[Tweeters] Maryhill to Ridgefield NWR

Washington Birder washingtonbirder at hotmail.com
Mon Dec 6 08:49:02 PST 2004

Saturday and Sunday Marv Breece and I birded along the Columbia River from Maryhill to Ridgefield NWR. Saturday we stopped by Balch Lake, parked in Glen Wood's driveway, and walked down the hill past the house where others have been seeing the Acorn Woodpeckers. We did see two Acorn Woodpeckers west of this spot and up on the hill feeding in the oaks. There were many Lewis's Woodpeckers also. We checked out the Bingen Marina and didn't find much: (Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Virginia Rail, Canada Goose (subspecies-Lesser), Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and many Golden-crowned and White-crowned Sparrows).

Just east of Lyle we stopped at Doug's Beach where on windy days one finds hoard's of windsurfers. This is a very birdy spot. Birds seen here were Yellow-shafted female Northern Flicker, Canyon Wren, Slate-colored Junco, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Varied Thrush, Sooty type Fox Sparrows, Ring-necked Pheasant, 8 Western Bluebirds, Song, Golden-crowned, and White-crowned Sparrows. We noted someone had scattered some wheat, in which the Juncos and sparrows were eating.

Saturday night started off on the frosty side and later turned warmer when we had a few sprinkles sleeping on the ground in our sleeping bags at Hess Park near Dallesport. During the night there was 1 Barn Owl, and 1 Long-eared Owl. We also checked Spearfish Park and some of the high county of Dalles Mt. Road and back roads south of Goldendale for owls which we came up empty except for a quick stop above Maryhill where a Saw-whet Owl called just before dawn. A Fox Sparrow was already giving it's call note.

On our way to Conboy NWR we were just entering White Salmon and found a Merlin feeding on a small bird atop a utility pole. Winter was evident up around Conboy NWR with icy roads and snow not far away. A feeding flock of Wild Turkeys worked the oaks on the east side of the refuge. Not spending much time we stopped to checked the birches for Redpolls, but found none. We then headed over the hill to Trout Lake where we found a Sub-adult Golden Eagle feeding on something in a hay field. At the lake were Canada Geese, a motionless female Hooded Merganser trying to hide from us, and Ring-necked Ducks. A Dipper was along the creek below the town of Trout Lake.

Our last place to bird Sunday was a quick loop around the Ridgefield NWR. Lots of Tundra Swans were on Rest Lake. It was nice to compare two races of Cackling Goose (1 Cackling and many Taviner's). We had looked at lots of geese in Klickitat and Skamania Counties for Cackling, but had only found Canada Geese. Other species found at Ridgefield NWR were: Cinnamon Teal, Sandhill Cranes, dark morph Rough-legged Hawk, White-breasted Nuthatch, Wilson's Snipe, and 5 Barn Swallows.

Ken Knittle
Washington Birder newsletter
2604 NE 80th Street
Vancouver, WA 98665
mailto:washingtonbirder at hotmail.com<mailto:washingtonbirder at hotmail.com>

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