[Tweeters] Okanogan Bird Report: Hoary Redpolls and Sharp tailed Grouse

khanh tran khanhbatran at hotmail.com
Mon Dec 3 17:04:55 PST 2007




Hi Tweeters,

A local Okanogan birder and I endured the cold and dicey weather this weekend and birded near the Okanogan Highlands, Conconully, and Winthrop areas. It was fabulous birding as the storm dumped many wintering finches in great numbers. We spend most of our time in the Okanogan Highlands and did some owling at Bridgeport State Park. Unfortunately, I had to prematurely end my trip due to the incoming storm that hit Winthrop at around 2 PM Sunday.

Before I forget, I wanted to give a BIG THANKS to Gary Fredericks and Curtis Pearson for their inspiration and recent trip postings. My success would have not been possible without them.

Northern Shrikes, Merlins, Rough Legged Hawks, and American Tree sparrows were seen in good numbers at many locations. We missed the Great Grays and Snow buntings.

Here are the highlights to my trip.

HAVILLAH/CHESAW/MOLSON area:

At least 2 HOARY REDPOLLS (Found on Bloster Rd with 250 plus Common Redpolls). It was relatively easy to id when you have them next to the Common Redpolls. Took us an hour to get two decent looks as the wary flock kept swirling and breaking up when we tried to get close for photos and better looks. It was maddening but fun to get to study both species for that amount of time.

500 plus COMMON REDPOLLS (3 large flocks along Mary Ann Creek, Bolster, and Havillah Rd)

30 plus WHITE WINGED CROSSBILLS (several different flocks near Chesaw, Mary Ann Creek, and Nealy Rd)

2 SHARP TAILED GROUSE (Mary Ann Creek/Byers Rd)

1 Adult NORTHERN GOSHAWK (Mary Ann Creek Rd)
10 PINE GROSBEAK (Sno-Park and Chesaw Rd towards Chesaw)
50 GRAY CROWNED ROSY FINCHES (Nealy Rd)
6 GRAY PATRIDGES (near Havillah church)
2 NORTHERN PYGMY OWL (Hungry Hollow Rd and West Fork Rd)
1 Great Horned Owl (along Havillah Rd)

CONCONULLY:

3 SHARP TAILED GROUSE (distant views but photographed near Happy Hill Rd)
50 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS (along Conconully Rd)
2 Golden Eagles (Scotch Creek Rd)
1 American Three Toe (Salmon Meadows smaller CG, foot of snow)
50 RED CROSSBILLS
3 Bald Eagles

BRIDGEPORT STATE PARK:

1 Long eared Owl (Bridgeport)
1 Saw-Whet Owl (Bridgeport)

TWISP/WINTHROP:

1 immature NORTHERN GOSHAWK (near Twisp town bridge)
20 GRAY CROWNED ROSY FINCHES (2 miles south of Winthrop)
3 Coopers Hawk
2 flocks of BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS (Twisp City Park and in town)
1 NORTHERN PYGMY OWL (about 4 mile north of Twisp)

The Lithium battery to my camera had a tough time properly turn on and charging in 15-25 degree cold temperatures. I missed some photo opportunities but managed to get a few in poor lighting, mainly for documentation.

See my photos at:

http://www.pbase.com/spruce_grouse/recent_photos&page=all

I was a fun trip despite somewhat treacherous weather. Thank goodness for my new, wonderful Blizzak-DM3 snow tires. I didn't skid once on compact snow and ice! A lifesaver going over all those terrifying mountain passes and high elevation forest/country roads.

Good birding,

Khanh Tran (Portland, Oregon)


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