[Tweeters] Leavenworth area birding - woodpecker heaven!

Evan Houston evanghouston at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 9 22:01:39 PDT 2008

Hi Tweets,

For the past 2 days, I was lucky enough to go to the Sleeping Lady Resort in Leavenworth for my UW graduate program’s annual retreat. I took full advantage of the beautiful surroundings and discovered some nice birdlife by birding for a few hours each day around the grounds and at the Leavenworth Fish Hatchery nature loop, within easy walking distance. Both of these sites are mentioned in Opperman’s Birder’s Guide to WA.

The top highlight was evidence that this ponderosa pine-rich habitat is woodpecker heaven. I found 8 different woodpecker species, a nice treat! These included Red-naped Sapsucker, Northern Flicker, and Downy, Hairy, and Pileated Woodpecker. One very nice half hour was a short walk east from the dining lodge, where I heard tapping and then saw both a Black-backed and a White-headed Woodpecker. As an unexpected bonus, this morning 2 Lewis’s Woodpeckers passed through the area, a lifer for this west-sider!

This area was also nuthatch heaven, as I found scads of Red-breasted and Pygmy, and a few White-breasted Nuthatches.

I found around 48 total species, and other highlights included:
- singing American Dipper
- accipiter heaven: 3-4 Sharp-shinned and 1 Cooper’s Hawk.
- probable migrants included Warbling Vireos and Gray Catbird in a few riparian areas, several Western Tanager, 2 Lincoln’s Sparrows, and a flock of about 20 sparrows that I think were all Chipping (they were not giving great views, and I learned that I need to be more familiar with this species in non-breeding plumage).
- the only frustration other than the flighty sparrows was the lack of identifiable warblers. I must have heard 3-4 dozen warblers giving chip notes, but my sightings were limited to seeing these mainly yellow-hued small birds flitting high above, refusing to land where I could get a good look at them, except for the few that landed in treetops heavily backlit by the morning sun.

Good birding,
Evan Houston
Seattle, WA

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