[Tweeters] Wallowas weekend (pre-Little Bunting); Benton Co (WA) Snowy Owl

Stephen Shunk steve at paradisebirding.com
Tue Jan 29 11:12:12 PST 2013

Hello all,
I just completed a weekend in Wallowa County and am happy to share my
report from an excellent trip, although it's a little anti-climactic with a
mega-rarity being found the day after we left! Of course, the most
frustrating part is that we probably drove right by the house where the
Little Bunting was found and it escaped our detection. Anyway, we had a
productive weekend, with some excellent birds, so here goes.

For the Tweeters folks, I'll start with the SNOWY OWL. Thanks to a tip from
MerryLynn Denny, we crossed the border (no passports required) into Benton
County, WA, and drove right to 9 Canyon Rd, east of I-82. We found a SNOWY
OWL less than 100m north of the road between the Mills Rd and Upper Blair
Rd junctions. It was a bit eerie out there, with the clouds hanging very
low and the massive wind turbines overhead, but the bird was no less
stunning and it sat in the field while we enjoyed its presence. We saw
numerous HORNED LARKS on the access roads, but not much else.

As for Wallowa County, we found most of our target birds, missing only
Gyrfalcon and Snow Bunting. Here are the highlights:

The most unexpected bird was a female EURASIAN WIGEON at Pete's Pond in
Enterprise. We also added CANVASBACK to our trip list there, with a pair
present, and two of my group had never seen a MUTE SWAN, so it was enjoyed
despite its non-wild provenance. We saw a number of COMMON MERGANSERS

Stephen Shunk
Paradise Birding
P.O. Box 547
Sisters, OR 97759
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