[Tweeters] E Adams snowbirds

Hill hill at smwireless.net
Fri Dec 28 17:36:13 PST 2007

With 3-5" of fresh snow on the ground I thought I'd give Eastern Adams County one last try for the year. Activity was generally low, but a few spots had notable species. Foggy conditions prevailed from Othello to 40 miles east, just before dropping down the hill to Washtucna. A PRAIRIE FALCON was visible along SR 26 at the top of the hill. Washtucna was a disappointment. I may have had a single Bohemian Waxwing sneak by but couldn't relocate it. EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVES (only 3) flew by once and were not relocated. The gimpy tom and 8 other WILD TURKEYS were north of Bassett Park. About 300 California Quail in three flocks, a female Sharp-shinned Hawk, a few VARIED THRUSH among the robins, towhees, juncos (one male northern SLATE-COLORED), just a few goldfinches and House Finches, but no redpolls or other finches, or chickadees, nuthatches, creepers, crossbills, jays or otherwise.

I headed north toward Ritzville on SR 261, hoping to see enough Horned Larks to catch a glimpse of something different. Before MP 44 I had a single SNOW BUNTING among about 100 Horned Larks. A huge flock north of MP 44 had more variety. Among the 1000+ larks were at least 12 SNOW BUNTINGS and at least 18 LAPLAND LONGSPURS. Between passing vehicles I had at 6+ of each on the road at once. Between the wind and too many vehicles my attempts at digiscoping were marginal. For the rest of the trip up to Ritzville, west on Rosenoff Road to SR 21, south to Lind/Warden Road, west toward Warden then south on Roxboro Road and west on Cunningham Road into Othello, I did not see any buntings or longspurs mixed in, although driving south into the sun on SR 21 and Roxboro didn't help. Very few raptors, with 3 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS and a single NORTHERN SHRIKE among the harriers and red-tails. Ritzville had no northern finches or waxwings.

One rather puzzling bird early on, just southeast of Othello near Hatton Road and Lemaster, was what appeared to be an alternate male RUSTY BLACKBIRD. Unfortunately a snow plow came by when I tried to get a better look and it was not to be seen again. Just before that location an unharvested corn field was loaded with blackbirds, including 5K yellow-heads and 15K red-wings. Yesterday the cattle feeding area next to the Para Ponds had at least 10 male TRICOLORED BLACKBIRDS and plenty of the other species, but viewing was difficult.

Randy Hill
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