[Tweeters] Vantage and Othello area

Neil and Carleen Zimmerman n3zims at comcast.net
Sun Mar 31 19:43:14 PDT 2013

Hello Tweeters,
My wife, Carleen, and I headed east this weekend in search of Sandhill Cranes and such. We started down the old Vantage highway on Saturday morning. We saw several pairs of Mountain Bluebirds along the way. At the entrance to the Wild Horse Wind Facility we found 3 Sage Thrashers. One was singing non stop. I think he went through his whole repertoire. We also had a Say's Phoebe and a couple of White-crowned Sparrows in the sage.
At the Ginko State Park overlook, we were met by two very vocal Rock Wrens. The expected Say's Phoebe was flitting around. Violet-green Swallows were soaring along the cliffs. Three Yellow-rumped Warblers were keeping a single Eurasian-collared Dove company. We stopped by the sewage ponds by the rest area near Dodson Road. There were a few ducks and we saw our first of the day, Blacked-necked Stilts. We headed down Dodson Road to the intersection with Frenchman Hills Rd. The ponds held a lot of waterfowl, the highlights being Cinnamon Teal, Canvasbacks and more vocal stilts. As we were parked in the small parking area, hundreds of Sandhill Cranes were soaring up to the west of us to catch the thermals and heading east. We loved hearing them call as they passed overhead.
Next stop was Marsh Unit 1 in the Columbia NWR. As we headed to the overlook, we again saw hundreds of cranes soaring by and calling. They were heading toward the marsh area. At the overlook, we could see several thousand cranes loafing. Hundreds of ducks, a couple of swans and more stilts were hanging with them.
We spent the rest of the day poking around the Othello area. Around dusk we found thousands of Cacking Geese at the county line ponds and just east of Royal Lake. We also found 6 Long-billed Curlews in a couple of different fields.
The weather was exceptional. A very good birdy weekend. Any thought about heading over east to the Othello area will be rewarded.

Neil Zimmerman
Brier, WA

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