[Tweeters] Birding 2004 Out with a Bang

gina sheridan gsherida8502 at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 31 20:21:05 PST 2004

On New Years Eve (12/31/04), Matthew Moskwik and I had
a highly productive birding outing through Lincoln,
Adams, and Grant Counties. The skies were partly sunny
with snow depth ranging from 1/2" in Lincoln Co. to 2"
in the Northern Potholes.

Our first birding stop was in Odessa (Lincoln Co.)
Through back channels, I had heard that there have
been Blue Jays present in this town. After a little
cruising around, we found two BLUE JAYs coming to a
feeder at the home on the northwest corner of the
intersection of 2nd Ave. & 4th Street.

These feeders were attracting Mt. Chickadees, Ame.
Goldfinches, Downy Woodpecker, Mourning Doves,
juncos, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk too. The home owner
claimed that the Blue Jays visit her feeders "every
winter". At any rate, these were the first Lincoln
County Blue Jays that I have seen.

On Hwy 21, just 2 miles north of I-90 (west of the 90
degree curves; DL Pg. 70, D3), we encountered over 200
Horned Larks and at least 10-SNOW BUNTINGs. This was a
new Adams Co. bird for us.

As we headed for the prime area for Snowy Owls
southeast of Moses Lake, we saw a large raptor on a
light pole being harassed by a Kestrel. As the raptor
was in the sun from our angle, we had to drive right
up to it to see what it was. As the raptor dropped off
its perch and flew low and swiftly away, we could see
that it was obviously a brown immature GYRFALCON (new
Grant Co. bird for us). Although subsequent attempts
to reacquire the Gyr were fruitless, we felt
privileged to have witnessed North America's smallest
falcon dive bombing the world's largest falcon.

When we caught sight of the Schonewalds scoping the
snowy fields east of Rd. L (half way between Rd. 4 &
5), we quickly surmised what they had in view. Sure
enough, Doug and Barb shared some excellent scope
views of an immature SNOWY OWL with us. Earlier, the
Schonewalds had seen a full adult (all white) Snowy
Owl too. The Snowy was another new Grant Co. bird for

The four of birded some shelter belts farther south
and saw one TREE SPARROW, White-crowned Sparrows,
Savannah Sparrow, and Song Sparrows. Doug briefly saw
a HARRIS' SPARROW, but we could never relocate it.

Later, we ran into some birders (Casey & Amy) from the
Redwing neighborhood of Olympia, as well as Lisa Hill
and Larry Umthun from Spokane. Since they were
searching for Snowy Owls, we took them to see the
Snowy Owl that we had seen earlier.

After departing from the Schonewalds, Matthew and I
tried for the Bushtits at North Potholes.
Unfortunately, we dipped on the Bushtits. There were
plenty of juncos, a couple of White-crowned Sparrows,
Song Sparrows, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and a Bewick's

We had at least six Rough-legged Hawks for the day,
but no shrikes. Our final good bird of the day was a
PRAIRIE FALCON flying over I-90 at the Coker Road exit
in Adams Co. This is the third time that I have this
bird near this particular exit.

Today's birds made for perfect capper for 2004. Heres
wishing all Inlanders & Tweeters a happy (and birdy)
New Year.

Gina Sheridan
Spokane, WA

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