Northeastern Washington: 11-15 June

Andy Stepniewski steppie at
Tue Jun 19 18:46:44 PDT 2001


Last week (11-15 June), Hal Opperman and I undertook a marathon
survey of Washington's northeast corner (Spokane, Ferry, Stevens, and
Pend Oreille Counties) in preparation for the forthcoming American
Birding Association "A Birder's Guide to Washington" which we are
editing. Written by a number of expert Washington birders and
sponsored by WOS, this major rewrite of the famous Wahl and Paulson
birdfinding guide is due out in the spring of 2002 (we hope). We had
a number of interesting observations which we wish to share with

Common Goldeneye - We encountered three females with broods: 1 -
White Mud Lake, east of Colville; 2 - Hatch Lake, also east of
Colville; 3 - Big Meadow Lake, west of Ione. In addition, we had a
number of females at the Chewelah sewage ponds and at Bayley Lake in
the Little Pend Oreille NWR.

Barrow's Goldeneye - brood (nearly grown) on a lake along Dry Canyon
which runs south from Sullivan Lake Road east of Ione in a narrow
trench. The road down this canyon (FR-1933) offers wonderful birding
for most of its distance toward Usk.

Bald Eagle - three immatures around Calispell Lake (why isn't this
place a NWR?).

Northern Goshawk - along Silver Creek Road in the Colville Indian

Spruce Grouse - one hen at Salmo Pass.

Wild Turkey - two (together) on the Silver Creek Road south of Inchelium.

White-headed Woodpecker - one female at Little Pend Oreille NWR

Least Flycatcher - one singing bird just north and east of Tacoma
Creek bridge (north of Cusick).

Red-eyed Vireo - numerous in the "Far Northeast." In many parts of the
Sanpoil, Colville, and Pend Oreille River Valleys, we had them singing arll
around us. Delightful!

Boreal Chickadee - several on ridge south of Bunchgrass Meadows,
several more at Salmo Pass.

Bewick's Wren - one at Little Spokane River Natural Area at the
northwest edge of Spokane. A wonderful riparian area, just about
reason enough to move to this beautiful (mostly) city!

Cassin's Vireo - frequently encountered wherever open Douglas-fir
forests were birded.

American Redstart - frequently encountered in alder/willow wetlands
(Amazon Creek, Dry Canyon).

Northern Waterthrush - as above, except perhaps with areas of
slow-moving water (Amazon Creek turnoff on SR-20, Big Meadow Lake,
Dry Canyon, Kalispel Indian Reservation).

Pine Grosbeak - one on ridge south of Bunchgrass Meadows, another
singing at Salmo Pass.

Red Crossbill - hundreds of Douglas-fir types (moving south?) at
middle elevations on Togo Mountain northwest of Kettle Falls, in
Western Larch and Lodgepole Pine forests. Again on Salmo Pass at
middle elevations, there in Western Hemlock, Engelmann Spruce,
scattered Western Larch. Lower down, Ponderosa Pine types also common.

White-winged Crossbill - several seen and heard with Reds on Togo
Mountain. More noted on Salmo Mountain, even at the top.

We want to say the Northeast is one of Washington's richest birding areas
and probably the least known. Of course, we look forward to sharing details
on numerous outstanding sites in this area that are not in existing guides.
We had an exciting week, filled with discovery. Really!

Stay tuned!

Andy Stepniewski
Wapato WA
steppie at

and Hal Opperman

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