[Tweeters] Evening Grosbeaks ubiquitous near Wenatchee National Forest area

notcalm at comcast.net notcalm at comcast.net
Mon Jul 19 00:23:12 PDT 2010

Hello Christy,

Sounds like a great experience. I look forward to seeing photos. Is it possible they were picking up grit? I have seen some species including mixed flocks of Swallows using a favorite gravel site, sometimes near a road or parking area. Steven's pass has a parking area that is sometimes used by flocks of Grosbeaks for grit. On the other hand, maybe there is some special food source available right now. I have often found that my photos or video often provide detail and answers not readily seen in the field. Thanks for posting.

Dan Reiff

----- Original Message -----
From: "Christy RJ" <christyrj at hotmail.com>
To: "Tweeters" <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Sunday, July 18, 2010 11:30:31 PM
Subject: [Tweeters] Evening Grosbeaks ubiquitous near Wenatchee National Forest area

Hi Tweets,

I joined a group of folks for a hike yesterday in the Teanaway and, deciding to take advantage of being in the area, stayed over an extra day to do some birding.

Man did I get lucky with the EVENING GROSBEAKS! I encountered several flocks in several different locations. At one spot, I had them literally almost flying through my open car windows while I photographed from inside, and at another location they were flying all around overhead and even nearly landing on my car (I was not in the car that time but rather down the road a bit with the camera).

My first lucky spot was on the road to Red Top Mountain, about 1.2 miles in, in an open clearing where they were feeding (on insects, I assume?) in a grassless "dug up" looking area near the left side of the road. They seemed to sometimes be pulling with their beaks at a small mound (which blocked my photographic interests until I later pulled the car forward a bit more). They went back and forth from the feeding area to a nearby pine tree. I sat in my car and watched and photographed for over an hour. They got so used to my being there that, when they would spook for whatever reason and fly off en masse, several times they headed my direction and that's when I half-expected a few to come right through my car windows, they were that low and close. I also got buzzed several times by a curious Hummingbird while I was sitting there. :)

Another lucky spot was when, on a lark on my way home today, I followed the signs on Hwy 97 to the little historic town of Liberty. I drove through the town and just beyond to a large open "turnaround" area that forks off into two smaller unpaved roads. That clearing happened to be FULL of EVENING GROSBEAKS, as well as PURPLE FINCH and PINE SISKIN. They were, again, feeding in groups on the ground (this time in a mix of the three species), in a shady spot amongst all the broken shale or whatever it was that covered the roadway. Again I'm very curious to know what they were finding to eat there (?). I watched and photographed for nearly an hour, though there was a surprising amount of vehicle traffic that kept spooking the birds (and choking me with road dust). The birds were once again alternating between the feeding spot and one particular nearby pine tree, as well as flying about to other surrounding trees. I used my point & shoot camera for a little video to capture the fun of all their buzzing calls to one another.

My last big notable encounter was also on Hwy 97, at the Mineral Springs Resort area. A flock of Grosbeaks was once again feeding on the ground in a shady spot just to the right of the highway near the "general store" or whatever it was (I was too busy looking at the birds to note what the building was :). The flock was coming in to feed and then flying back across the highway to trees in the Mineral Springs campground.

I haven't had much experience with Evening Grosbeaks prior to this weekend, so all of this was particularly exciting for me. :) I filled the memory card on my camera. If I got any decent shots, I'll try to remember to post a link here.


~Christy Jobe
christyRJ at hotmail dot com
Kenmore, WA

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