[Tweeters] Spokane Audubon Iller Creek Field Trip Results

Gina Sheridan gsherida8502 at yahoo.com
Fri Jun 20 21:42:50 PDT 2008


On Sunday (6/15/08), Fran Haywood led the Spokane
Audubon Field Trip to Iller Creek. This interior
wet-belt, riparian habitat, straddles the flank of
Tower Mountain and possess open brushlands on the
ridges. As one would expect, there is an excellent
diversity of birds within a relatively concentrated
area.

Upon our arrival on this perfect spring day (i.e.
brilliant sunshine, no wind, cool but pleasant temps),
we were immediately greeted by plenty of birdsong. A
bit of pishing brought out a pair of WARBLING VIREOs
and GRAY CATBIRD. True to form, VEERIES sang from the
understory, but remained hidden from view. However, a
WILLOW FLYCATCHER made an appearance.

Initially, we didn't see to many of the songsters.
However, things picked up as we scaled the ridgeline
to the east. An ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER obliged us by
singing from the top of a snag. As this little guy
continued his serenade (in full sun no less), everyone
beheld excellent views.

On the crest of the ridgeline, I heard BREWER'S
SPARROWs singing in the midst of CHIPPING SPARROWs,
and SPOTTED TOWHEEs. After some careful maneuvering,
Jon Isacoff found an excellent vantage point where the
entire group could glass this singing sparrow. While
this species is generally more at home in shrub-steppe
habitat, in eastern Spokane & Whitman Counties, they
do sparingly utilize the more marginal habitat of
brushlands that consist of wild rose, ninebark,
serviceberry, etc..

While on the crestline, we had great looks of DUSKY
FLYCATCHER, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, CASSIN'S FINCH,
and perhaps best of all, a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT. When
I first heard the chat calling, I was thinking that it
was going to be challenging to get the group on this
rather elusive species. Instead, the chat was perched
and singing from a bare snag! Once again, the group
was treated with crippling views of a desirable
species. As a side note, I believe that it has been
several years since the last chat was seen at Iller
Creek.

Before returning downslope, we found a nest of WESTERN
WOOD PEWEEs, and added BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKs, WESTERN
TANAGERs, HOUSE WREN, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, RUFOUS
HUMMINGBIRD, and BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD to the
list. On the downward slope, we found NASHVILLE
WARBLER, SWAINSON'S THRUSH, YELLOW WARBLER, LAZULI
BUNTING, and nesting RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH. Along the
streamside trail, we saw of WINTER WREN, HAMMOND'S
FLYCATCHER, MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER. In particular,
CASSIN'S VIREOs seemed especially conspicuous and
abundant.

Some of the species of the dense canopy, such as
RUBY-CROWNED & GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS, TOWNSEND'S
WARBLER, and CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEEs, could not be
coaxed into view. However, all these species
contributed their songs to the springtime chorus.

Later, a RUFFED GROUSE was heard drumming, but
remained unseen as well. Fortunately, we did see a
couple of colorful RED-NAPED SAPSUCKERs.

A full morning of birding netted us nearly fifty
species. Many of these are denizens of the
closed-canopy forest or dense brushy areas, and we
counted ourselves quite fortunate to have had so many
sensational views of these wonderful birds.

Gina Sheridan
Spokane, WA






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