscrossed 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.

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