[Tweeters] SAS field trip to Umtanum Creek

Tiffany Linbo tiffany.linbo at gmail.com
Sun Jun 9 20:05:30 PDT 2013

Hi Tweeters,
On Saturday June 8th, Mark Wolff and I lead 8 wonderfully enthusiastic birders on the Umtanum Creek trail. We enjoyed perfect weather, great birds and wildlife, beautiful scenery, the sweet fragrance of blooming mock orange and Nootka rose, and each other's delightful birding company. The stars of the canyon were the abundant singing Lazuli Buntings and Yellow-breasted Chats. Everyone got great views of both. The group also had nice views of nestling Prairie Falcons in the two nests along the trail. The first nest, located near the beginning of the trailhead, had three nestlings, while the second nest (roughly two miles up the trail) had two. Both sets of nestlings were still covered in some down.

Surprisingly the canyon was almost void of warbler song. During our scouting trip just the week before (on June 2nd), however, we heard singing Wilson's, Black-throated Gray, Orange-crowned, Townsend's, and Yellow Warblers. Also surprising was the absence of snakes, which were numerous just one week before. An unfortunate find on Saturday was the loss of a potential Lewis's Woodpecker nest. The snag had fallen some time between our scouting trip and the field trip. We found the pair of woodpeckers still near the fallen snag. Hopefully they will find a new home this season.

We had the fortune of running into Neil Zimmerman who pointed out three male Big Horned Sheep on the canyon rim. Other mammals seen were a Yellow-bellied Marmot and several Rock Squirrels.

After our hike, we stopped at Big Pine Campground (located south of Umtanum) to check out Neil's tip on Common Nighthawks. We found a dozen or so nighthawks wheeling over the pines and the river. Not as many as Neil originally saw, but still a great sight. Also present of note were several Western Kingbirds and a pair of Bullock's Orioles.

All in all a great day spent in a beautiful area. Between Umtanum Creek and Big Pine, we saw 44 species; list follows.

Turkey Vulture – U, 1
Northern Harrier – U, 1 male
Red-tailed Hawk – U, 3
Rock Pigeon – U, 2
Common Nighthawk – U, 1; B, 12
White-throated Swift – U, 4; B, 4
Belted Kingfisher – U, 2
Lewis's Woodpecker – U, 2
Downy Woodpecker – U, 2
Northern Flicker - U
American Kestrel – U, 2
Prairie Falcon – U, 2 nests, 5 nestlings total, 3 adults
Olive-sided Flycatcher - U
Western Wood-Pewee – U and B
Say's Phoebe – U, 1
Western Kingbird – U, 1 overhead
Warbling Vireo – U, singing
Steller's Jay - U
Black-billed Magpie - U
Common Raven – U, heard
Northern Rough-winged Swallow - U
Violet-green Swallow - U
Barn Swallow - U
Black-capped Chickadee – U, heard
Rock Wren – U, heard and seen
Canyon Wren – U, heard
House Wren – U, heard
Bewick's Wren – U, 2
American Robin - U, 1 nesting
European Starling - U
Cedar Waxwing - U
Black-throated Gray Warbler – U, 1 heard
Wilson's Warbler – U, 1 heard
Yellow-breasted Chat – U, many singing
Spotted Towhee - U
Song Sparrow - U
Black-headed Grosbeak – U, many singing
Lazuli Bunting – U, many singing
Brewer’s Blackbird – B
Brown-headed Cowbird - U
Bullock’s Oriole – 1 at B
House Finch – U, B
American Goldfinch – U

U=Umtanum; B=Big Pine

Tiffany Linbo
Mountlake Terrace, WA

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