Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Chat chat

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Yellow-Breasted Chat, Trinity Church
Very bird, such urban

We've had a lot of Yellow-Breasted Chats in Manhattan this Fall. By "a lot", I mean three or four--they're never an abundant bird here.

There was one in Central Park at the end of October, that I mentioned in an earlier post, and then two appeared in lower Manhattan--one in a traffic roundabout just south of City Hall, and one in the yard of Trinity Church. I wasn't able to get downtown to look for either until last Friday.

Trinity Church is a rather unlikely birding spot. The churchyard is fairly small, there's not much ground cover, and there isn't a water source. Nevertheless, birds show up there--75 total species at last count--, which we know mostly through the diligent efforts of Ben Cacace.

Last Fall, a pair of Connecticut Warblers showed up there. Like the Chat this year, these normally reclusive birds put on quite a show for a throng of birders. Not by choice, certainly; as I said, not much ground cover.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Winter Wren, Trinity Church
a real cutie

The church was doing some work on the churchyard last year, which is mostly done (though the Chat did like hiding in the raining construction material in the northwest corner of the yard).

They've put up a lot of low wire fencing to separate the paths from the grave plots, which is good even for the birders. Last year there was a little problem with one or two photographers stalking the Connecticut around the graves, lumbering like Frankenstein's monster. Some people just don't know what they're doing. You've got a big long lens, you don't need to try to get within ten feet of the poor bird. Sheesh.

Anyway. No such problems this year, and the Chat was relatively little disturbed by the assembled bird paparazzi (there were a dozen or so when I was there, even though the Chat had been there over two weeks by that point).

There were a few other birds around as well--a very cooperative Winter Wren, and two or three Hermit Thrushes.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Hermit Thrush, Trinity Church
memento birdie

As of today (11/23), the Chat is still there--three weeks and counting.

Ed Gaillard: birds &emdash; Yellow-Breasted Chat, Trinity Church
a long engagement

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