[Tweeters] extended weekend in Othello

Randy Hill re_hill at q.com
Tue Mar 22 16:38:56 PDT 2016


Got back last night from a 5-day trip to Othello associated with the
Sandhill Crane Festival. Certainly a transition period with several new
arrivals as well as wintering birds. Among the notables:



Adams County>

Snow Goose – 3/21, a dozen at Columbia NWR viewed from the Royal Lake
overlook.

Trumpeter Swan – 3/21, 8 on Halfmoon Lake viewed from McManamon Road.

Wild Turkey – 3/21, the Washtucna flock is still there north of Bassett
Park.

Am. White Pelican – 3/17+, 2 on the lake NE of the Para Ponds viewed from
McManamon Road above the RR crossing.

Sandhill Crane – 3/21, the largest flock I saw was more than 1,000 along
SR26 about 7 miles east of SR17. I believe the majority of the northbound
migrants haven’t reached Othello yet, and cranes were not yet using the corn
circle at Corfu.

Long-billed Curlew – 3/19+, at least 4 using a pasture looking west from
Reynolds Road immediately south of SR26. This is a half mile directly south
of the water tower.

Prairie Falcon – 3/21, flying to the back side of the big cliff at Morgan
Lake, viewed from the Columbia NWR office/visitor center on Morgan Lake
Road.

N Rough-winged Swallow – 3/21, in the Marsh Unit 3 canyon from the parking
area at the end of the access road north from McManamon Road.

Cliff Swallow – 3/19, at the McManamon Road bridge that crosses the Potholes
Canal north of Othello.

Common Redpoll – 3/18, a flock of about 40 about 2 ½ miles east of SR17
along Sutton Rd where Gregg Rd veers north. Photos from another observer
the following day showed one bird with unstreaked undertail coverts.

Burrowing Owl – while “widely reported” from two west side locations, I
couldn’t find any. In addition to a local decline in use of traditional
nest burrows, I think migrants have yet to arrive on their breeding grounds.




Grant County>

Snow Goose – 3/21, 100+ at Royal Lake as above. The Royal Lake overlook at
Columbia NWR is almost right on the county line.

Chukar – 3/20, heard on Saddle Mountain from multiple locations. Scoped one
from the Saddle Mtn overlook way looking north. The access road from SR24
is ~ .3 miles east of MP60. (see p 364 of the new edition of the Birder’s
Guide to WA)

Golden Eagle – 3/20, about 8-10 miles SW of Royal City over Saddle Mtn on
Lower Crab Creek Rd.

American Avocet – 3/21, FOY one at the County Line ponds along SR26 near
MP31.

Long-billed Curlew – 3/20, a pair flying by the Saddle Mtn overlook.

Dunlin – 3/21, 6+ at the County Line ponds.

Prairie Falcon – 3/20-21, nesting on cliff at the Saddle Mtn overlook.

Loggerhead Shrike – 3/17+, most numerous along two routes, to Saddle Mtn
overlook and the easter portion of Lower Crab Creek Rd, and including Corfu
Rd.

Canyon and Rock Wren – 3/20, calling on Saddle Mtn. Also reported up Morgan
Lake Rd through Columbia NWR.

Sagebrush Sparrow – 3/20, along the road to Saddle Mtn overlook. Usually
reliable north of the canal crossing.



Benton County>

Tundra Swan – 3/20, a single flyover at the White Bluffs boat ramp.

Bald Eagle – 3/20, a sub-adult and nesting pair (one sitting in nest) north
of the old Hanford townsite along the Columbia River, viewed from the White
Bluffs boat ramp.



Franklin County>

Tundra Swan – 3/20, as above before it crossed the river.

Hooded Merganser – 3/20, 3 at the White Bluffs boat ramp.

Great Egret - 3/20, from the White Bluffs boat ramp and the backwater marsh.

Long-billed Curlew – 3/18, a pair along Coyan at the north end of Scooteney
Reservoir were my FOY.

American Tree Sparrow – 3/20, the first sparrow that I looked at (and nobody
else saw) in a flock of White-crowned Sparrows at the White Bluff access
road intersection.

Golden-crowned Sparrow – 3/20, at the White Bluffs boat ramp locust grove.
I did not see it but several others including Jim Danzenbaker did. Probably
a wintering bird as migrants through Columbia NWR were typically a month or
more later in the spring. There was a Fox Sparrow at the same location last
year.



Enough already!



Randy Hill

Ridgefield







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