[Tweeters] E WA highlights--Eurasian Wigeons, Mew Gull, Lesser Goldfinch

plkoyama at comcast.net plkoyama at comcast.net
Sun Mar 24 19:52:02 PDT 2013

Tweets and especially County Compilers,
David and I had two tasks in E WA this past week—picking up winter waterfowl in Ferry Co and attending his aunt’s 104th birthday celebration in the Tri-Cities. Here are some of the “good” birds we saw on this lengthy meander, which included nights in Coulee Dam, Colville, Walla Walla, and Pasco:

Lincoln County (3/20) on our way to the Keller Ferry, 4 Snow Geese (Code 3) with a large flock of Canada Geese in a farm field near the intersection on Hwy 21, just past the turn off of Hwy 124.
Ferry Co (3/21) on Hwy 21 south of Keller—Horned Grebe (Code 3) in the river not too long after disembarking from the Keller ferry; and Northern Shrike (Code 3) further north on the highway; 2 Eurasian Wigeon males (Code 5, and we don’t even try to i.d. female EUWIs) on Lake Roosevelt at the intersection of the Inchelium Hwy & Barnaby Creek Rd.; 22 Tundra Swans (Code 3) on Lake Roosevelt a few hundred yards north of the previous intersection; and a cooperative Code 3 Merlin perched on a Haag Cove Rd light pole at Sherman Shop Rd.--It was there both coming and going from the campground.
Stevens Co (3/22) 2 Eurasian Wigeons on the farm road north of the Colville Tx Plant, mixed with a large flock of N. Pintails and Am. Wigeons.
Columbia County (3/22) At Little Goose Dam, there was a flock of 5 Horned Grebes (Code 3) and a couple of solos HOGRs on the water; on logs at the east side of the dam was one Mew Gull (Code 5) with a couple of Ring-billed and Herring Gulls; and at the Visitor Center there were 2 Lesser Goldfinch (code 5), sometimes with the American Goldfinch flock, and sometimes just the pair. (I was first attracted by their different song, but thanks to Rick and Tina Taylor for their earlier report or I’m not sure I would have entertained this possibility!) And following the Taylor’s route, for the first time we drove back out to Hwy 261 via Riviera Rd, where, like the Ts, we encountered a finch flock, mostly Cassin’s, a couple of House, later joined by Lesser (at least 10) and American Goldfinches!

All in all, though (except for the Lesser Goldfinches, which were a thrill) my favorite birds were the code 1 Clark’s Nutcrackers on Silver Creek Road in Ferry Co. feeding on the ground with the robins, looking sort of like big security guards, and the breathtakingly beautiful flock of Mountain Bluebirds in Columbia Co. at the bottom of Riviera Rd. Kudos to the ranchers (we guess) who tied blue fabric and ribbons onto the barbed wire—does that really work? I guess so... And Aunt Mary looked great, waving to all as if on a parade float!
Penny Koyama, Bothell
plkoyama at comcast dot net

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