[Tweeters] Okanogan Highlands Birds, Part 2

Marvin S. Hoekstra marvin.hoekstra at verizon.net
Thu Jan 22 20:38:55 PST 2009


After posting yesterday, I got some excellent advice from John Pushock
(thanks, John) and showed up at Highland Meadows at 7:30 AM. It is a couple
of miles up Nealey Rd from the Grange Rd intersection and has a sign out
front. The area was fogged in and 8 degrees F, which meant the fog was
flocking all the trees and wires with white fur. The tree in front of the
house had a flock of GRAY-CROWNED ROSY FINCHES and one BOHEMIAN WAXWING-at
last, my target bird. It's a rather well dressed bird, and noticeably
(15%) larger than the Cedar Waxwing. I saw it from the back at first-a
yellow spikelet down the wingtip. Eventually I got a frontal view showing
gray breast and russet undertail. Beautiful!

About noon (delay caused by a generous interval to change a flat rear tire
with help from the local citizenry) I arrived at Jack Wells Rd off Hwy 17 N.
of Bridgeport. An orchard a couple of miles up that road on the S. side has
several tall Lombardy Poplar trees. The tops of these trees were jammed
with flocks of BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS. Every so often a squadron would take of
and disappear into the orchards.

I saw a lot of other birds of the kind that are plentiful in that area this
time of year, and therefore not noteworthy.

Observations on Okanogan Highlands: This is a great part of the state to
see interesting birds, but the area involved is huge, and progress down the
snow packed country roads is slow and careful. If you are a novice birder
like me, it would be good to go with a guide or someone experienced. Being
a spontaneous birder (as in "I think I will go birding tomorrow") I did not
do that. A GPS will save a lot of time reading map books and trying to
figure out where you are. Very few of the roads have only one name, so
locating yourself has an element of uncertainty. Having dipped on
Gray-crowned Rosy Finches and Bohemian Waxwings previously at multiple
locations, I am glad I made this trip. Also glad I have a full size spare

Marvin S. Hoekstra

Sammamish, WA

marvin dot hoekstra at verizon dot net

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