A Chesty Trivecty

Before I get into today’s post, just wanted to mention I finally got my ’21 pumpkin carving project post out. I know some of you enjoy the Halloween related posts which I keep up on the mothership (link here). Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

I was able to get a cold weather run in a few days ago. The first one of the fall/winter season is always a jolt to my system and it didn’t help that this time there was sleet involved. A majority of my race season is in hot weather which the body, barring any extremes, is perfectly happy with. It’s the transition to the colder season that takes a bit getting used to. The temple requires a lot of replenishing oxygen especially on the trails and gulping air is the norm – taking cold air (especially with the sub-20sF, hell, sub zero) directly into the lungs can be a shock to the chest – I call it freeze-lungs.

Speaking of chests, you may have been wondering what was up with the post-a-palooza that recently occurred. We went up to Mayo for Linda’s annual checkup post heart surgery. This gave me some extra cycles in the waiting areas as she went through her battery of pokes, prods and the terrifying let’s see how close to death we can get her by turning off the pacemaker procedure – that one makes me cringe and I’m not even the one going through it. In the end, we received really good news, after two years, everything is working perfectly (when they are not purposely shutting things down) and her heart specialist is good with her getting into a new study involving a more natural blood thinner. Linda actually selected her valve type because of this feature, but she had some complications during the surgery that warranted the extra validation time. All great news!

How about we go ahead and make it a chesty trivecty with today’s featured feathered friend.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

How is that for a beautiful bird (keeping my promise to CJ). There are a lot of Warblers to choose from, but this color burst of a bird is definitely in my top 3 and top 10 across all the birds currently checked off my list. Maybe it’s the dainty size, possibly the brilliant white feathering that makes their strategic coloring pop or the whole package, but this species brings a smile to my face every time I encounter it in the field.

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this distinctly colored Warbler.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

If you are not familiar with this bird, it is a Chestnut -Sided Warbler Like many of the Warblers, this species prefers to winter in the southern part of Central America, the northern part of South America as well as the Caribbean islands. During breeding season they make the long migration to the New England states, northeastern border states and then up into Canada. There is an odd finger that extends down through West Virginia into Tennessee – not sure what is going on there. Ron is definitely in luck as they also lists Chicago as one of their breeding areas, the only sliver in all of IL – we did find them on a previous trip to Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary so I can attest they are there. That would have definitely been closer as this series was captured on our April trip to Dauphin Island off the Gulf Shores of Alabama. They were just taking a break after their long trek across the waters before continuing their northern migration.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

Compared to other Warblers, these Chestnuts seem more “spunky” and tolerant of people pointing large ominous black bazookas at them. “I’m too sexy for my feathers, too sexy for my feathers as I shake my little tush on the tree bark.” (hint, the only way to get that referenced song out of your head now will be to sing it out loud – apologies for the laughs if anyone sees you doing that .. wait, not sorry, everyone can use a laugh these days hehehe). “Look at me, I’m too sexy for this twig I’m hiding behind so you can’t get a clean shot of me”

Chestnut-Sided Warbler found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

I have to give kudos to the individual that named this creature after an easily distinguishable field characteristic. “Hey, look at that little white bird with the yellow cap and chestnut coloring on the side – I shall call it grey foot” Well, that is usually how it goes ha. Granted, this name probably doesn’t help you if you come upon a female or an immature as those have very little of the chestnut and if so, may not be easily visible. They are also more of a yellow-green highlight over a predominantly grey face and body. Admittedly, they all have grey feet.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

I was able to capture their signature posture. Cornell states that they often forage with their tails cocked and their wings drooped. The second shot in this post shows that behavior perfectly. The drooped wings at first reminded me of a constipated bird trying really really hard to crap on the “catwalk” (if I can’t get that song out my head, then we are all going to suffer hehehe).

Chestnut-Sided Warbler found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

While I’m providing a few extra perspectives to appease my brother and give you a good feel for the bird, let’s see what kinds of tidbits I can leave you with. In contrast to the Worm-Eater featured previously (link here), this Warbler prefers more open and younger deciduous trees. Likely more adaptable to urban expanse and new infrastructure projects.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

Their song is quite spunky as well consisting of a chorus that Cornell likens to “Pleased, pleased, pleased to meetcha!” or “I wish to meet Miss Beecher”. Now I am throwing that second one right out as I don’t hear that one at all. The first one is a better interpretation to me with the notable exception the meetcha part is a bit contrived. I listened to it over and over again and still can’t associate that enough to be able to use it in the field – not to mention it sounds more like 3 syllables vs the 2 in meetcha. I’d give you a better word to memorize, but honestly, haven’t been able to associate it to anything other than cat calls from “affectionate” construction workers.

Chestnut-Sided Warbler found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

Beyond that, not much really to pass along about this cutie. They have the food preference of most Warblers, being insects/spiders/etc. , and form monogamous pairs. Interesting, looks like they hold their tales straight or down when they get pissed off at other birds in the territory – now that is a good cue for Ron to start running!

Hope you enjoyed the latest addition to my birding life list – 6 to go to meet my goal. Now time to go suck some cold air into the lungs.

21 thoughts on “A Chesty Trivecty”

    1. Thank you Sam! It is quite stressful until the end of the day when we get final word from the doctor on how things are going. Kudos to the Mayo staff and doctors who do their very best to address all our needs and keep us positive through all the tests. I say us, but really it’s Linda that is taking the brunt of the day with all her procedures. Glad you enjoyed one of my favorite Warblers – have a wonderful day.

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  1. Very glad Linda is passing all the milestones and tests. You two deserve to have as long a retirement as you invested working, at least 1 for 1.
    And where do you dig up all the 60s they 80s lyrics? Here’s one that will get stuck: “It’s a small world after all. It’s a small world after all. It’s a small world after all. It’s a small small world”. Try to get that one out of your head.
    BTW, very nice, as expected, photos.

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    1. Between us we managed to clock in 62 years at big yellow (both short of your individual number of course) – hard to believe we came in right out of college, managed to meet the first day in the college grad training program and survived having to bring our work home with us every night for that long – even both in IT (thank god we had slightly different specialties). Was thinking during this afternoon’s rather chilly training run that we are coming up on our 1` year anniversary when you and I unofficially took our retirement – are you missing it yet?

      I was fortunate enough to grow up with a lot of musical influences – Rollings Stones fanatic in my teens, older brothers a huge influence on the rock classics, then got hooked by hair bands before going to college and introduced to punk, grunge, emo and pinch of techno. All thanks to a place called Rentertainment that let you “rent” a CD for a buck a week – I hear that place was later shut down by the FBI, but my roommates and I had the largest tape collection you cold ever imagine. Add in all the years going to the Madison in Peoria and I’m left with horribly ringing ears and oodles of lyrics to choose from! To be honest I am more surprised when other people pick up on the references ha! Of course, now that you bring up that god awful song it is swirling in my head as well – damn you Brad! Just wait until I unleash Barbie Girl references on everyone.

      all I can say is “Life is plastic, it’s fantastic!”

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      1. To answer your question in a single word. NO! But to be truthful, I do miss the people I interacted with and worked with on a daily basis. As my father-in-law said at his retirement party/roast “I’ll miss the entertainment of my coworkers”. (BTW, he’s been retired 32 years and counting, a few short of his 1:1 ratio) I’ve finally begun to relax and not fearing getting ready for work the next day or three. I just passed the year anniversary when I “pushed the button” and looking forward to celebrating the anniversary of my first pension check.
        As the oldest I didn’t really discover any music until I was in high school. I was classically trained on a viola (slightly larger and half-octave deeper version of a violin) so growing up in the early hard rock years added a certain dichotomy to my musical tastes.
        I didn’t really discover birding until the last few years of my dad’s life. I always knew red-winged blackbirds (featured earlier this year), but only became interested as I moved to Central IL and ended up surrounded by woods with a well worn copy of Sibley’s.
        Having said all that, my photography has barely improved in the past year, sad as that is.
        – The more things change, the more they stay the same

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      2. I definitely miss the people – let me clarify – some of the people. There’s always those individuals in the family that tend to get on your nerves or wouldn’t trust turning your back on if they had a knife in their hand. Surprisingly few of those during the course of my career owing to the Midwest culture. I always used those outliers as examples of how I didn’t want to act in the workplace.
        Glad to hear you are starting to relax – I’m getting there, but I still get the “crazies” if I’m not doing something productive – good thing is those activities are not all things I tend to enjoy. Everyone once in awhile I’ll wake up in cold sweat thinking I forgot to get a report done for my director (also still have nightmares I completely skipped or was late to a college final exam – what’s up with that ?!?). Talk about a huge relief when I realize the only director I have to please these days is Linda (and I thought my previous management was demanding…).
        Never played an instrument when I was growing up thanks to a nasty stubborn streak – father and brother played the sax, but I wanted to play the guitar. Parents wouldn’t let me until I learned a classical instrument first and that wasn’t going to happen. In adult life I did make good and took guitar lessons and these days I really enjoy banging on the drums (like running, an awesome way to get any frustrations taken out).
        On the birding front, I started in high school at Ron’s nudging, left it when I went off to college and didn’t really pick it back up until working at Cat and looking for something to do with my spare time after having to end my fight club participation.
        It is likely you just don’t have a good comparison that shows you are improving in your photography – with 15 years of this blog, I can definitely see some improvement from those early years which are not embarrassingly bad – at least now you can tell it is actually a bird !

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    1. Thank you Timothy – these little balls of color tend to hang out farther east than you, but you might catch a stray as they migrate through the middle of Texas. Word has it they scare the crap out of zombies! Appreciate you coming by Timothy.

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  2. The pumpkin post was awesome. I guess that doing it in foam means you have them from year to year. Hummmm…nope, I will continue to do the ones that mold after a week in the Dutch weather and then become Smashing Pumpkins ! LOL!
    Birds and bands should be a great blog title, I think you can pull it off! Great post, I will send you a finder fee for all the mentions you give me in your blog. What do you think.001 per time?

    Best wishes on Linda! Safe travels home as I hear there was a blizzard on two fronts.

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    1. Why thank you CJ! I became soured very quickly with real pumpkins once the time to complete it went beyond the time for that damn thing to rot. Since then I’ve learned about ways to extend the real pumpkin life, but I really like being able to invest the time in carving and being able to enjoy it every year after – from afar, many people cannot even tell it isn’t a real pumpkin so all the better. I saw what you did there with the name of one of my favorite bands hehehe. Not sure I could do a hold post dedicated to birds and bands – much easier to cleverly intersperse references – like hidden treasures for my readers to find (or more likely the case completely overlook ha). Let’s see .001 (assuming that is US cents although these days it may be better to get that in a Dutch currency) – ~6 posts a month, ramp it up a bit and promote the CJ chronicles for 10 times a post, add this, subtract that, multiply and carry the one… that is 6 cents a month or a large gumball every 4.3 months – COUNT ME IN!

      We did make it home before the blizzard hit – we were watching the weather the entire time we were there as it was raining and the temps were dropping. To give Linda a break we stayed there an extra night and blew out of there the next morning before the scheduled snow was to hit – forgot to check to see if that happened or not. Last year we did have to drive home in the snow ugh. Have a great day CJ (I’ll keep referencing your great blog free of charge)

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      1. Awesome! Like who gets a freebie now a days?
        Talking of gum ball machines CNN had an article on a German guy converting gum ball machines into bee seed dispensers! Great idea!!!
        They only got a dusting in S.MN but up where I am found 2-4 inches which I am sure made my bambie hunting friends happy.

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      2. Did you mean bird seed? If, so that sounds like an excellent idea and would be a fantastic way for additional funding for nature areas by simply putting those at the trail head (although the downside would be habituating the birds to gumball machines causing quite the stir when a kid went for a real gumball ha). If he really made this for “bee” seeds then I want to hear more about that for sure (devious Bri is thinking a few hidden bee seeds in Ron’s backpack might spice up our bird outings! not that everything in the field doesn’t already attack him. Bow hunters are out in force these days (we happen to live in a trophy buck region) to the point it is a bit dangerous to run some of my standard trail runs (especially wearing my favorite antler themed hat). First shotgun season is this weekend so I’ll likely wake up to blasts each morning. The smart deer know my land is a “safe zone” so every year they mass in the woods in our valley – venture too far off the property lines and they are sure to be in someone’s crosshairs. Note, not opposed to controlled hunting as those animals can be incredibly destructive I just prefer to shoot them with a camera.

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  3. BTW, I really like the photo where he (she) is looking right at you, casually posed on a twig/branch. Kinda like a high school senior photo session, only better.

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    1. It would be a he, the females are more yellow-green and more importantly have a significantly smaller chestnut patch if they even have one at all. Assume you are talking about the one that doesn’t have the twig running directly in front its face – I saw that in the tin and completely laughed at it (so of course I had to include it ha). You have probably noticed by now I rarely show straight on portraits of birds – for one thing it generally creeps me out as they often take on a completely different look (as an example, take a look at a Heron or Bittern straight on be prepared to be shocked. The one you are likely referencing does give a slightly grumpier look, but I ended up liking it enough to include – think you hit the nail on the head, with your senior picture reference – although better would be a stretch!

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    1. Thank you Lisa, Linda has had a tough road with all that went on during the surgery and the road back to health (and of course having to put up with me being around a lot more since my retirement ha). So glad all the difficult decisions she had to make are turning out for the best. appreciate you dropping in and have a wonderful rest of the weekend.

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