[Tweeters] Sage & Brewer's Sparrows, Grey Partridge at Quilomene

Jesse Ellis calocitta8 at gmail.com
Fri Apr 17 11:03:11 PDT 2009

Hello all-

On my last birding jaunt in Washington in a while, Anya Illes and I
went looking for sage specialties in central Washington. First, we
visited the western access of Quilomene Wildlife Area, but soon
realized this would require a high-clearance vehicle, with chains. We
didn't get stuck, but we knew the Civic couldn't hack it. The drive
in provided many looks and listens of VESPER SPARROW and SAVANNAH
SPARROW, but nothing that sagey.

We then drove along Vantage Highway, and made several successful
stops. At mile marker 14, we had singing BREWER'S SPARROWS and SAGE
THRASHER, and a lone SOLITAIRE. A little further east at one of the
FWDW stops, we walked in a ways and were able to view two SAGE
SPARROWS who were also singing, hear full versions of many BREWER'S
SPARROWS, and found a couple HORNED LARKS. We were also thrilled when
a striking, breeding plumaged CHIPPING SPARROW flew in out of nowhere
and sat in front of us for a while - FOY in WA for us, and despite
them being common later a welcome sign of spring. On our walk back
out we flushed two GREY (HUNGARIAN) PARTRIDGE, a species that I
haven't seen for a LONG time (although I haven't been looking hard).

We then drove Umatanum Rd out of Ellensburg as far as the walk to
Umtanum Falls. Things were pretty quiet at the falls, with zillions
of Ruby-crowns Kinglets moving through, a single TOWNSEND'S
SOLITAIRE, a couple of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, and finally back at
the parking lot two RED-NAPED SAPSUCKERS (another species I hadn't
seen in a while).

A great day birding. We ended up with 9 sparrow species on the day,
which I think was pretty good for this part of the country at this
time of year.


Jesse Ellis
Madison, WI
Jesse Ellis, Ph. D.
Madison, WI

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