[Tweeters] Sept 30 - Oct 2 NE WA WOS field trip report

Tim O'Brien kertim7179 at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 2 22:07:17 PDT 2011

>From Friday, September 30 to October 2, an intrepid group of WOS members joined myself and Terry Little (on Friday) to visit the northeast corner of Washington State. The weather cooperated nicely with just a couple thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday nights. The birds were outstanding! Here is a summary:

Friday morning, we met in Ione and then headed up to Bunchgrass Meadow. A thorough search of the area provided us with great looks at two different BOREAL CHICKADEES. Also, in the area we found an AMERICAN THREE-TOED WOODPECKER. On the way back down, we had challenging looks at a sneaky RUFFED GROUSE.
Around Sullivan Lake, we visited the Noisy Creek Campground where we found our long sought after BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE to give us a 4 chickadee day. Also in the campground, we had great looks at a BROWN CREEPER. On the lake itself, we found two WESTERN GREBE, one RED-NECKED GREBE, a single GREATER SCAUP, COMMON MERGANSERS, and a soaring OSPREY which seemed late.
On the way up to Salmo Pass, we stopped several times and were amazed at the numbers of RED CROSSBILLS and PINE SISKINS that were working the cones all along the higher parts of the road. We searched in vain for a White-winged Crossbill amidst the Reds. Up at Salmo Pass, we found several GRAY JAYS and a surprising MERLIN. On the road up to the top of Salmo Mountain, a very gracious female SPRUCE GROUSE allowed some outstanding looks at close range. This bird was a lifer for many of the group. Near the top, we ran into a couple MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS and a heard only PINE GROSBEAK. While we were looking off the top some very vocal CLARK'S NUTCRACKERS came up and entertained us. As the light faded to dark, we began our search for owls. Near the pass, we located at least 3 different BOREAL OWLS. And then a quick stop at a campground on the way down yielded both NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL and BARRED OWL. What a way to end the day!
On Saturday, we worked our way to Big Meadow Lake first in the morning. On the way while still in Stevens County, we had a RUFFED GROUSE run across the road and in the same spot we found a skulking PACIFIC WREN. At Big Meadow Lake, we found a MERLIN perched on a snag out towards the middle of the lake. Also, here in the meadow was a late GRAY CATBIRD and a lingering LINCOLN'S SPARROW. The lake itself hosted WOOD DUCK, RING-NECKED DUCK, GREATER SCAUP, and COMMON GOLDENEYE.
A trip up Huckleberry Mountain on a questionable road yielded our only CASSIN'S FINCH of the trip. Crossing back into Stevens County via Smackout Pass, we found another OSPREY high up. Also, a couple flocks of EVENING GROSBEAKS flew over.
We then headed north towards the Canadian border with stops at a couple lakes. Deep Lake provided views of MALLARD, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, COMMMON GOLDENEYE, and PIED-BILLED GREBE. Cedar Lake had more of the same including a RED-NECKED GREBE and AMERICAN WIGEON. Following the Columbia River back south towards Kettle Falls was very slow, but we did manage to find HOODED MERGANSER, AMERICAN COOT, HORNED GREBE, and RING-BILLED GULL.
At the Kettle Falls Marina, we found WESTERN and HORNED GREBES. Out at Key Point, there was a lone GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE in with the CANADA GEESE. Ducks here included AMERICAN WIGEON, RING-NECKED DUCK, LESSER SCAUP, and HOODED MERGANSER. The only gulls present were RING-BILLED. On they way back towards Highway 25 from the Kettle Falls Campground, we found two EURASIAN COLLARED DOVES.
Sunday started with some excitement as we learned about the sighting of a Cattle Egret. We immediately visited the fields along Oakshot Road and found the CATTLE EGRET following a cow around. Next, we visited the Colville STP where a kind worker opened the gate for us. From up on the dike around the ponds, we had a great views of PECTORAL SANDPIPER, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, WILSON'S SNIPE, and a SORA. In the fields surrounding the STP, a SHORT-EARED OWL was spotted flying. Also, a NORTHERN SHRIKE was seen which was the first of the season for most of the group.
We then headed for the Little Pend Oreille NWR. On our way in, we stopped at Hatch Lake where we found a few MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS. Also, a quick stop at Horsetheif Lake, provided us with a singing MARSH WREN which are hard to find in Stevens County. In the Refuge, we visited the Headquarters, Cottonwood Camp, Potter's Pond, and Bayley Lake. We added a few WESTERN BLUEBIRDS and a STELLER'S JAY on the drive around the various locations however most areas were pretty quiet.
On a tip from Terry Little, we then headed south and visited a burn up Moran Creek Road. This burn is a woodpecker bonanza! We found seven species of woodpeckers which included WHITE-HEADED, AMERICAN THREE-TOED, BLACK-BACKED, HAIRY, DOWNY, NORTHERN FLICKER, and PILEATED WOODPECKER. Black-backeds were very common and seemed to be everywhere!
We then ended our trip at the Reardan Audubon Lakes, where we found another GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE. Also, here were a lone LESSER YELLOWLEGS, PECTORAL SANDPIPER, and lots of LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS.
Once again, a great trip with great people and great birds! Thanks to everyone that helped spot the birds!
Tim O'Brien
Cheney, WA
mailto: kertim7179 @ yahoo dot com

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