[Tweeters] Hoary Redpolls, White-winged Crossbills, and other fun birds (Okanogan Highlands and Waterville Plateau)

khanh tran khanhbatran at hotmail.com
Mon Nov 28 12:33:35 PST 2011

Hi Tweets!
Bill, Lora and I had a fun trip this past weekend, visiting the Okanogan Highlands and Waterville Plateau.  We had to escape the wet weather from the Westside and luckily, experienced no rain or snow.  Little snow above 4000 ft and the roads were in great shape. Birding was generally very slow but the quality was very high.  
It was an interesting trip to see what winter "specialities" lurk early in the season.  I always learn something new every time I bird in the Magical Okanogan. All fun surprises with these challenging, and nomadic species! 
Already there are decent numbers of Common Redpoll flocks at multiple locations.   Our only surprise was not one pygmy owl was found during the entire trip. Normally I see several in a day.  I suspect they are still at higher elevations with the little snow cover below 4000 ft.  
We looked in vain for Gyrfalcon and Snowy Owls but none were found. Rough Legged Hawks (3 dozen) and Northern Shrikes (12-15 birds) were in good numbers. Be interesting what the next few months will produce.
On a sad note, one of the stake out places (Hungry Hollow Road) for Gray crowned Rosy-finchES has burned down. On the good side, the Chesaw General Store has re-opened for business and gas.   
*********************LIST OF SPECIES****************************  
8 Great Horned Owls (Waterville Plateau and several on Highlands)
3 Long-eared Owls 
1 Short-eared Owl 4 Prairie Falcons (Waterville Plateau and Highlands)
30 Gray Patridge (Cameron Lake Rd)
8 Ruffed Grouse (Mary Ann Creek Rd)
150 Common Redpolls (Several flocks of 10-150 birds in multiple locations in Highlands) 
2 HOARY REDPOLL (with a cooperative but jittery flock of CORE. Allowed multiple but brief views along Mary Ann Creek Rd)
30 Snow Buntings (cooperative flock in beautiful light within 20 feet from our car) 
350 Bohemian Waxwings (multiple flocks of 60-200 birds on Highlands)
200 Gray Crown Rosyfinches (Mary Ann Creek Rd)
12 American Tree Sparrows (Mary Ann Creek Rd)
12 Pine Grosbeaks (Mary Ann Creek Rd)
20 Red Crossbills (Cameron Lake Rd)
Good birding, 
Khanh Tran 

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