[Tweeters] More from the Okanogan last weekend

Jon Houghton jon.houghton at hartcrowser.com
Mon Mar 21 11:10:40 PDT 2016


Hi Tweets - After our good experiences with grouse Saturday morning, we beat feet (ok, really tires) for the Okanogan Highlands, arriving at the Havillah SnoPark before 10, cruising our 'usual' route:

Havillah Rd. had several Red-tailed, a couple Rough-legged Hawks; many Bluebirds (both spp.), Red Crossbills, and Northern Shrike. At the SnoPark, we heard and found a plethora of active and gorgeous Williamson's Sapsuckers but not much else. Nealy Rd. feeders were pretty bird free, except for a host of Red-wings?! In Chesaw we enjoyed a great lunch and local chat at the Chesaw Tavern - highly recommended for building birder-local rapport in the Highlands! Bolster Rd. didn't show us anything new - a distant treetop flock of either Siskins or Redpolls - attempts at ID were interrupted by an opportunity to chat with a friendly Border Patrol agent doing his rounds. Back up Chesaw Rd. to Mary Ann Creek Road, we found a large flock of about 50 Common Redpolls on the treed side of the road and a pair of Say's Phoebes on the dry side. The partially frozen beaver ponds had Mallards and a pair of ice-skating Killdeer. Just before the whimsical religious camp, we screeched to a stop for a small group of larger birds glimpsed entering trees near the road. They turned out to be 5 Pine Grossbeaks, that worked cones in the trees right next to the car (in bad light, of course). Then, unexpectedly, the bright male, flew almost right at me and landed on the road bank about 20 feet in front of me, in perfect light!! Soon the whole flock joined him affording super looks and photo ops as they appeared to be eating dried grass! (And I thought only Kahn and Blair had these close encounters!!). On to Hungry Hollow Road, we reveled in the amazing views, dipped on owls, but saw another large flock of Redpolls, again working the spruce tops. We stopped back at the SnoPark for a quick drive through, just in case the fabled Great Gray had decided it was time to come out and sit on a post, but, as usual, no such luck. After another gala evening in Omak, we headed home yesterday up Cameron Lake Rd. over the Timentwa Plateau which was surprisingly less snowy than the Waterville Plateau had been on Friday. No snow birds along Cameron Lake Rd. but we did spook a Wilson's Snipe out of my favorite Tree Sparrow and porcupine place (no Tree Sparrows since last November, through) and a Great Horned Owl from roadside brush near the 'Butt Hut' at the south end of the road. Many waterfowls, including a surprising number of Redhead Ducks on all the melted out ponds and lakes along the road. All in all, a very pleasant trip with about 65 spp seen overall. Happy Birding! - Jon

Jon Houghton, Ph.D.
Principal; Senior Marine/Fishery Biologist
Jon.Houghton at HartCrowser.com<mailto:Jon.Houghton at HartCrowser.com>

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