[Tweeters] Okanogan Highlands and Waterville Plateau scout trip 1/31-2/3

Shep Thorp shepthorp at gmail.com
Mon Feb 4 11:37:11 PST 2013


Hi Tweets,

seven of us enjoyed winter birding this weekend with a mixture of fog,
overcast skies, sunny skies and temperatures in the 20's to 30's degrees
Fahrenheit. We had many wonderful sightings, but had to work hard to find
birds. A huge thank you to the birders who helped me, they were very
patient as we drove/stopped, drove/stopped and drove/stopped some more.

Thursday 1/31: trip over and Waterville Plateau.
LONG-TAILED DUCK female with interesting looking head at Cashmere STP.
GYRFALCON gray morph adult flyover on Sprauer Road NW(8th Road NW) between
F Road NW and SR 172, Waterville Plateau.
SNOW BUNTING and HORNED LARK few in numbers and scantly dispersed east of
Mansfield.
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (10), Waterville Plateau.

The Gyr flew from a farm south of Sprauer Rd, across the road north, then
began soaring. At a distance I initially thought the bird was a Prairie
Falcon. As it approached I could see the axillary feathers were not dark
and thought Red-tailed Hawk. As it flew over the patagium was not dark,
the wings were clearly pointed, and the underside and topside were gray.

Friday 2/1: Okanogan Highlands
GOLDEN EAGLE on Fancher Road.
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK on Havillah Road
NORTHERN PYGMY OWL, PILEATED WOODPECKER, and GREAT HORNED OWL (3) at
Sno-Park.
COMMON REDPOLL (25), PILEATED WOODPECKER, and DOWNY WOODPECKER at Grange
Road home with feeders.
COMMON REDPOLL (50), GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCH COASTAL (GRAY-CHEEKED or
HEPBURN'S) (75) and INTERIOR (GRAY-CROWNED with brown cheek) (10), AMERICAN
GOLDFINCH and DOWNY WOODPECKER at Nealy Road Highland Meadows home with
feeders.
COMMON REDPOLL (100) on Bolster Road.

The folks that live at the homes with feeders on Grange Road and Nealy Road
are very friendly and tolerant of birders. We gave each home owner a bag
of seed to thank them for providing us the opportunity to see these species
at close range. Mary Ann Creek Road and region was unexpectedly slow.

Saturday 2/2: Conconully, Cameron Lake Road, Bridgeport State Park.
SHARP-TAILED GROUSE (7) at Scotch Creek Wildlife Area where Happy Hill Road
meets Conconully Road at 7:30am.
NORTHERN GOSHAWK, PINE GROSBEAK, TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE, CLARK'S NUTCRACKER,
all three nuthatches, EVENING GROSBEAKS, and SLATE-COLORED DARK-EYED JUNCO
walking around Conconully.
Cameron Lake Road was open all the way through, a gorgeous drive, but deep
with snow and slow birding.
NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL (3), GREAT HORNED OWL (2), VARIED THRUSH and expected
waterfowl at Bridgeport State Park.

Conconully was the most active birding we observed over the entire weekend.
Other birders we saw in the area reported seeing Northern Pygmy-Owl in the
area as well.

Sunday 2/3: Washburn Island, Central Ferry Canyon, Bridgeport Bar,
Bridgeport Hill Road, Waterville Plateau, Union Valley Loop Road - Chelan
on the way home.
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (100+), COMMON LOON, RUDDY DUCK, COMMON GOLDENEYE,
BUFFLEHEAD, GREATER/LESSER SCAUP, HORNED GREBE, PIED-BILLED GREBE and fly
over BOHEMIAN WAXWINGS on Washburn Island.
BOHEMIAN WAXWING (1,600), AMERICAN THREE-TOED WOODPECKER, NORTHERN SHRIKE,
VARIED THRUSH, RED CROSSBILLS, and all three varieties of nuthatch at
Central Ferry Canyon.
More sparrows and waterfowl at Bridgeport Bar.
GOLDEN EAGLE (3), ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK (3), RED-TAILED HAWK and NORTHERN
SHRIKE on Bridgeport Hill Road.
More scant HORNED LARK and SNOW BUNTING on Waterville Plateau east of
Mansfield.
NORTHERN HAWK-OWL on Open Road between Sawmill Road and Nancy Road just
north of Union Valley Road, Chelan.

At the entrance of Central Ferry Canyon we witnessed upwards of 2000
Bohemian Waxwing roosting and feeding each other in the Poplar's on the
west side of the road. The birds were flying back and forth in the
hundreds between the Poplars and orchards to the east of the road. Quite a
sight. The upper part of Central Ferry Canyon has been burned in the last
year. The area around Packwood Cemetary has many burned Pine Trees. As
previously reported, we had to work hard to attract a drumming American
Three-toed Woodpecker, but well worth it. Many Red Crossbills were seen.
The Northern Hawk-Owl seen north of Union Valley Loop Rd on the way home
was seen by me and I could not relocate the bird to obtain confirmation
from the other birders with me. I observed a gray raptor the size of a
crow flying west parallel to Open Rd between Sawmill Rd and Nancy Rd. I
saw the bird at 50 feet distance, it flew 20 feet above the ground and was
flushed from a Pine Tree. Gray with white speckling on the back and
underside, the tail was not barred and I observed a facial disc with black
sideburns. Unfortunately, the rump appeared white to me, which is
confusing. The flight pattern was accipiter like and I hope I'm not
confusing this species with Northern Goshawk. I did see the Northern
Hawk-Owl previously reported the previous year for comparison.

I very nice trip overall, we collectively saw 80 species, with the
Gyrfalcon, Sharp-tailed Grouse and Northern Goshawk being the highlights of
our weekend. We missed seeing more game birds, Prairie Falcon, Northern
Pygmy-Owl, Long-eared Owl, American Tree Sparrow, and would have
appreciated relocating the White-winged Crossbills reported previously in
Conconully and better looks at Pine Grosbeaks.

Until next time, good birding!

Shep Thorp
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