[Tweeters] Kittitas and Grant County

Paul Webster paul.webster at comcast.net
Fri Sep 5 11:11:33 PDT 2008

Hi Tweets,

On Wednesday 9/3 Barbara and I made a trip to the Columbia Basin looking for migrants. We briefly checked the Bar-14 pond near Starbucks at Ellensburg, then birded Wanapum State Park on Huntzinger Rd, checked out the Gingko Visitor Center at Vantage and the road below that ends at the Columbia. Then we went to the Grant County side of the river to Wanapum Dam, and made a couple more stops near Wanapum Village and Beverly. Then we drove to Lind Coulee and finished our day at the County Line Ponds. We had clear sky and temps up to 80 degrees.

We didn't find the numbers of migrants we'd expected: on similar trips in 2006 and 2007 we found Yellow-rumped Warblers by the score everywhere we looked, but this year we found exactly two. Migration seemed late this year for some species, we saw swallows and sparrows still feeding newly-fledged youngsters. While we found fewer birds, there were some we hadn't seen before in Grant County: two Nashville and two Townsend's Warblers at the Wanapum Dam picnic area, and 6 Stilt Sandpipers at Lind Coulee. (Thanks to Scott Downes for the report on the stiltpipers!) All together we saw 60 species, highlights below:

Common Loon -- 1 just downstream from Wanapum Dam
Ring-necked Duck -- 1 at farm pond on I-90 west of Kittitas
Common Merganser -- 4 living dangerously near Wanapum Dam
Northern Harrier -- 1 very whitish male hunting over the sage at Lind Coulee
Sharp-shinned Hawk -- a female hiding in the bushes at Wanapum SP explained why it was so quiet in this normally birdy part of the park
Long-billed Dowitcher -- 3 at County-Line Ponds
Spotted Sandpiper -- 2 at Lind Coulee
Greater Yellowlegs -- 6 at Lind Coulee
Sandpiper sp. -- 5 distant birds at County-line Ponds -- maybe Baird's or Pectorals, we couldn't decide
Stilt Sandpiper -- 6 at Lind Coulee
Red-necked Phalarope -- 5 at County-Line Ponds
Belted Kingfisher
Hammond's Flycatcher
Western Wood-Pewee -- 1 at Wanapum SP, 1 at Lind Coulee
Say's Phoebe -- at road's end below Gingko Visitor Center
Bank Swallow -- two at Lind Coulee
Barn Swallow -- still lots of these everywhere, many very young birds
Red-breasted Nuthatch -- 1 in tree at Wanapum Dam Visitor Center, 1 at Wanapum SP
Warbling Vireo -- crisp-looking birds, 1 at Beverly, 1 at Wanapum Dam, 1 at Gingko Visitor Center
Orange-crowned Warbler -- 1 at Wanapum SP
Nashville Warbler -- 2 in picnic area at Wanapum Dam
Yellow-rumped Warbler -- 1 at Wanapum SP, 1 at Wanapum Dam picnic area
Townsend's Warbler -- two each at visitor center at Wanapum Dam; at the SP and at road's end below Gingko Visitor Center
Wilson's Warbler -- 1 at Wanapum SP
Western Tanager -- about 10 in Wanapum SP
Song Sparrow -- 1 downy youngster below the Gingko Visitor Center
Chipping Sparrow -- a family with just-fledged youngsters at Wanapum SP

At home in West Seattle on 9/1: a female Rufous Hummingbird checking out the fuchsias and a male MacGillivray's Warbler in the bird bath.

Good Birding!
Barbara and Paul Webster
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