[Tweeters] SE WA shorebirding & birding

mattxyz at earthlink.net mattxyz at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 10 06:02:53 PDT 2010


hi Tweets & INWBers-
I spent a 3 day weekend down in the SE Corner of the state. While it
wasn't intended to be a shorebirding trip, the timing was right and
those were my main highlights.

I started off at dawn at the mouth of the Tuccanon river in Columbia
Co, where a Spotted Sandpiper was my first shorebird. Next up, I hit
the jackpot -- at mp6 on SR 261, flooded fields provided the rarest
thing: Shorebird habitat in Columbia County! I spent 90 minutes
scanning, and ended up with 9 more shorebird species - Several
GREATER YELLOWLEGS, a LESSER YELLLOWLEGS, 10+ SOLITARY SANDPIPERS,
WESTERN SANDPIPERS (~5), LEAST SANDPIPER(2-3), SEMIPALMATED
SANDPIPER(1-2), BAIRD'S SANDPIPER(1), WILSON'S SNIPE(2), and KILLDEER
(20+). 8 of those were new for me, and 3 [LEYE, SESA & BASA] look
like they are County Firsts! I returned 3 more times over the
weekend, and continued to find it very active -- by Sunday evening,
the yellowlegs had all left but everyone else was still present.
I hope anyone in the area has a chance to keep an eye on this spot --
Columbia Co could use its first Pectoral Sandpiper or even Stilt
Sandpiper, and this field might be the place.

Next up on Saturday, I went over to Lewis & Clark State Park in
western Columbia Co. As reported by others, the pond (visible from
the trail off the south side of the park) was still hosting a
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON(adult). A Solitary Sandpiper was also
hanging out here.

I moved on to Biscuit Ridge in Walla Walla Co -- pretty quiet up
there, with no response from the Green-tailed Towhees [windy &
probably too late in the season] -- best bird was a close flyover of
a NORTHERN GOSHAWK.

Back in Columbia Co., I worked my way up the Tucannon River Valley,
stopping mostly for the ponds to look for shorebird habitat (and
shorebirds). The start of Tucannon River Rd (near SR12) offers a
view of some mud along the river and a Solitary Sandpiper was
present. Spring Lake & Rainbow Lake (and the fish hatchery) were both
too full of water to offer any habitat. At Watson & Beaver Lake, I
pulled up a Solitary Sandpiper (4th spot for the day ) and another
Greater Yellowlegs. An adult Bald Eagle overhead and an American
Dipper on the river were my final Saturday birds.

Sunday (8/8)
After starting the day back at the MP 6 fields, I headed to Walla
Walla Co to bird Lewis Peak Rd - 2 big coveys of GRAY PARTRIDGE were
working the roadsides on my way up. Along the sides, many WESTERN
BLUEBIRD juvies popped up, but I never did find a recognizable
Mountain Bluebird juvie.

I spent the rest of the day up in the higher parts of Columbia Co.,
driving south along N.Fork Touchet/64, up to Table Mtn Lookout (6200
ft), then back via FR46/Skyline Drive. EURASIAN COLLARED DOVE were
still at their most reliable spot at the North/South Fork junction
just south of Dayton. WILLIAMSON'S SAPSUCKERS were plenitful up
along the high ridges. Plenty of Olive-sided Flycatchers, Cassin's
Finch, Western Bluebirds & a few Calliope Hummers & Red Crossbills.

Monday (8/9)
Mostly worked on shorebird spots Monday. After starting again at the
Columbia Co. MP6 fields, I went east to Garfield Co -- Garfield Co
makes Columbia Co look like a shorebird mecca by comparison -- Given
that Garfield has yet to record its first Least Sandpiper, Lesser
Yellowlegs or Phalarope (and just got its first Greater Yellowlegs
this year), there wasn't much hope for shorebirding there. And
Garfield lived up to its reputation - I managed to see a Spotted
Sandpiper & a few Killdeer. At Central Ferry [mouth of Meadow
Creek/Deadman Creek), I did stumble across a juvie BLACK-CROWNED
NIGHT-HERON. Rice Bar HMU was pretty birdy, with lots of active
Bullocks Orioles, Yellow Warblers, a couple Bewicks & Marsh Wren.

Over in Asotin Co., the Alpowa Creek Mouth had a nice selection of
shorebirds: a single LESSER YELLOWLEGS, ~5 WESTERN SANDPIPERS, 1-2
SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, a BAIRD'S SANDPIPER, one SPOTTED SANDPIPER &
a handful of KILLDEER. At Swallows Park, on the south end, a
SEMIPALMATED PLOVER was on the sandbars.

Down near Anatone, at the ponds on Savage Rd., another BAIRD'S
SANDPIPER, a WILSON'S SNIPE & a couple WESTERN SANDPIPERs were on the
north pond.

My final stop before driving back to Seattle was at the Hatton Rest
Stop ponds on SR 26 [Adams Co]. As has been reported, this place is
definitely _the_ place to be if you are migrating shorebird: In my
brief stop, I counted 18 species of shorebird!
Semipalmated Plover - 1
Killdeer -many
Black-necked Stilt 10+
American Avocet 10+
Spotted Sandpiper - several
Solitary Sandpiper - 5+
Greater Yellowlegs - several
Lesser Yellowlegs - several
Semipalmated Sandpiper - 3+
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Baird's Sandpiper
Pectoral Sandpiper - 1
Stilt Sandpiper - many
Long-billed Dowitcher - 1
Wilson's Snipe - 1
Wilson's Phalarope 2-3
Red-necked Phalarope 2-3

Not a bad ending for the weekend.

Matt Bartels
Seattle , WA


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