Columbia Basin trip (long)

Hal Opperman halop at accessone.com
Fri Sep 8 13:59:27 PDT 2000


JoLynn Edwards and I birded around the Columbia Basin September
4th-7th, from Vantage to Walla Walla with many stops along the way.
We encountered plenty of evidence of migration but no major fallouts
and no rarities. Here are some of the highlights.

Clark's Grebe - two with Western Grebes at Moses Lake, off Peninsula
Park on the east side of the peninsula south of I-90, on the 4th

American White Pelican - 13 in the air over the Columbia at the Walla
Walla River delta, on the 7th

Great Egret - four at Potholes WRA southwest of Moses Lake, near the
area where they nest, on the 5th

Greater White-fronted Goose - on McNary NWR, about two miles
southeast of Burbank in a large pond on the southwest side of Hwy 12,
400 noisy birds present at 10:30 a.m. with more arriving all the time
-- over 600 there when we left at 10:45, on the 7th

Rough-legged Hawk - one beautiful bird perched on a fencepost along
the road into the Whitman Mission site, west of Walla Walla

Baird's Sandpiper - 14 at the "County Line Ponds" east of Othello
along SR26 on the 4th, and three at the ponds at the corner of
Frenchman Hill and Dodson Roads, also on the 4th

Red-necked Phalarope - two along the east bank of the Columbia a mile
south of Wanapum Dam, three at "County Line Ponds," and several at
the Frenchman Hill/Dodson ponds, all on the 4th; several at Kahlotus
Lake on the 6th

Black Tern - one working the Frenchman Hill-Dodson ponds on the 4th

Lewis's Woodpecker - several seen here and there, including one at
Smyrna along Lower Crab Creek Road on the 4th

Western Wood-Pewee - migrants at Wanapum State Park and Moses Lake on
the 4th, and Washtucna on the 6th

Willow Flycatcher - one at Washtucna on the 6th

Pacific-slope Flycatcher - migrants at Washtucna and Lyons Ferry
State Park on the 6th and Madame Dorion State Park on the 7th; also
one "Western" Flycatcher along Coppei Creek on the 7th, where the
breeding species may be Cordilleran

Say's Phoebe - four birds along Bairds Spring Road in the upper part
of Lynch Coulee on the 5th, none found anywhere else in good-looking
breeding habitat, so presumably these were migrating (see also Sage
Thrasher, Brewer's Sparrow, and Lark Sparrow)

Warbling Vireo - one of the most numerous migrants, seen in twos and
fours at Vantage and Moses Lake on the 4th, Washtucna and Palouse
Falls State Park on the 6th, and Madame Dorion State Park on the 7th

Red-eyed Vireo - one at Vantage on the 4th

Bank Swallow - about 25 birds (migrant flock?) foraging above the
access road along the north side of Kahlotus Lake on the 6th

Canyon Wren - unusual only for the excellent close-up look at one
foraging among rocks on the Columbia shoreline at the point where the
old highway goes under water north of the Gingko SP overlook at
Vantage, on the 4th

Bewick's Wren - very local in eastern Washington, but
well-established near the mouth of the Walla Walla River where we saw
and heard several on the 7th

Townsend's Solitaire - a migrant at the Davenport cemetery on the
5th, and three or four others at Washtucna on the 6th

Ruby-crowned Kinglet - one at Washtucna on the 6th

Sage Thrasher - one in Lynch Coulee on the 5th; none found anywhere
else in good-looking breeding habitat, so presumably this one was
migrating (see also Say's Phoebe, Brewer's Sparrow, and Lark Sparrow)

Orange-crowned Warbler - only one, at Madame Dorian Park on the 7th

Nashville Warbler - one at Madame Dorion Park and another at the
nearby wildlife area, on the 7th

Yellow Warbler - migrants at Vantage on the 4th, Washtucna on the
6th, and Madame Dorion Park on the 7th

Yellow-rumped Warbler - found at essentially all stops on all days --
all Audubon's -- but never more than a few at any one place

Townsend's Warbler - just four individuals, at Vantage on the 4th,
Washtucna on the 6th, and Madame Dorion Park (2) on the 7th

Wilson's Warbler - the most common songbird migrant, seen at all
appropriate stops on all days, sometimes numerous

Western Tanager - one to three individuals each at Vantage on the
4th, Washtucna on the 6th, and Madame Dorion Park on the 7th

Brewer's Sparrow - a dozen or more flocking in the sagebrush along
the upper part of Lynch Coulee on the 5th, the only ones we found
anywhere so presumably migrating (see also Say's Phoebe, Sage
Thrasher, Lark Sparrow)

Lark Sparrow - one along Lynch Coulee on the 5th

Lincoln's Sparrow - one in the willow brush a half block south of the
park in Washtucna on the 6th

White-crowned Sparrow - good numbers of returning birds in brushy places

Hope you can get out for some good fall birding....

Hal Opperman
Medina, Washington
mailto:halop at accessone.com


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