[Tweeters] Re: Thoughts on Skamania County Jay and Lewis's Woodpecker migration

Bob Hansen bobhansen at gorge.net
Fri Sep 29 15:36:45 PDT 2017

Wilson and others,

I have observed this Fall jay migration on at least two separate times and places in Klickitat County.

The first observation by Stuart Johnston and I being in the Fall about 5 to 10 years ago along Old Highway 8 near my Lyle home. … with the Stellar's Jays flying singularly west to east about 100 meters apart. In many, if not most or all cases, stopping at the same trees about 100-200 meters apart. In other words.. it was not a continuous flight pattern, but an intermittent one.

The second observation of this phenomena was with Jan Bragg along Rock Creek Road in east-central Klickitat County on this year’s September 16th Fall Migration Count. This time it was a mixed flock of Stellar’s and California Scrub-Jays… It seems to me the Stellar’s Jays out numbered the California Scrub-Jays two or three to one. There were also Lewis’s Woodpeckers in the area, but I don’t think we associated them with the jay migration phenomena. This section of Rock Creek is mostly north-south and the jays were flying/migrating from south to north.

I am not sure how many birds were involved in either case,,, as I am not sure we were there when they migration started and I am not sure we waited until it abated. I think I have I also observed smaller versions of the same phenomena… but they were orders of magnitude less.

Hope this helps,

> On Sep 29, 2017, at 1:49 PM, Wilson Cady <gorgebirds at juno.com> wrote:



> After looking at the recent reports from three different days at the St. Cloud Recreation Area in Skamania County, I decided to voice some thoughts on the amazing movement of jays and Lewis's Woodpeckers seen there. The reports came from Sept. 24, 26, and 27th when a total of 87 LEWIS'S WOODPECKERS, 1,226 STELLER'S JAYS, and 230 CALIFORNIA SCRUB-JAYS were counted flying east up the Columbia River Gorge. I have seen migrant flocks of Steller's Jays in several spots including at our place in Skamania County and Vancouver Lake, but never in the numbers at St. Cloud. I cannot attribute the jay movement to the still smoldering fires in the Columbia Gorge, as in one hour on Oct. 1, 2015, Les Carlson and I counted 336 Steller's Jays flying east over St. Cloud. The strange thing is that these migrant birds are always silent, I only heard a couple of Scrub-Jays chattering at St. Cloud but they might be a resident pair. I have no idea where these birds are coming from, the Steller's Jays could be from anywhere, but my question is where are all of the Scrub-Jays and Lewis's Woodpeckers coming from? Since that is a lot of Scrub-Jays for Washington and Lewis's Woodpeckers are rare in Western Washington, I can only surmise that they are coming north up the Willamette Valley and then perhaps up the Gorge to the oak forests around Klickitat and Hood River Counties. And as the woodpeckers are traveling with the jays I would assume that the other jays are also coming from the south. I need to find out what the acorn crop is like up there this year and if that might be drawing them. Does anyone else have any ideas or opinions on this movement of birds?



> Wilson Cady

> Columbia River Gorge, WA

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