[Tweeters] Birding Central Washington, Marcn 18
Marvin S. Hoekstra
marvin.hoekstra at verizon.net
Fri Mar 19 00:08:45 PDT 2010
Having read recent descriptions of the Sage Grouse display, I showed up at
the Leahy Cutoff Road site this morning at daybreak, hoping to add this life
bird. There was no action in the location where I looked first. Terry and
Joshua Little arrived and, thanks to their prior experience we went about a
quarter mile further down the road, where the birds were displaying in a
short-cropped field to the south of the road. Observable with a scope,
around 20 males were displaying while the females ate without even looking
up. A couple of males, possibly feeling ignored, flew off and landed on the
north side of the road near us. One of them puffed up, allowing some decent
photos. The appearance of these birds is quite spectacular, but the
expected sound effects were noticeable only to those among us with the
sharpest of hearing, and then only when the wind was directly from the lek.
Leaving the lek I headed up Bridgeport Hill Road, which turned up two
red-tailed hawks sitting together in one tree. The Waterville plateau
seemed to have only ravens. Just east of Waterville a shallow pool of water
in a plowed field had five Northern Pintail. A flock of 30 Horned Lark was
munching on something in the mud next to the pool. I looked carefully for
Lapland Longspur among them, to no avail.
I hurried on to Vantage, noting a male Kestrel or two here and there on the
wires, as well as perhaps a dozen single Meadowlarks, also on wires, singing
their automobile penetrating song. Up in the rocky area along Huntzinger
Road south of Wanapum Dam I looked for and found multiple singing Rock Wrens
at around 11:30 am. They sang from seemingly favorite, noticeably
whitewashed sites on the rock. This surprised me as I had seen no Wrens the
day before at 4:30 pm. A Say's Phoebe hawked insect from the top of a
shrub; this struck me as early for Say's but I can't claim a lot of
experience in that regard. As I was about to leave, a Canyon Wren mounted
a bit of barbed wire and let go with his song. Returning north, I spotted
a couple dozen Greater Scaup in the Columbia River. I say greater because
of green, smoothly round heads, but am no expert on this.
It was a good day of birding with a backdrop of sunny spring weather.
Marvin S. Hoekstra
marvin dot hoekstra at verizon dot net
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