[Tweeters] Crossbills and CWU Parking, Old Vantage Hwy, and Huntzinger Rd.

Crockett/Gibbins binary_star85 at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 9 11:37:50 PST 2016

Hi Tweeters,
Found a mixed flock of crossbills yesterday morning on the CWU campus, including male and female WWCR---life bird for me! The birds were flying back and forth between the conifers in Japanese garden West of the Student Union and Recreation Center (SURC) and the conifers on the big lawn North of the garden.

As I was scoping the birds, Walter Szeliga, a geology professor, strolled up to say hello. He records and analyzes RECR calls and has identified some of the ones that frequent the CWU campus as Type 3. He also pointed out a Townsend's Solitaire that returns to the same deciduous tree year after year. Thanks, Walter---nice to meet you.

I parked in the lot just East of the SURC. The $5 permit can be purchased at a kiosk at the West end of the lot and is good for 24 hrs. The SURC has a coffee bar, lots of food options, and nice bathrooms.

From Ellensburg, I headed down Old Vantage Hwy. Quilomene was quiet, but I did have great looks at a male Northern Harrier. A woman returning from a hike said she saw a flock of Horned Larks.

Near milepost 22: No owls on the cliffs, but I saw a stunning male Mountain Bluebird.

Rocky Coulee: The highlight was a huge flock of about 100 Violet-green Swallows. Not much on the river---2 Horned Grebes in non-breeding plumage and a Mew Gull. From the path along the river, I got a fleeting glimpse of a pale brown raptor flying fast---Prairie Falcon, perhaps?

Next up, Huntzinger Rd.:
One Golden Eagle soaring near Wanapum SP.
The Cove: 6 Audubon's Yellow-rumpled Warblers, 2 Killdeer, 4 Common Goldeneyes, 8 Buffleheads, a couple of Red-winged Blackbirds, and 70-80 Tree or Violet-green swallows flying high overhead in silhouette against the gray sky.
Wanapum Dam: 100 Greater Scaup, 4 Ruddy Ducks, 6 Pied-billed Grebes, and 5 Gadwalls.
Boat launch: Great views of goldeneyes close up and in great light! 12 Barrow's and 70-80 Common. It was fun to compare the two species. Also 30 more Greater Scaup.
Paula Crockett
Carnation, WA
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