[Tweeters] Conconully, Okanogan Highlands, Bridgeport, Moses Coulee Today

Marvin S. Hoekstra marvin.hoekstra at verizon.net
Wed Mar 4 23:03:22 PST 2009

6:30 AM: I started from Winthrop toward Conconully. WA-20 to Okanogan is a
beautiful highway-I saw the usual suspects-- RAVEN and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD,
but nothing out of the ordinary. I am well aware that had to have passed at
least one Northern Pygmy Owl either here or later in the day without seeing
or hearing it. From Okanogon to Conconully were BALD EAGLES. At 8 AM
Conconully was full of birds. I parked at the State Park and heard an owl
as soon as I got out of the car-low voiced like a Barred or Great Horned,
but I did not see it. Walking up the street from the park entrance I saw 3
CALIFORNIA QUAIL in a back yard. A berry laden tree was loaded with a flock
of 20 BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS. A second tree had an equal number of EVENING
GROSBEAKS. I got really good looks at all these birds.

Heading out of town I saw more bald eagles, but not the Sharp-tailed Grouse
I had seen a month ago. Crossing Tonasket-Havillah Road were 4 WILD
TURKEY. 1030 AM: At a farm with 4 big corrugated bins just beyond
Havillah, two SNOW BUNTINGS were pecking in the cleared area to the south
of the road. Later, on the way back there was a flock of about a dozen of
the same birds in the same place. I arrived on Mary Ann Creek Rd about 11
AM and found the place very quiet. Other than 3 OREGON JUNCOS and a heard
FLICKER, I did not find any birds. I searched the pretty diligently for the
Common Redpolls and Ruffed Grouse that had been in the area, but I did not
find them. Quite probably it was the wrong time of day. Bolster Road was
quiet as well except for the ususal Magpies.

2:30 PM I was at Bridgeport State Park. It is a large park, and it seemed
like pure luck if I looked in the right spot and saw the Northern Saw-Whet
Owl. I opted for the wooded area just upriver from the boat launch. I
played my recorded Northern Saw-Whet Owl "song" on my hand held iPOD, but no
owl appeared. I have a lot to learn about finding owls.

At 4:30 PM I was at on Jameson Lake Rd off US 2 in Moses Coulee after seeing
numerous ROUGH -LEGGED HAWKS, one dark morph and the rest light, along the
way from Bridgeport. I walked a ways into the sage and noted quick movement
of birds now and then. One SAGE SPARROW flew up to the top of a shrub, sang
the Sage Sparrow song, and posed nicely for a photo. This was my third
life bird on this trip.

Thank to Gary Bletsch for great tips on finding the Sage Sparrow, and to
Khanh Tran for his post, which led to my spotting the Snow Buntings.

Marvin S. Hoekstra

Sammamish, WA

marvin dot hoekstra at verizon dot net

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