#356: Yellow-bellied Flycatcher on the Burn Road

This morning I got to sleep in till almost 3:20 A.M. before I had to get up to catch the bus for the ABA Convention’s Boreal Forest trip. We drove north from Bangor, almost to the Canadian border, before entering the Baskahegan Co.’s timber lands. Warblers abounded, as did the mosquitoes and other insects they were feeding on. Heavy DEET was a necessity.

I was hoping for some of the Boreal specialties: Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, and Boreal Chickadee. Sadly that was not to be. None of those species made more than brief appearances; and none of them showed up anywhere I was looking. (No one saw or heard a Boreal Chickadee at all; and only a few people caught fleeting glimpses of Gray Jay and Black-backed Woodpecker.) However our leader Mike O’Brien did quickly find and point out a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, my life bird for the day. (Our Australian and South American visitors did better with between 10 and 20 life birds apiece. The prize, though, was taken by an American on his first birding trip who picked up 32 life species.)

The foliage was thick, though; and birds were more heard than seen. I really should have brushed up on my warbler songs earlier. We mostly had the same birds that were passing through New York City last month; but this time they were on their breeding territory and singing their lungs out. Northern Waterthrush was just one of the loudest and most unfamiliar of songs. Others included Black-throated Blue Warbler, Ovenbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, and Nashville Warbler.

Non-warbler species of note included Blue-headed Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Cedar Waxwing, Scarlet Tanager, Least Flycatcher, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Common Grackle, Blue Jay, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Chipping Sparrow, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Purple Finch, White-throated Sparrow, Black-capped Chickadee, and American Robin. (I’m only listing species here I personally saw or heard. There were numerous others seen/heard by other group members that I missed. We were split into several groups in several locations, so I don’t think even the leaders got everything.)

There were also a few interesting flyovers including Common Loon, Osprey, and Double-crested Cormorant.

Later in the day the sun got hotter, the mosquitoes went away, and the birds went to sleep. We tried for Mourning Warbler and Bay-breasted Warbler, but without much success.

The bus trip home was also relatively eventful. Steve, our bus driver, spotted a moose from the Interstate; and jolted everyone awake pulling over to the side so we could see it. And that’s pretty much it until tomorrow (aside from dinner at a very strange Texas-themed steakhouse. I’m not sure I can properly describe that one.)

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