[Tweeters] Lewis Co. birding and beyond 6-23-07

Ruth and/or Patrick Sullivan godwit513 at msn.com
Sat Jun 23 21:49:12 PDT 2007

Hello Tweets,

We just updated our website with a few photos taken today while birding. In particular of note 2 photos of the Least Flycatcher taken with our new Panasonic DMC-FX3 digital camera. We obtained these photos taken through our Swarovski spotting scope with zoom lens eye piece under 40 power with no adapter. The conditions while taking the photos were quite dark due to the time of the day and the heavy cloud cover. We were basically trying the camera out and were happy to get the photos we did just to see how the camera works. With more practice we hope to get better photos by digiscoping especially for the distance,but we'll also take photos with our other digital cameras. Other photos taken today include the pair of nesting Purple Martins in the clear-cute area along Teitzel Rd.

These photos can all be accessed from the following link: http://www.pbase.com/godwit/recent_photos/


Ruth and Patrick Sullivan

----- Original Message -----
From: Ruth and/or Patrick Sullivan
To: Tweeters at u.washington.edu
Sent: Saturday, June 23, 2007 8:12 PM
Subject: [Tweeters] Lewis Co. birding and beyond 6-23-07

Hello Tweets,

Today Jim Pruske joined us as we birded in the Centralia area of Lewis Co. then ending the day in eastern Grays Harbor Co. The day was mixed with weather ranging from several heavy rain showers to calm,cloudy conditions. We began the day along Teitzel Rd. in Lewis Co.,where we joined Gary Wiles as we all watched the territorial LEAST FLYCATCHER at the previously listed location 7 miles south of Big Hanaford Rd. We watched the bird as it sang and called from several perches from a small clump of trees in a large cow field between 9am-10am,but obtaining more photos of the bird was still very challenging. The bird was also observed chasing after a few swallows and at least one Savannah Sparrow too. Near the end of the observation we were joined by Anne Kahle,who was treated to great scope views of the bird.

After watching the Least Flycatcher Anne joined us as we birded a few other nearby locations beginning with checking a clear-cut area south of the Least Flycatcher location along Teitzel Rd. Here, after parking in a pull-off area along the road below the clear-cut area we located a nesting pair of PURPLE MARTINS. Both male and female were first heard calling and flying around,then we noticed them visiting a large cut-off snag viewable from the main road. We walked further uphill into the clear-cut along a gated service road,where we obtained great views and photos of the birds at their nestsite. We watched as the male sat patiently on top of the 10' tall snag,as the female entered and left the nesthole several times. It was a nice discovery and recognize Tim O'Brien for posting his Purple Martin sighting from this location on the 21st. We also heard the babies calling when the female bird returned back and forth from the nesthole,but never saw them. After watching the Purple Martins for some times we made a walk further uphill into the clear-cut for additional birding. We located several common species for the area,as we as our only singing MacGillivray's Warbler of the day. On our descent downhill back to our vehicles we noticed that the Purple Martins were not at the nestsite,so they apparently went to forage.

After birding the clear-cut Anne continued with us towards the Centralia Steam Plant. Just north of the Least Flycatcher location along Teitzel Rd. we located a Red-breasted Sapsucker perched atop a telephone pole followed by a distant singing RED-EYED VIREO. This was surprisingly our only Red-eyed Vireo of the day since we birded several areas later in the day that were appropriate habitat for this species. We continued along Big Hanaford Rd. and a short time after passing the Centralia Steam Plant we located an adult MERLIN flying along the road. We soon pulled off,as we continued watching the bird soar in several circles before drifting off to the south. Like Mike and Merry Lynn Denny's sighting of a Merlin over their College Place home yesterday in Walla Walla Co.this bird was a very unexpected sighting for us. We wondered if this bird could possibly breed in nearby hillsides or just be an oversummering bird,but whatever the case any Merlin in June in Washington is nice to see! We continued along Big Hanford Rd. to it's end,then worked our way back and made a productive stop in a clear-cut area north of the road. Here, highlights began with an Olive-sided Flycatcher and a pair of Wilson's Warblers followed by a heard only calling PURPLE MARTIN,which we were never able to locate. A single Black-throated Gray Warbler and several other more common species were also encountered at this nice birdy location. Towards the end of our visit we heard a calling Wood Duck,but never located the bird.

We continued back along Big Hanaford Rd. and made a check of one of the settling ponds east of the Centralia Steam Plant. Here, with declining water levels we located a GREATER YELLOWLEGS and a pair of Spotted Sandpipers with the latter species that are most likely nesting. 7 Am.Coots and 1 female Wood Duck were noted from the edges of the pond along with 5+ Northern Rough-winged Swallows fling around the pond itself. A "kettle" of 7 Turkey Vultures were also observed flying over nearby hillsides from this location.As we began to leave our attentions turned skyward,as a male Northern Harrier flew overhead,as it was being bombed by 2 PURPLE MARTINS. 2 additional Purple Martins joined the 2 other birds,as the Northern harrier flew off in another direction. It was quite a day in Lewis Co. for Purple Martins along with nesting evidence!

We made a visit to Schaefer County Park,where we walked the woodland trail,as well as checked a few locations along the Skookumchuck River. Here, highlights included 4 Pacific-slope"Western"Flycatchers,1 Western Wood Pewee and a calling Brown Creeper,but overall birding conditions were quite slow. We also located 2 Pale Snaketails,which were our dragonfly highlight of the day considering it was not the best weather for them! Our Lewis Co. birding ended along Halliday Rd.(accessed off of Big Hanaford Rd.),where the only notable sighting was a calling Hutton's Vireo during a heavy rain shower.

Further west in Grays Harbor Co. we checked a few locations from the Oakville area to Brady Loop Rd. We began along Howanut Rd.,where our first highlights included a hatch-year female LAZULI BUNTING followed by 2 Bullock's Orioles near the Black River. 5 Turkey Vultures soared overhead followed by 8 additional birds in a cow field along Elma-Gate Rd. An additional Bullock's Oriole was observed from the Black River bridge along Howanut Rd.,as well as several singing Willow Flycatchers and our only Cooper's Hawk of the day. Further west along Hwy.12 at North Blockhouse Rd. a "kettle" of 14 Turkey Vultures circled overhead. Our day ended along Brady Loop Rd.,where conditions were extremely slow with the only highlights being an Am.Kestrel and 2 Western Scrub Jays.

Good birding,

Ruth and Patrick Sullivan
godwit51 at msn.com

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