Date: 10/5/17 5:02 pm
From: DOUGLAS E CHICKERING <dovekie...>
Subject: [MASSBIRD] Make my Day

            I had only a limited time to bird; a couple of hours, so I had planned my day before hand. Upon reaching the parking lot at Hellcat on Plum Island I met with two of my birding friends, Steve Babbitt and Marge Watson. They had already walked through Hellcat and described the birding therein as “quiet”. They had only seen a single Black-throated Blue Warbler, and although understanding the vagaries of birding they were.. well disappointed. It is October and the year had been unspectacular so far. I headed in, not expecting much and on the way in met three more of my birding friends and all three confirmed that it was quiet. For a fleeting minute I wondered if I should push on or consider someplace else. After all, everyone I had talked to had found some good birds at the Wardens.

            I had planned to go through Hellcat and decided to carry on. I knew that I would have just enough time to also take in the Wardens. During this walk I would learn a valuable, easy lesson. That is don’t place too much reliance on others sightings. I am sure that their assessment was accurate for what they saw. But Plum Island is a pretty big place and we get to see so little of it. I walked out to the old blind and on the way back I could hear the high- pitched squeaks of Chickadees fairly nearby. Now whenever I search for passerines and hear chickadees I stop and try to pish them in. It doesn’t always work but many times I have seen other birds more or less accompanying the Chickadees. This time while brining in the Chickadees I opened a little patch of Warblers. Black-throated green, Nashville, Parula and Wilson’s. Already it was far more than I was expecting.

            I continued on heading back to the parking lot when I caught the sight of movement in a bush on the left side of the boardwalk, about waist high. I brought the movement in with my binoculars and the first thing I saw was orange legs and what appeared to be rather large feet. The bird moved a bit and as it did I saw that the undersides were a yellow the back a dull brownish olive and that there were no wing bars of streaks. Then it popped its head up and I gasped. Bright symmetrical eye ring in a brownish hood that extended down the throat where it seemed to fade into yellow. Connecticut Warbler.

            I am used to seeing the various reports of Connecticut warbler and so many appear to be in a matter-of-fact way. To me Connecticut Warbler is one of the phantoms of the birding world; an apparition that is devilish hard to get even a glimpse. It made my day.

           Doug Chickering



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