[Tweeters] WOS Kittitas Sage trip 3/29/16
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Tue Mar 29 20:17:19 PDT 2016
WOS took a trip over to Kittitas Co. today to look for Sage birds. We
started out the day under clear skies, a bit chilly in Issaquah with
AMERICAN ROBIN, SONG SPARROW, AMERICAN CROW and MALLARD. It was a really
quiet drive over the Pass with no birds. At Snoqualmie Pass we had a couple
of AMERICAN CROWS and that was it. Very different. The temperature had
dropped to 30F.
Really slow birding down the east slope, with only a single RED-TAILED HAWK
near CLE ELU . Once we got almost to Ellensburg we did pick up a few
CANADA GEESE, MALLARD, and a single OSPREY. A couple more RED-TAILED HAWKs.
At a quick stop in Kittitas gas station we saw BREWER'S BLACKBIRDs, EUROPEAN
STARLINGs, and HOUSE SPARROWs. Just coming into town there were two EURASIAN
COLLARED-DOVEs. The temperature was all the way up to 40F. Leaving town a
field was covered with AMERICAN ROBINs, probably 200-250, lots more HOUSE
SPARROWs. A RED-TAILED HAWK was in a snag. Very quiet along Caribou Rd.
Along Vantage Hwy we picked up an AMERICAN KESTREL, some more starlings.
Turning down Parke Creek Rd. with the wind speed up to 10-20 mph, we saw
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDs, MALLARDs, BUFFLEHEAD and HOUSE SPARROW at the pond.
Along Vantage Hwy we had very unsatisfactory looks at WESTERN BLUEBIRD. At
the Iron Horse wind field we heard a distant SAGE THRASHER, a probable
BREWER'S SPARROW, and great looks at a pair of MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS.
At the lower Quilomene stop, there was another distant SAGE THRASHER that
gave quick views. Walking back to the cars we actually heard a SAGE THRASHER
nicely and saw it fly. The strong wind, and gusts really kept the birds
down. Down the road, we stopped at the basalt cliffs and saw a GREAT HORNED
OWL on the nest, and heard a couple of distant WESTERN MEADOWLARKs.
At the Grant Co. PUD facility at the end of Recreation Rd. we saw SAY'S
PHOEBE, HOUSE FINCH, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, and on the Columbia River a
group of GREATER SCAUP, with a single LESSER SCAUP, a HORNED GREBE, a COMMON
GOLDENEYE, a couple of COMMON LOONs and a few RING-BILLED GULLs. Some
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWs were overhead - we were protected from the north wind
here (quite nice). Two CALIFORNIA QUAIL ran across the picnic area. Up at
the Visitors Center the SAY'S PHOEBE are back on the nest, and we had an
We went down Huntsinger Rd., seeing another AMERICAN KESTREL, and stopped at
Wanapum State Park. We had AUDUBON-type YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLE and a
MYRTLE-type YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER. A KILLDEER flew way calling and we saw a
single CASSIN'S FINCH. Below Wanapum Dam we saw a huge flock of scaup
(likely mostly GREATER) but the light was terrible for identification. A
couple of COMMON GOLDENEYE, and two pair of BARROW'S GOLDENEYE.
At the inlet canyon a ways down the road we managed to see, and hear, a ROCK
WREN (although at a distance). More VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWs were overhead and
one NORTHEN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW. In the scaup flock was a female COMMON
Returning toward Ellensburg, we turned on Hwy 97, up to Bettas Rd. - another
pair of unidentified Bluebirds. Burke Rd. didn't yield it usual American
Dipper, so we moved on to Swauk Prairie. We had a nice pair of WESTERN
BLUBIRDS, some DARK-EYED JUNCOs, and further down the road incredible looks
at MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD.
We worked our way north to Cle Elum and the Railroad Ponds - CANADA GEESE,
very nice looking RING-NECKED DUCK, TREE SWALLOW, MALLARD, and PYGMY
We finished out the day at the river crossing on Bullfrog Rd. with two
Other birds seen today included GREAT BLUE HERON, NORTHERN HARRIER, ROCK
PIGEON, BELTED KINGFISHER, BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE, a number of COMMON RAVENs,
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, SPOTTED TOWHEE, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW.
A total of 52 species on a very windy day.
A good day (in spite of the wind) with good birders.
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