[Tweeters] Walla Walla county yesterday, Franklin, Benton, Yakima earlier

birdmarymoor at gmail.com birdmarymoor at gmail.com
Thu Apr 14 20:21:22 PDT 2016

Wednesday, I birded WALLA WALLA COUNTY. On Mill Creek Rd, just after the creek that’s just before the intersection with Scenic Loop Rd., I had a nice singing NASHVILLE WARBLER. Up Scenic Loop Rd. just a bit, I had a drumming RUFFED GROUSE that eluded sighting, and singing “SLATE-COLORED” FOX SPARROWS. Lower down the valley Mill Creek Rd., on my way out, I had a flock of EVENING GROSBEAKS amongst the farms, as well as my first VAUX’S SWIFT of the year.

Tom Lamb’s old place on Biscuit Ridge Rd. has been bought by a friendly young couple with children and dogs, but they’re still hoping to keep the hummingbird thing going. They’ve moved feeders more into the front yard, and I was able to get a male CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD for a year bird.

Next up was Jasper Mountain Rd., where I was hoping for Red-naped Sapsucker. I slowly made my way up, checking pretty much every grove of trees. At a mixed grove of trees, I came face to face with a GREAT GRAY OWL. Great looks, ecstatic birder. Several miles further up, at a clearcut at the top of a rise, I finally got a RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER. Also on Jasper Mtn. Rd., I had MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD, WESTERN BLUEBIRD, and TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE.

Happy, I scooted from there all the way to the Columbia (noting a SWAINSON’S HAWK just east of Walla Walla on my way). At the overlook off US-12, looking down onto the pond in Madame Dorian, there were about 25 BLACK-NECKED STILTS, and 15 AMERICAN AVOCETS. At Wallula Gap, I found WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS as promised, and heard both ROCK WREN and CANYON WREN.

Walla Walla River Delta had a ton of CASPIAN TERNS and a lone COMMON TERN (small, mantle darker than nearby Caspians, black cap especially large and bold down the nape, bill so dark orange it often looked black, leg color a darker orange, wing tips dusky and longer than tail – I spent a lot of time to be 100% sure it wasn’t a Forster’s).

Tuesday, at Windust Park in FRANKLIN COUNTY, I had 2 MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE, a pair of LESSER GOLDFINCH, and a pure “YELLOW-SHAFTED” FLICKER. On Blanton Rd., I had two LONG-BILLED CURLEW. And at the Pasco-Kahlotus Gravel Pit [mostly dry] ponds, I had 2 BANK SWALLOWS as well as NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS.

Earlier in the day in BENTON COUNTY, I had a TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE at Horn Rapids Park, and several SANDHILL CRANES on and near Snively Rd., as well as a CINNAMON TEAL on Weidle Rd.

Monday in YAKIMA COUNTY, I found GREATER YELLOWLEGS and LONG-BILLED CURLEW at Toppenish NWR. There were also several HOUSE WRENS near the headquarters building. On my second try (thanks Andy!), I found the BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER at the “3/4 mile fields” – my 250th Yakima County species.

It was a great trip.

== Michael Hobbs
== www.marymoor.org/birding.htm
== BirdMarymoor at frontier.com
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