[Tweeters] Whitman County White-winged Crossbills and more

Michael Woodruff crazybirder98 at hotmail.com
Thu Jan 22 18:07:16 PST 2009

I spent the morning down in Whitman County, lucking out with some
really good stuff. I started early in Wawawai Canyon, where I had a
very cooperative pair of WESTERN SCREECH-OWLS 1.2 miles above the
turn-off to the park, and several Great Horned Owls. Another Western
Screech called from opposite the park entrance after it was fairly
light. Other good birds included a WINTER WREN, 2 Cooper's Hawk, 1
Bohemian Waxwing, and 1 Townsend's Solitaire. Not much was out on the
river, except for a Herring Gull in Garfield County.

On the way out onto the plateau I was carefully checking any conifers,
and sure enough, I hit the jackpot with an incredible flock of 18
WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS. They were at a farmstead along
Wawawai-Pullman Rd on the north-south section, at mailbox #3201. While
I was watching them, they picked up and flew off to the east, so it
looks like they're staying pretty mobile through the area. A real
treat! I wonder if these birds will move north into Spokane County and
farther up into central Washington, as so far it appears they're
concentrated in SE Washington in proximity to the Snake River, NE
Oregon, and also the Moscow, ID area. Somehow they skipped right over
us up here in Spokane.

Driving through Pullman, I encountered about 80 Bohemian Waxwings
feasting on roadside junipers with loads of robins. Along Rose Creek
Rd north of Pullman, a juvenile NORTHERN GOSHAWK was hanging out near
the junction with Shawnee Rd. The Rose Creek Preserve was pretty dead
except for Pygmy and RB Nuts.

Kamiak Butte was birdy, and I added WB Nuthatch, Mountain Chickadee,
Hairy Woodpecker, and 4 Pine Siskins. I had a number of Red
Crossbills, which I encountered several times through the day. I
wasn't too surprised also to have a couple PINE GROSBEAKS calling as
well. Not a bad day for finches in Whitman County.

Lastly, I found a LONG-EARED OWL at the picnic area at Steptoe Butte. Otherwise, a bunch of robins and a Downy Woodpecker.

A fun morning!

Michael Woodruff

Spokane, WA


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