[Tweeters] Sandhill Cranes, Columbia NWR area

walter walter.szeliga at gmail.com
Sun Mar 10 19:43:50 PDT 2013

Dear Tweeters,
I followed up on some of the recent Sandhill Crane reports from Grant county today (3/10), just hoping to spot some. The fields in the NE corner of the Adams Rd. and Frenchman Hills Rd intersection held a group of about 25 Sandhill Cranes and some Canada Geese. Farther east on Frenchman Hills Rd. at Birders Corner (NW corner of Dodson Rd. and Frenchman Hills Rd.) there were noisy Marsh Wrens and a great selection of waterfowl including Tundra Swans, Canvasback and Gadwall.

Continuing on to Potholes Reservoir, I found FOY Tree and Cliff Swallows, and heard what sounded like Tricolored Blackbirds (and definite Red-winged Blackbirds) on the north side of the river immediately north of the rental cabins. This area did not appear easily accessible by foot, and I was unable to see any definite Tricolored Blackbirds in the scope. Other highlights included Marsh and Bewick's Wrens and a singing(!) Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Continuing south from Potholes Reservoir along on H Rd., I found a large flock of Sandhill Cranes in the fields at the intersection of H Rd. and I Rd./Rd. 9. This flock numbered about 500 birds and was quite noisy and active. Many individuals were flying over the ridge and down towards Upper Goose Lake (and returning).

Most of the actual Columbia NWR was still signed as closed to public access, and singing Rock Wrens were about the only bird along the roads. I finished the day up with a water pump failure while climbing Ryegrass Summit; good thing I live in Eburg!

Walter Szeliga
Ellensburg, WA

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