[Tweeters] INLAND rarities

Jeffrey Bryant jbryant_68 at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 26 21:37:00 PDT 2013

Finally adding Elegant Tern, plus the fantastic surprise Smith's Longspur, to my state list this weekend left me hungry for more, so I decided to go for two more today.  Set the alarm for 3AM, and arrived at Cape Horn Trail by 6:30.  Had breathtaking views of the Hooded Warbler by 7:15.  He was NOT singing this early, but his piercing chipping was enough to direct my attention to his perch in a Bigleaf Maple only about 10' off the ground.  He was in the same location previously described, just about thirty paces above the last switchback before the wooden steps.  This is the "new" switchback, with branches obviously pegged into place to shore it up until the newly planted mahonias and sword ferns send out enough roots to do the job.  Also in that patch of woods were several Western Tanagers and a decent fallout of Swainson's Thrushes.  I saw/heard at LEAST a dozen on the short walk to the HOWA site.
After several stops, at 12:30 I reached Lee & Linda Williams' chestnut grove.  Had a nice chat with Lee, who surprised me when he said he'd only counted about 60 pewee-hunters.  He also said that the granting of permission for access isn't really necessary, though of course it's just good manners.  If it appears nobody's home, he may just be napping like today--just go find the bird.  He's not tired of us yet.  Don't worry about the dog, who is as friendly as Lee.  Yes, the bird is still there.  Lee says nobody's gone away disappointed yet!
Directly below the orchard, possibly even visible from it, a (previously reported, I think) Marbled Godwit fed peacefully at Lind Coulee.  A single Franklin's Gull was seen, but not by me.
A quick stop at Toppenish NWR yielded a swarm of warblers in the willows surrounding the first (hidden) pond beyond the visitor's center and the bridge.  Mostly Townsend's, but also Black-throated Gray and Yellow.  Also Dusky and Willow Flycatchers and LOADS of Gray Catbird.
Best stop between HOWA & EAWP was at Columbia Hills SP, Crawford Oaks entrance, at MP 87 on SR14.  Gate was locked, but a large mixed flock was passing through the oaks directly across the highway.  Highlights were three (!) ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS, one exhibiting begging behavior, making me surmise they'd bred close by.  In the same flock were four Warbling Vireos, several Western Tanagers, a vocal Dusky Flycatcher, and many more expected species.
On the way home, I stopped at Para Ponds, where there is at least one Tricolored Blackbird still around, as well as a nice array of shorebirds including a half-dozen or so RN Phalaropes, one each Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet and Lesser Yellowlegs, several dowitchers too far to ID to species, and a swarm of Western and Least 'pipers.  County Line Ponds are, unfortunately, almost completely dry, with only a few puddles and good mud on the FAR southern edge, which held just a handful of unidentifiable peeps.
Still, proof that the best birding isn't necessarily on the Pacific side this season.
Jeff Bryant
jbryant_68 AT yahoo

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