[Tweeters] Vagrant weekend to Washtucna and beyond

Ruth and/or Patrick Sullivan godwit513 at msn.com
Sun Sep 10 22:42:46 PDT 2006


Hello Birders,

My mother and I enjoyed a very rewarding and exceptional weekend in eastern WA searching several "migrant traps" for vagrant passerines. Our main searches occurred at Washtucna,where we spent 3 partial days there,as well as nearby locations including Lyons Ferry State Park. We also spent some time to and from Washtucna in the Vantage area including at Wanapum State Park,Gingko Petrified Forest State Park,as well as at Sentinal Bluff along S.R. 243 in Grant Co. Over the 3 days the weather was superb conditions with the exception of an entire windy day on the 9th,which made birding difficult at times. Both mornings were cool and crisp and it seemed most passerine activity was most active until about 10am then picking up again around 3pm lasting through the evening until 7pm. It was a great experience for us personally,as like in June we again found Washtucna again very productive and from all the spots we visited it again was the best! 

During the 3 days we ran into many birders including Mike and Merry Lynn Denny,Gina Sheridan,Cindy McCormack,Bob Flores,Randy Hill,Ted Kenefick and others. We encountered a total of 122 species during our 3 day trip including 3 main highlights that stand out alone in themselves,as well as man minor highlights too.

Our 3 main highlights of the trip were all noted from Bassett Park in Washtucna,as we scoured the park heavy on foot from one end of the park to the other. We noticed that much of the riparian habitat along the northern part of the park has been taken out or smash down compared to our June visit,but this great park did not disappoint us with still plenty of habitat for migrants. Our list will begin with a fall plumaged female MAGNOLIA WARBLER observed briefly with a single Wilson's Warbler on the evening of the 9th after heavy winds subsided. A generous walk in and around the Russian Olive grove at the northern part of Bassett Park,although passerine movements were quite light. The bird was very distinctive and showed visible features including a full white eye ring,gray head,yellow throat and underparts broken only by a faded grayish breast band. As the bird moved through dense foliage the white undertail coverts were very visible,as well as the white wing bars. It was a striking bird and it is too bad the sighting was so brief along,as well as not obtaining any photos of it!

Secondly, this morning at 7:15am(September 10th) a single fall plumaged TENNESSEE WARBLER was very briefly observed amongst a roaming flock of 5 Wilson's Warblers near the same location as the Magnolia Warbler,where it offered good,but quick views of several field marks eliminating Orange-crowned Warbler. First,the bird showed a noticeable whitish supercillium(bordered by faint dark eyebrow)extending beyond the eye,as ell as complete white undertail coverts! The bird was noted in a shadowy part of a tree,but overall the bird appeared more olive-green/yellow than several Orange-crowned Warblers observed nearby after the initial sighting. Further searches for this bird by many birders thereafter remained unsuccessful as of 10am,but the bird could still be around!

Thirdly, an immature ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK was noted at the south end of Bassett Park on the evening of the 8th and was the only bird of these 3 rarities to be photographed. The bird was actually noted located after trying to photograph one of 3 WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS atop a bramble patch. The Rose-breasted Grosbeak offered good,but rather distant views for 3 minutes before flying off low to the south to an unknown location. It was a bird that began our 3 day extravaganza and from that point on it seemed like things couldn't get any better! We have placed one photo of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak onto our website,which can be accessed at the following link:  http://www.pbase.com/godwit/recent_photos/


Our main basic route and itinerary of the 3 day consisted of the following:


September 8th,2006
 
Vantage area(including Wanapum State Park,the Gingko Petrified Forest State Park,and Sentinel Bluff between 10am-1pm
Bassett Park Washtucna  3pm-7:30pm


September 9th,2006

Bassett Park at Washtucna   6:30am-10am,3:30pm-7:30pm
Lyons Ferry State Park   11am-1pm
Windust Park(accessed along the Snake River south of Lower Monumental Dam along S.R.263 in Franklin Co.)  1:45pm
Kahlotus  2:30pm


September 10th,2006

Bassett Park at Washtucna   7am-10am
Hatton Rest Area(accessed along Hwy.26 immediately east of the Hwy. 395 interchange)   10:30am
Vantage area   12pm-1pm



Our trip as mentioned earlier was a trip mainly designated for rare or vagrant passerines at oasis towns such as Washtucna,which these common and rare migrants use as stop overs as they continue to and from nesting/wintering grounds. To us it is a birding all in it's own and most often somewhat fast paced and ma not be for everyone. Since these migrants traps are most often best during migration they can be slow or crawling with birds depending on daily movements of birds,which are often affected by weather,etc. Our first evening at Bassett Park we encountered 42 species alone! No matter what the conditions are we enjoyed looking for migrants,but more importantly trying to document them with photographs if at all possible and most often this feat is quite challenging! Our 3 days were highly energetic due to keeping up with most of the birds,since they often feed fairly high in trees,but also lower and they often move around alot! Throughout the 3 day we experienced a wide variety of migrants in varying numbers of diversity even if some areas were slow,but overall we had a great time!


A list of secondary highlights of our trip include the following,as well as numbers of the main migrants:


Western Grebe
1 along he Snake River below Lower Monumental Dam in Franklin/Walla Walla Co. on the 9th

Am.White Pelican
60 along the Columbia River in Gant/Kittitas Co.near Sentinal Bluff on the 10th

Great Egret
3 along the Columbia River at Sentinal Bluff,Grant Co. on the 10th


Sharp-shinned hawk
2-3 birds at Bassett Park(Washtucna),Adams Co. on the 9th and 10th

MERLIN
1 bird flying over Bassett Park,AD on the 9th

Peregrine Falcon
1 bird fling along I-90 at Elk Heights,Kittitas Co. on the 10th

Prairie Falcon
1 bird flying over Sentinal Bluff,GR on the 10th

Chukar
20 birds below the Gingko Petrified Forest State Park near Vantage,KT on the 8th

Wild Turkey
14-17 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th-10th

Greater Yellowlegs
3 birds at the Hatton Rest Area,AD on the 10th

Lesser Yellowlegs
1 bird(with 2 Greater Yellowlegs)at the Hatton Rest Area,AD on the 10th

Spotted Sandpiper
1 bird at Lyons Ferry State Park,FR on the 9th

Semipalmated Sandpiper
1 bird(with 7 Western Sandpipers and 10 Least Sandpipers)along Hwy.26 at the "County Line Ponds",GR

Baird's Sandpiper
5 birds at the County Line Ponds,GR on the 8th
10 birds at the Hatton Rest Area,AD on the 8th(with 1 bird there on the 10th)

Pectoral Sandpiper
1 bird(with 3 Western Sandpipers)at the Hatton Rest Area,AD on the 8th

EURASIAN COLLARED DOVE
6 birds at Washtucna,AD on the 8th-10th

Barn Owl
a maximum  of 2 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 9th

Great Horned Owl
1 bird at Wanapum S.P.,KT on the 8th

Common Nighthawk
1 bird at the Gingko Petrified Forest S.P.,KT on the 8th

Hairy Woodpecker
1 bird at Sentinal Bluff,GR on the 8th

Olive-sided Flycatcher
1 bird at Wanapum S.P.,KT on the 8th
1 bird at Vantage,KT on the 8th
2 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th-9th(with 3 birds here on the 10th)
1 bird at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th

Willow Flycatcher
1 bird at Bassett Park,AD on the 9th

LEAST FLYCATCHER
3 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th(high count)

Hammond's Flycatcher
3 birds at Basset Park,AD on the 8th-9th(with 2 birds there on the 10th)
1 bird at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th

Dusky Flycatcher
1 bird at Sentinal Bluff,GR on the 8th
5 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th and 9th(with 3 birds there on the 10th)

GRAY FLYCATCHER
1 bird at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th

Pacific-slope"Western"Flycatcher
1 bird at Wanapum S.P.,KT on he 8th
1 bird at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th(with 4 birds there on the 9th and 2 birds there on the 10th)
1 bird at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th

Western Kingbird
2 birds at the Gingko Petrified Forest S.P.,KT on the 8th

Violet-green Swallow
8 birds over Sentinal Bluff,GR on the 10th
20+ birds at Vantage,KT on the 10th

Red-breasted Nuthatch
1 bird at Sentinal Bluff,GR on the 8th
1 bird at Washtucna,AD on the 8th

Canyon Wren
1 bird(with 3-4 Rock Wrens)along the rocky cliffs near Bassett Park,AD on the 10th

Bewick's Wren
1 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th and 9th
1 bird at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th
1 bird at Sentinal Bluff,GR on the 10th

Marsh Wren(somewhat unusual location for species)
1 bird at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th

Winter Wren
2 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th and 9th(with 1 bird there on the 10th)

Golden-crowned Kinglet
1 bird at Wanapum S.P.,KT on the 8th
1 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 9th
1 bird at Lyons Ferry S.P.,F on the 9th

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 bird at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th(with a maximum of 25+ birds there on the 10th)

Townsend's Solitaire
1 bird at Wanapum S.P.,KT on the 8th
2 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th and 10th(with 3 birds there on the 9th)

Swainson's Thrush
1 bird at Wanapum S.P.,KT on the 8th

Hermit Thrush
2 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th-10th

Gray Catbird
1 bird at Washtucna,AD on the 8th

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD
1 lingering bird at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th(as previously reported by Bob Flores and Charlie Wright)

Sage Thrasher
6 birds at Wanapum S.P.,KT on the 8th

Cassin's Vireo
2 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 9th(with 1 bird there on the 10th)

Warbling Vireo
2 birds at Wanapum S.P.,KT on the 8th
1 bird at Sentinal Bluff,GR on the 8th
3 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th and 10th(with 7 birds there on the 9th)
5 birds at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th

RED-EYED VIREO
1 bird at Sentinal Bluff,GR on the 8th

Orange-crowned Warbler
3 birds at Wanapum S.P.,KT on the 8th
3 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 9th(with 5 birds there on the 10th)
3 birds at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th

NASHVILLE WARBLER(late date)
1 bird at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th

Yellow Warbler
4 birds at Wanapum S.P.,KT on the 8th
5 birds at Sentinal Bluff,GR on the 8th
5 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 9th and 10th
3 birds at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th

Yellow-rumped Warbler
4 birds at Gingko Petrified Forest S.P.,KT on the 8th
75+ birds at Sentinal Bluff,GR on the 8th(with 25 birds there on the 10th)
2 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th(with a maximum of 50+ there on the 10th)
80+ birds at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th
12 birds at Windust Park,FR on the 9th

Townsend's Warbler
1 bird at Wanapum S.P.,KT on the 8th and 10th
1 bird at Bassett Park,AD on the 9th
6+ birds at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th
1 bird at Sentinal Bluff,GR on the 10th

MacGillivray's Warbler
2 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th(with 4 birds there on the 9th and 1 bird there on the 10th)

Wilson's Warbler
3 birds at Wanapum S.P.,KT on the 8th
5 birds a Sentinal Bluff,GR on the 8th
3 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th(with 12 birds there on the 9th and 10 birds there on the 10th)
4 birds at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th

Western Tanager
1 bird at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th(with 2 birds there on the 9th and 5 birds there on the 10th)

BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK(somewhat late date)
1 bird at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th

Spotted Towhee
2 birds at Wanapum S.P.,KT  on the 8th
1 bird at Bassett Park,AD on the 9th(with 3 birds there on the 10th)

Chipping Sparrow
9 birds at Washtucna,AD on the 8th
30+ birds at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th
12 birds at Windust Park,FR on the 9th
25 birds at Kahlotus,FR on the 9th
2 birds at the Hatton Rest Area,AD on the 10th

CLAY-COLORED SPARROW
1 bird at Washtucna,AD on the 8th

Brewer's Sparrow
1 bird at Washtucna,AD on the 8th

Vesper Sparrow
2 birds a Bassett Park,AD on the 9th

Savannah Sparrow
1 bird at Washtucna,AD on the 9th
3 birds at the Hatton Rest Area,AD on the 10th

Fox Sparrow
1 bird of the "Sooty"subspecies a Bassett Park on the 8th-10th
1 bird of the "Slate-colored"subspecies at the Hatton Rest Area,AD on the 10th

Lincoln's Sparrow
3 birds at Bassett Park,AD on the 8th(with 6 birds thee on the 9th and 4 birds there on the 10th)
2 birds at Lyons Ferry S.P.,FR on the 9th

Golden-crowned Sparrow
2 birds with many White-crowned Sparrows at Washtucna,AD on the 9th

PINE SISKIN
1 bird at Bassett Park,AD on the 10th




Good birding,

Ruth and Patrick Sullivan
Fircrest,WA
godwit513 at msn.com









































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