[Tweeters] SAS MB Kittitas trip 4/23/2016
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Sun Apr 24 09:40:36 PDT 2016
A Seattle Audubon MB pre-trip today went to Kittitas County. We had an easy
trip up to Snoqualmie Pass, but at 0620 the only birds around were 1 male
and 2 female RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDs. Because the prime focus of the trip was
Sage birds we headed down to east of Ellensburg. By the time we were past
Cle Elum the wind was blowing strongly - about 20 mph steadily and continued
that way east, until about 1020 when it picked up to about 30 mph. Needless
to say the birding was very slow with most everything wisely under cover.
As we passed Easton we had two TURKEY VULTUREs overhead. Along the way to
Ellensburg we saw our first BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE, AMERICAN CROW, a flying
GREAT BLUE HERON, and a RED-TAILED HAWK. An OSPREY was in one of the nesting
platforms along I-90.
We had one EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE in Kittitas, and not much of anything
along Caribou Rd. Vantage Hwy yielded a couple of RED-TAILED HAWKs and
several BLACK-BILLED MAGPIEs. We stopped near the pond on Parke Creek Rd.
and saw a single AMERICAN COOT, a couple of MALLARDs, a couple of CANADA
GEESE, two KILLDEER, some RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, and some YELLOW-HEADED
BLACKBIRDs. A BARN SWALLOW flew by. A RED-TAILED HAWK was high overhead.
Continuing on Vantage Hwy we saw a couple of WESTERN BLUEBIRDs and a couple
of MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDs. A quick stop at a very windy entrance to the Wild
Horse Wind Farm (boy, did it live up to its name) gave us a couple of
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWs and a possible other sparrow (seen to quickly at a
distance to reliably i.d. it.). COMMON RAVENs were in the area. We stopped
at the lower Quilcine entrance and managed to pull out a BREWER'S SPARROW,
that eventually gave us at least 5 minutes of looks as it perched, in the
open, on the top of a sage. A couple of folks did have HORNED LARK. Another
Red-tailed Hawk on the way down to the cliffs - no joy for Great Horned Owl,
guess they have fledged and moved elsewhere. We did have WESTERN MEADOWLARK
along the way. A SWAINSON'S HAWK zoomed by overhead.
At the new, improved Recreation Rd. access we had a single COMMON LOON, two
HORNED GREBEs, some YELLOW -RUMPED WARBLERs, an AMERICAN GOLDFINCH and some
HOUSE FINCH. Nice looks at SAY'S PHOEBE on the way down Recreation Rd. As we
started up the hill to Gingko State Park Interpretive Center, a ROCK WREN
perched briefly on a rock below us. At the top, the SAYS' PHOEBE was on the
nest on the beam just outside the entrance door. (the shelter on the east
side of the Center was much appreciated.
At Wanapum State Park we saw AMERICAN ROBIN, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, HOUSE
FINCH. The wind was strongly at 30 + mph, so we gave up and headed back
We made our way up SR10 in Yakima Canyon and saw a couple of AMERICAN
KESTRELs. A stop at the Teanaway River bridge had an AMERICAN DIPPER coming
to the nest under the bridge and feeding young and taking a fecal sack away.
Several NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWs were working the area over, and we
tried really hard for a Bank Swallow but couldn't confirm the only brief
At a stop on the high point on Taylor Rd. we got great looks at a RED-TAILED
HAWK as it tried flying into the wind. As we made our way east on 970 we had
another AMERICAN KESTREL. We cruised slowly along Swauk Prairie Rd. and had
wonderful looks at a pair of WESTERN BLUEBIRDs. At one point the male
perched on a fence line about 20 feet from us. In the grass along the road
we had several VESPER SPARROWs. Along Hidden Valley Rd. we saw a CHIPPING
We went into Cle Elum and on to the Railroad Ponds and saw STELLER'S JAY,
TREE SWALLOW, BARROW'S GOLDENEYE (a pair), RING-NECKED DUCK, MALLARD, CANADA
GOOSE, and BUFFLEHEAD. We then had to opportunity to study the foraging
behavior of two PYGMY NUTHATCHes and then one at the nesting tree. On the
way home we had two TURKEY VULTUREs at the Roslyn exit. A quick stop at the
WDFW access off Hundley Rd. was very quiet, but we did hear a DOWNY
At various stops along the way we also had GADWALL, COMMON MERGANSER,
NORTHERN HARRIER, ROCK PIGEON, MOURNING DOVE, ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD, NORTHERN
FLICKER, PILEATED WOODPECKER, PEREGRINE FALCON, AMERICAN CROW, BLACK-CAPPED
CHICKADEE, EUROPEAN STARLING, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, SONG SPARROW, DARK-EYED
JUNCO, PINE SISKIN, and HOUSE SPARROW.
In spite of the high winds, it was a good day with some really nice views of
birds. We wound up with 61 species for the day.
Brian H. Bell
mail to bell asoc at iso media dot com
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