[Tweeters] WOS Vantage trip 6 March 2013
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Wed Mar 6 19:48:27 PST 2013
A group of WOS members ventured out to Vantage today. It was a most unusual trip - it was overcast to start with and when we got to Snoqualmie Pass it started snowing. The snow lasted until just before the Columbia River and the temperature was about 32 to 34 all the way. In addition, all of the area from Cle Elum eastward that had been clear on Saturday was covered in 1-3 inches of snow.
As we passed Cle Elum we had COMMON MERGANSERs on the ponds, and further east we had TUNDRA SWANs.
We had both MOURNING and EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVEs, HOUSE SPARROWs, HOUSE FINCHEs and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDs in Kittitas. The snow was just heavy enough that we couldn't see more than about 30 feet, so didn't see anything going up Caribou Rd.
On the old Vantage Highway we had a couple of pairs of AMERICAN KESTRELs, BLACK-BILLED MAGPIEs, and EUROPEAN STARLINGs. Down Parke Creek Rd. we had a single COMMON GOLDENEYE. A couple of KILLDEER were in one of the fields along the road.
Back on Vantage Highway we had a brief look at a MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD before it flew off into the sage. When we made our attempt at finding sage birds, between the snow, and the cold temps we got no responses.
Scanning the Columbia River we saw COMMON GOLDENEYE, GREATER SCAUP, BUFFLEHEAD, HORNED GREBE, and RUDDY DUCK. Below Wanapum Dam we had four COMMON LOONs, a bunch of VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWs, on a light pole on the dam there was a GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL. Down Huntzinger Rd. we had several AMERICAN KESTRELs, two SAYS PHOEBEs doing displays, and still more goldeneyes.
We were running ahead of schedule, so had an opportunity to drive some of the back roads around Ellensburg - Fairview, Rader, Wilson Creek, Brick Mill, Look and Hungry Junction Roads. We hit the jackpot on raptors with probably 20-25 RED-TAILED HAWKs (including one very dark morph), 6-7 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKs (including a dark morph), a bunch of BALD EAGLEs, an AMERICAN KESTREL, and in a nest south of Hungry Junction Rd. a GREAT HORNED OWL. Along Fairview we had several hundred MALLARDs and a huge (several hundred) flock of blackbirds including RED-WINGED and BREWER'S.
We pushed on to Red Bridge Rd, outside of Cle Elum, and while we dipped on the dipper we did have several BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEEs.
Other birds we saw included CANADA GOOSE, CALIFORNIA QUAIL, RING-NECKED PHEASANT, PIED-BILLED GREBE, GREAT BLUE HERON, ROCK PIGEON, BELTED KINGFISHER, NORTHERN FLICKER, AMERICAN CROW, COMMON RAVEN, PACIFIC WREN (in the parking lot where we met), AMERICAN ROBIN, VARIED THRUSH (also at the parking lot), SPOTTED TOWHEE, SONG SPARROW, DARK-EYED JUNCO.
A good group of folks, and in spite of the weather it was a good day.
Brian H. Bell
mail to bell asoc at iso media dot com
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