Iceland Gull at Clarkston,Asotin Co.

Ruth Sullivan GODWIT at
Sun Mar 24 21:51:31 PST 2002

Hello Tweets,

My mother and I birded March 23rd and 24th in portions of southeastern
WA,mainly in Asotin Co. in search of several recent sightings, as well as
locating any early spring arrivals. We encountered a total of 102 species
with 960 miles of driving, with driving and birding made through 9 counties.
The main highlight of our trip was the adult ICELAND GULL located and well
observed at the Asotin Co. landfill on the 24th(today)at 8:30am-8:40am after
repeated searching for it and the Lesser Black-backed Gull on both days. The
gull was observed in a mixed gull flock of California,Herring,and
Ring-billed Gulls and observed from the south fence bordering the landfill
along 6th Street,which is accessed from Evans Rd. west of Clarkston. The
landfill basically lies on the hill west of Clarkston and south of the Snake
River and during both days of visits hosted relatively good, but variable
numbers of up to 6 species of gulls including 2(1 1st winter bird,1 adult
bird)Thayer's Gulls,and 2(1 subadult,1 adult)GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS amongst
the commoner California,Herring,and Ring-billed Gulls in that order of
abundance,which was consistant throughout the entire Clarkston area while
searching for Iceland and Lesser Black-backed Gull. We did not encounter the
Lesser Black-backed Gull during our extensive two day search of the
Clarkston area,but feel fortunate to have at least found one of the two
target gulls of our trip and also emphasize to future trips made by others
to search ALL the associating areas that host good gull numbers,especially
the Asotin Co. landfill(most readily viewed from 6th Street), Fair Street
access to the Snake River in Clarkston,areas along the Snake River east of
Evans Rd. to Clarkston along Hwy.12,and Swallows Park along Hwy.129,BUT keep
in mind that gull numbers may greatly vary from day to day or time of day at
many of these locations,as experienced by us from very good gull numbers at
all locations on the 23rd between 12:30pm-6pm to extremely few gulls on the
24th during our stay until 11:30am,except for the Asotin Co. landfill,which
proved successful in locating the adult Iceland Gull. Also gull and duck
feeding made by locals at Swallows Park and other associating areas along
the Snake River may increase or decrease depending on the day of the week or
weather conditions,which may attract greater gull diversity. The adult
Iceland Gull was immediately picked out as it roosted among the other Larus
gulls until it flew east towards the Snake River,by its very pale gray
mantle,completely white primaries,rounded head,clear iris,and short,straight
yellow bill with red gonys among other subtle features,BUT this bird did not
appear as pale mantled as the adult bird that we observed along the Puyallup
River in Tacoma in January 2000,nevertheless it is a quality bird anywhere
in WA and will hopefully remain for a short while longer,depending on

Despite not locating the Lesser Black-backed Gull in Clarkston,which may
probably still be present in the immediate area we had a great time doing
additional birding to and from our destination, but weather conditions were
quite varibale both days with our worst weather being today with light to
moderate rain from Clarkston to Walla Walla. The greater portion of the trip
consisted of partly to mostly sunny skies with cloudiest conditions being in
Asotin Co. along the Idaho border both days,and relatively clear,windy
conditions from the Wallula to Thorp on our way home. We briefly checked in
Ellensburg both days on destinations for the Hoary Redpoll previously
reported by Scott Downes,but had NO LUCK as he mentioned himself on the
23rd. We did encounter several birders both days during our visit to
Clarkston including Ken Knittle,Mark Houston of Spokane,and a few other
other birders,but many of us were in seperate areas at times. A list of our
additional most notable highlights,including a few early spring arrivals
follows by listed locations:

Common Loon
1 along the Snake River south of Swallows Park,Asotin Co.(AS)on the 23rd

Horned Grebe
4 in breeding plumage along the Snake River at Chief Timothy S.P.,AS on the

Western Grebe
13 at Clarkston,AS(with a few additional birds noted west to Evans Rd. along
the Snake River and at the mouth of Clearwater River mouth in
Lewiston,Idaho)both days

American White Pelican
11 along the Columbia River at Wallula,Walla Walla Co.(WW)on the 24th

Double-crested Cormorant
14+ along the Snake River at Clarkston,AS on the 23rd
8 along the Snake River along Hwy.12,east of Chief Timothy S.P.,AS both days

Tundra Swan
4 along I-90 between MP 103.8 and MP 105.8,west of Ellensburg,Kittitas
175+ at the Para ponds near Othello,Adams Co.(AD)on the 23rd
2 along Hwy.12 at MP 310,WW on the 24th
15 at the Walla Walla River Delta,WW on the 24th

Greater White-fronted Geese
450+ along Hwy.12 at MP 300 on the McNary NWR,WW on the 23rd

Wood Duck
1 pair along the Snake River at Clarkston,AS on the 23rd
1 pair east of Chief Timothy S.P. along the Snake River,AS on the 23rd

Eurasian Wigeon
2 males at Swallows Park,AS both days(with 1 Am./Eurasian Wigeon hybrid)

Greater Scaup
1 male along the Snake River at Chief Timothy S.P.,AS on the 24th

Turkey Vulture
2 along Hwy.12 at MP 415,Garfield Co.(GA)on the 23rd
1 along Hwy.12 at MP 420,GA on the 23rd
2 along I-90 at MP 89(east of Cle Elum),KT on the 24th
2 along I-90 at MP 83 at Cle Elum,KT on the 24th

Bald Eagle
2 adults at Clarkston,AS on the 23rd
1 adult at along Hwy.12 at MP 427.5(west of Chief Timothy S.P.),AS both days

1 adult along Hwy.17 at the Adams/Franklin Co. line(north of Scooteney
Reservoir)on the 23rd

Rough-legged Hawk
2 along Hwy.12 between MP 315 and 317,(west of Touchet),WW both days

Golden Eagle
1 along Hwy.12 at MP 379,Columbia Co. on the 23rd

1 along Hwy.12(west of Chief Timothy S.P.),AS on the 23rd

Prairie Falcon
1 along Hwy.26 at MP 13(west of Royal City),Grant Co.(GR)on the 23rd

6 along Silcott Hills Rd.(acccessed from Hwy.12,east of Chief Timothy S.P.),
AS on the 24th

Virginia Rail
4 along lower Evans Rd.,AS on the 24th

Sandhill Cranes
very good numbers along Hwy.26(Grant/Adams Co.), and along Hwy.17(south of
Othello)to Mesa,Franklin Co. both days

1 along Hwy.26 at MP 30.5,GR on the 23rd

Long-billed Curlew
1 pair along Hwy.12 at Touchet,WW on the 23rd

65+ at the Walla Walla River Delta,WW on the 24th

1 adult at Swallows Park,AS on the 23rd

1 along Hwy.12 at MP 427.5,AS both days

Am.Crow(scarcest area of WA to encounter this species)
1 along Evans Rd. on the 24th

Canyon Wren
7 along Hwy.12(east of Evans Rd.,west of Clarkston),AS on the 23rd

Marsh Wren
1 along Evans Rd.,AS on the 24th

Mountain Bluebird
1 along Hwy.26 at MP 25(east of Royal City),GR on the 23rd

Varied Thrush
6 at Chief Timothy S.P.,AS on the 24th

Loggerhead Shrike
1 along Hwy.17 at MP 16,FR on the 24th

Yellow-rumped Warbler
1 at Swallows Park,AS on the 23rd

1 along Hwy.12 at Evans Rd.,AS on the 24th

Fox Sparrow
1 Hwy.12 at MP 427.5,AS on the 23rd

1 at Chief Timothy S.P.,AS on the 24th

Yellow-headed Blackbird
15+ at the Para ponds near Othello,AD on the 23rd
27+ along Hwy.12 at Wallula,WW on the 24th

Common Redpoll
14 at Ellensburg,KT on the 23rd

Good birding,

Ruth and Patrick Sullivan

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