[Tweeters] Eastside Audubon trip to Kittitas sage
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Mon Mar 20 10:01:58 PDT 2017
On Saturday, Eastside Audubon took a trip out to Kittitas County for sage
birds. As has been all too frequent lately the day started out in Issaquah
with rain, but we did pick up SONG SPARROW and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD in the
P&R. It rained all the way up to Snoqualmie Pass, with lots of snow piled
up, where we did pick up AMERICAN CROW.
We finally ran out of rain just before Easton and saw a couple of COMMON
RAVENs just before we ran into fog. Coming down into Cle Elum we had three
CANADA GEESE fly over and some more AMERICAN CROWs. Around Thorp we picked
up our first BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE and a RED-TAILED HAWK and then ran into
more fog. Came into the clear just before Ellensburg and saw a GREAT BLUE
HERON. Along the way east of Ellensburg we saw more RED-TAILED HAWKs.
In Kittitas we had EUROPEAN STARLING, HOUSE SPARROW, ROCK PIGEON, more
AMERICAN CROWs and a bunch of EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVEs. Along Caribou Rd. we
saw DARK-EYED JUNCO, EUROPEAN STARLING, EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, and TREE
SWALLOW. On Vantage Highway we saw AMERICAN CROW, RED-TAILED HAWK,
BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD. At the pond on Parke Creek Rd. we
picked up RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, COMMON MERGANSER,
CALIFORNIA QUAIL and BUFFLEHEAD.
Continuing east on Vantage Highway we saw WESTERN MEADOWLARK. We were
congratulating ourselves on a lack of wind when we stopped at the entrance
to Wild Horse wind project to look for Sage birds. We stepped out of the
cars into high winds (all too frequent here). We did manage to pull up a
SAGEBRUSH SPARROW that perched about 15 feet away and sang for us. It then
flew a bit further away and perched again and we got nice scope views. We
moved on down to the Lower Quilomene area with even higher speed winds (at
least 25 mph steady and probably 30 mph gusts) - often difficult to stand.
We thought we might have heard some distant birds but because of the wind
could not focus in on them. A small bird did fly in and land and it turned
out to be a HORNED LARK. A couple of COMMON RAVENs circulated further up the
By the time we got down to Recreation Rd. the wind had stopped and we walked
a ways up Rocky Coulee and saw SAY'S PHOEBE, AMERICAN ROBIN, DARK-EYED JUNCO
and had a large flock of VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWs overhead. Down at the
Columbia River we saw HORNED GREBE, some distant scaup. Up at the Gingko
Petrified State Park overlook we took advantage of the lack of wind to have
lunch. While there we saw more SAY'S PHOEBEs and HOUSE FINCH. Walking over
to the overlook we saw a group of sleeping RUDDY DUCKs and a larger group of
AMERICAN COOTs, three BALD EAGLEs over the river harassed a GOLDEN EAGLE.
The wind then arrived and was with us for the rest of the day.
On the way down Huntsinger Rd. we flushed an AMERICAN KESTREL, made a quick
circle thru Wanapam State Park and saw two KILLDEER. At the Cove we had
MALLARD, BUFFLEHEAD. COMMON GOLDENEYE and BUFFLEHEAD were near Wanapam Dam
as were two COMMON LOON. At the Wanapam Dam boat launch below the dam we was
a large (perhaps 200) group on COMMON and BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, some more
BUFFLEHEAD and GREATER SCAUP and LESSER SCAUP. On the river was a COMMON
LOON and a RING-BILLED GULL flew by. We stopped at the side canyon and
listened for possible Rock Wren with no luck, but had MERLIN fly by up by
the ridge. A BALD EAGLE flew down the river and we saw a RED-BREASTED
MERGANSER. VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWs were overhead. We made a stop at the rock
pile below the dam and picked up a pair of ROCK WRENs (nice looks) and a
On the way home we drove up SR10 thru the canyon and stopped at the Teanaway
River. The river is extremely high and we had no joy looking for American
Dipper. As we started on toward Cle Elum, in the pond by the side of the
road we had RING-NECKED DUCK and a pair of WOOD DUCKs.
During the day we also had NORTHERN FLICKER and BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE.
On the way back over Snoqualmie Pass we had snow - rounding out our typical
It was a good day in spite of the weather and very windy conditions.
Brian H. Bell
mail to bell asoc a t iso media dot com
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