[Tweeters] E WA good birds

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 1 21:21:04 PST 2009

Dear Tweeters,

Jim McCoy and I had a good weekend of birding in E WA.

We did start out by dipping on Sharp-tailed Grouse (the main target species of our trip) at the Happy Hill Road area, between Conconully and Okanogan. The first bird of the day, right before sunrise, was a Red-tailed Hawk. We were wondering what effect the raptor's presence might have had on the grouse.

In the burn on the west slope of Cameron Lake Road (Okanogan County) were three species of nuthatch in one tree, plus some nice Red Crossbills. Above, on Cameron Lake Road, was a flock of 16 GREY PARTRIDGE. From there we went to Timentua Road, where we saw a flock of about 20 SNOW BUNTINGS, along with many Horned Larks; this was at the farm with the cows and the big rocks. The birds were feeding in a depression that appeared to have some manure in it.

At Bridgeport Bar we saw a small mixed flock of Cedar and BOHEMIAN Waxwings, plus Redhead, Canvasback, and Eared Grebe.

In Bridgeport was a Merlin.

The NORTHERN HAWK-OWL was at the farm along B Road (or whatever it's really called), south of Mansfield. Thanks to Meredith Spencer and her friend for pointing it out to us.

The YELLOW-BILLED LOON was right there at the fishing access spot on Murphy Road (south side of the river above Chief Joseph Dam).

At Bridgeport State Park, which is closed to camping in winter (like just about every other park in our Eymanized state), we heard a Great Horned and a SAW-WHET OWL just after sundown.

Today, we headed over to Steamboat Rock State Park (which actually is open for camping), and found two or three LONG-EARED OWLS at dawn, in the Russian Olives near the cattail marsh. A MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD was also near this same spot.

Across the highway from the park entrance road was a Townsend's Solitaire.

At Northrup Canyon were two Varied Thrushes and another Townsend's Solitaire.

Along Highway 2 on the Waterville Plateau were lots of Horned Larks, plus about twenty SNOW BUNTINGS. This was in Douglas County, east of Moses Coulee.

In Moses Coulee, south of Jameson Lake, were six or seven singing SAGE SPARROWS in one spot. We did not search other areas for this species, so maybe there were lots more of them. Along the west wall of the coulee was a flock of close to 200 GREY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCHES, giving great and close views. This was in late morning. We also heard a CANYON WREN singing, but could not get a look at it.

It was a jolly weekend!

Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch   Near Lyman, Washington (Skagit County), USA   garybletsch at yahoo.com    

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