[Tweeters] Weekend in Southeast WA [mostly Garfield Co]

Matt Bartels mattxyz at earthlink.net
Mon Jun 24 06:02:29 PDT 2013

I spent an enjoyable weekend in the SE corner of the state, in Columbia, Garfield & Asotin Counties.

Friday 6/21 - Columbia
Friday afternoon Columbia highlights included :
Grasshopper Sparrows along Riveria Rd.
Lesser Goldfinch between the Snake River & Starbuck,
Red-eyed Vireo along Tuccannon River Rd. [ at the last bridge n of Hartsock Grade Rd.],
Lewis's Woodpecker in better numbers than I recall previously around the fish hatchery & small fishing ponds of Tuccannon Rd.
Northern Pygmy-Owl - Patrick Grade Rd.
The Tuccannon KOA hummingbird feeders looked pretty neglected, with only a couple Black-chinned Hummers hanging around.

Saturday, 6/22 - Garfield -
I didn't intend to do a county big day, but it turned out that way -- Garfield's a tough county, and I was pleasantly surprised to find 101 species over the course of a day -

I started at the Deadman Creek/Meadow Creek mouth at Central Ferry -- nice collection of passerines in the Deadman Ck trees, very little on the water. Along Hastings Hill Rd., Grasshopper Sparrows were singing roadside. At the viewpoint where the pavement ends, American White Pelicans, Spotted Sandpipers, Ring-billed & California Gulls, Western Grebe, & a Ring-necked Duck were along the Snake River.

At Lower Granite Dam Rd., I came across the only real 'rarity' of the day -- an American Avocet was hanging out on the small island a mile or so west of the dam. Wawawai Grade Rd. was birdy as usual, with Red-eyed Vireo, Black-chinned Hummingbirds & Lesser Goldfinch being the most notable.

I moved uphill for the afternoon, into Umatilla NF [via Mountain Rd. out of Pomeroy] -- Right away at the Campground, a nice collection of forest birds popped up in the Ponderosa Pines -- Townsend's Solitaire, White-breasted Nuthatch, Williamson's Sapsucker, Pileated Woodpecker, Western Tanager, Yellow-rumped & Townsend's Warbler, Cassin's Finch, Cassin's Vireo and many young Hammond's Flycatchers -- At other stops up high, Dusky Flycatcher, Red Crossbills, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Hermit Thrush, Calliope Hummingbird and others showed. Near Sunset Point, a female Am. Three-toed Woodpecker was my best bird of the afternoon.

Pataha Creek Rd in the evening was productive, with Veery & Swainson's Thrush, Cordilleran Flycatcher, MacGillivray's & Orange-crowned Warbler, & Pacific Wren. I rounded the day off along Peola/Iron Springs Rd., where Vesper's & Savannah Sparrows, Pygmy Nuthatch, and a Common Nighthawk were the last birds of the day.

Sunday 6/23 - Asotin -
Not too much to report from Sunday -- I visited Swallows Park in Clarkston twice, hoping to see the recently reported Cinnamon Teal -- no luck on the teal, but an American Avocet was present both in the morning and afternoon -- Field Springs State Park had very cooperative Pacific Wren , Pileated Woodpecker & typical forest birds. I headed down to the Grand Ronde River, where as promised [in the ABA Guide] the riparian patches were full of Red-eyed Vireos singing away -- Yellow-breasted Chats, Lesser Goldfinch and Laz Buntings kept things loud. Before heading back towards Seattle, I made a stop up at the Wenatchee Guard Station area in the Blue Mountains, hoping for Asotin Green-tailed Towhee -- No luck on the towhees -- has anyone seen them at this spot in recent years?

Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA

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