[Tweeters] WA State Big Day Report

Matt Bartels mattxyz at earthlink.net
Sun May 19 11:46:37 PDT 2013


Yesterday [May 18, 2013], Michael Hobbs, Sharon Cormier-Aagaard and I held our second annual Washington State Big Day, setting out to see how many species we could find in the state in one 24-hr period. We had a blast, and turned up a ton of great birds.

The weather was overcast, cool & somewhat windy for much of the day -- but the rain was largely confined to periods when we were driving. Although the birds are out there, the cool weather and wind seemed to keep some of the key stops relatively quiet -- We ended the day with 162 species on our tally, not as good as last year's 175 total and well below what is possible for a crazy day like this. We know of at least two other groups out there yesterday also holding big days and look forward to hearing how their trips went.

Our route began at midnight in Ellensburg, took us over Umptanum Rd to Wenas Campground and then through Yakima and out past Toppenish to the sage area off SR 97. Then came sunrise. In daylight, we worked our way though Toppenish NWR, then headed up hill on US 12, stopping at Bear Canyon, Bethel Ridge, the Rimrock Lake area, across White Pass to various stops in Lewis County including Rainbow Falls State Park. Our day ended at the coast, working through Willapa Bay, Tokeland and Westport as the light faded.

Highlights:
Night birding was great this year, despite winds -- we learned that Sage Thrashers sing all night and encountered them, along with Brewer's Sparrows and many Common Poorwills on Durr Road and Umptanum Road to begin our day. An unidentified owl wandered by, leaving us thinking Short-eared, but unsure. At Wenas Campground, we headed up Dry Creek Road and were able to hear Flammulated Owl tooting in the pines. We heard Great Horned Owls [and Chat] at Hardy Canyon, a Barn Owl at Valley Mall Blvd in Yakima, then headed southeast to Toppenish and the hills beyond it --

As the daylight began, we found most of the sage species along Tule Road, including Gray Partridge, Loggerhead Shrike, Sage, Grasshopper, Vesper Sparrow and Horned Lark. A couple Long-billed Curlews calling in the distance was a fun extra for the stop.

Toppenish NWR was good, but not as birdy as usual -- the Headquarters area was particularly quiet, and the water levels are low enough that finding water birds was tough -- nevertheless, we picked up Virginia Rail, Sora, Black-necked Stilt , Spotted Sandpiper, Cinnamon Teal, American Bittern , Great Egret, a dark Swainson's Hawk, and our highlight of the morning, 2 male Bobolinks on Lateral C Road.

The wind was blowing hard at Bear Canyon, our main stop on US 12 where we hoped to really load up on canyon/riparian birds -- We eeked out Calliope Hummingbird, Dusky Flycatcher, Townsend's Solitaire, Western Tanager and Nashville Warbler, but not much else.

Moving up to Bethel Ridge & Rimrock Lake, I think it was luck [and limited time for scouting] that led to a rather weak woodpecker run -- in place of dreamed of specialties like Williamson's Sapsucker, Black-backed, Three-toed or White-headed Woodpecker, we were only able to find Downy, Hairy, Northern Flicker, Red-naped & Red-breasted Sapsuckers.

Just east of White Pass, a quick stop produced Slate-colored Fox Sparrow, along with Hermit & Varied Thrush, and our first chickadees of the day [Chestnut-backed].

We crossed the pass at 1:30, with 116 species, only 4 behind our total last year at that point.

Outside Randle, on FR 25, we added a few westside birds like Pacific Wren & Pac-slope Flycatcher. Rainbow Falls State Park, where we ran across one of the other Big Day teams, had great looks at Hermit Warbler, along with Swainson's Thrush.

On Peters Road, we added Wood Duck at the marsh, then Black Swifts over head.

Our final stretch, along the coast, produced a lot of fun late additions to the day including a big flock of Brant in Willapa Bay, Short-billed Dowitchers, Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit, Dunlin, & Least Sandpipers at Tokeland Marina, with Black-bellied & Semipalmated Plovers at Graveyard Spit. Tokeland, in the last bits of daylight held cormorants, Pigeon Guillemot & Rhino Auklets, & Brown Pelicans.

Notable misses for our day beyond the specialty woodpeckers include: Bufflehead, Hooded or Common Merganser, any grebe except Pied-billed, Western Screech-Owl, Bushtit, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Orange-crowned Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Lark Sparrow, & Red Crossbill.

A long drive home, and by 1:00am, after almost 27 hours up, it was bedtime.

Here's our tally for the day:
1. Brant, Willapa Bay, Pacific County

2. Canada Goose, Toppenish, Yakima County

3. Wood Duck, Peters Road, Lewis County

4. Gadwall, Toppenish, Yakima County

5. American Wigeon, Clear Lake, Yakima County

6. Mallard, Toppenish, Yakima County

7. Cinnamon Teal, Toppenish, Yakima County

8. Northern Shoveler, Toppenish, Yakima County

9. Northern Pintail, Toppenish, Yakima County

10. Green-winged Teal, Tieton Airport Marsh, Yakima County

11. Ring-necked Duck, Tieton Airport Marsh, Yakima County

12. Greater Scaup, Tokeland Marina, Pacific County

13. Surf Scoter, North Cove, Pacific County

14. Barrow's Goldeneye, Clear Lake, Yakima County

15. Red-breasted Merganser, Tokeland Marina, Pacific County

16. California Quail, BIA 148, Yakima County

17. Gray Partridge, Tule Road, Yakima County

18. Ring-necked Pheasant, Toppenish, Yakima County

19. Common Loon, Tokeland Marina, Pacific County

20. Pied-billed Grebe, Toppenish, Yakima County

21. Brandt's Cormorant, Westport Jetty, Pacific County

22. Double-crested Cormorant, Tokeland Marina, Pacific County

23. Pelagic Cormorant, North Cove, Pacific County

24. Brown Pelican, Westport Jetty, Pacific County

25. American Bittern, Toppenish, Yakima County

26. Great Blue Heron, Toppenish, Yakima County

27. Great Egret, Toppenish, Yakima County

28. Turkey Vulture, Toppenish, Yakima County

29. Osprey, Toppenish, Yakima County

30. Bald Eagle, Toppenish, Yakima County

31. Northern Harrier, Toppenish, Yakima County

32. Accipiter sp., Toppenish, Yakima County

33. Swainson's Hawk, Toppenish, Yakima County

34. Red-tailed Hawk, Toppenish, Yakima County

35. Virginia Rail, Toppenish, Yakima County

36. Sora, Toppenish, Yakima County

37. American Coot, Tieton Airport Marsh, Yakima County

38. Black-bellied Plover, Tokeland Graveyard Spit, Pacific County

39. Semipalmated Plover, Tokeland Graveyard Spit, Pacific County

40. Killdeer, Valley Mall Blvd. Costco Pond, Yakima County

41. Black-necked Stilt, Toppenish, Yakima County

42. Spotted Sandpiper, Toppenish, Yakima County

43. Whimbrel, Tokeland Marina, Pacific County

44. Long-billed Curlew, Tule Road, Yakima County

45. Marbled Godwit, Tokeland Marina, Pacific County

46. Western Sandpiper, Tokeland Graveyard Spit, Pacific County

47. Least Sandpiper, Tokeland Marina, Pacific County

48. Dunlin, Tokeland Marina, Pacific County

49. Short-billed Dowitcher, Tokeland Marina, Pacific County

50. Wilson's Snipe, Toppenish, Yakima County

51. Mew Gull, Westport Jetty, Pacific County

52. Ring-billed Gull, Tokeland Marina, Pacific County

53. Western Gull, Tokeland Marina, Pacific County

54. California Gull, Tokeland Marina, Pacific County

55. Glaucous-winged Gull, Tokeland Marina, Pacific County

56. Caspian Tern, Willapa Bay, Pacific County

57. Pigeon Guillemot, Westport Jetty, Pacific County

58. Rhinoceros Auklet, Westport Jetty, Pacific County

59. Rock Pigeon, Toppenish, Yakima County

60. Band-tailed Pigeon, Peters Road, Lewis County

61. Eurasian Collared-Dove, Toppenish, Yakima County

62. Mourning Dove, BIA 148, Yakima County

63. Barn Owl, Valley Mall Blvd. Costco Pond, Yakima County

64. Flammulated Owl, Wenas Campground Dry Creek, Yakima County

65. Great Horned Owl, Hardy Canyon, Yakima County

66. Common Poorwill, Durr Road, Kittitas County

67. Black Swift, Peters Road, Lewis County

68. Vaux's Swift, Bear Creek Canyon, Yakima County

69. White-throated Swift, US 12 x SR 410, Yakima County

70. Anna's Hummingbird, Mayfield home, Lewis County

71. Rufous Hummingbird, Packwood Gas Station, Lewis County

72. Calliope Hummingbird, Bear Creek Canyon, Yakima County

73. Belted Kingfisher, Toppenish, Yakima County

74. Lewis's Woodpecker, Oak Creek Wildlife Area, Yakima County

75. Red-naped Sapsucker, Bethel Ridge Rd., Yakima County

76. Red-breasted Sapsucker, Tieton Airport Marsh, Yakima County

77. Downy Woodpecker, Bethel Ridge Rd., Yakima County

78. Hairy Woodpecker, Rimrock Lake Rd., Yakima County

79. Northern Flicker, Bethel Ridge Rd., Yakima County

80. Pileated Woodpecker, White Pass, Lewis County, Lewis County

81. American Kestrel, Toppenish, Yakima County

82. Olive-sided Flycatcher, Lebam area, SR 6, Pacific County

83. Western Wood-Pewee, Toppenish, Yakima County

84. Hammond's Flycatcher, Bethel Ridge Rd., Yakima County

85. Dusky Flycatcher, Bear Creek Canyon, Yakima County

86. Pacific-slope Flycatcher, FR 25, Randle, Lewis County

87. Say's Phoebe, BIA 148, Yakima County

88. Western Kingbird, Toppenish, Yakima County

89. Loggerhead Shrike, Tule Road, Yakima County

90. Cassin's Vireo, Bethel Ridge Rd., Yakima County

91. Warbling Vireo, Bethel Ridge Rd., Yakima County

92. Steller's Jay, Bear Creek Canyon, Yakima County

93. Western Scrub-Jay, Mossyrock home, Lewis County

94. Black-billed Magpie, Toppenish, Yakima County

95. American Crow, Lateral A, Toppenish, Yakima County

96. Common Raven, SR 97, Toppenish, Yakima County

97. Horned Lark, Tule Road, Yakima County

98. Tree Swallow, Toppenish, Yakima County

99. Violet-green Swallow, Yakima downtown, Yakima County

100. N. Rough-winged Swallow, Toppenish, Yakima County

101. Bank Swallow, Toppenish, Yakima County

102. Cliff Swallow, Toppenish, Yakima County

103. Barn Swallow, Toppenish, Yakima County

104. Black-capped Chickadee, Willapa Bay, Pacific County

105. Chestnut-backed Chickadee, White Pass, Yakima County, Yakima County

106. Red-breasted Nuthatch, Tieton Airport Marsh, Yakima County

107. Brown Creeper, Rainbow Falls State Park, Lewis County

108. Rock Wren, BIA 148, Yakima County

109. Canyon Wren, Bear Creek Canyon, Yakima County

110. House Wren, BIA 148, Yakima County

111. Pacific Wren, FR 25, Randle, Lewis County

112. Marsh Wren, Toppenish, Yakima County

113. Bewick's Wren, BIA 148, Yakima County

114. American Dipper, Rimrock Retreat, Yakima County

115. Golden-crowned Kinglet, Rainbow Falls State Park, Lewis County

116. Western Bluebird, Umptanum Road, Kittitas County

117. Townsend's Solitaire, Bear Creek Canyon, Yakima County

118. Swainson's Thrush, Rainbow Falls State Park, Lewis County

119. Hermit Thrush, White Pass, Yakima County, Yakima County

120. American Robin, Toppenish, Yakima County

121. Varied Thrush, White Pass, Yakima County, Yakima County

122. Sage Thrasher, Durr Road, Kittitas County

123. European Starling, Toppenish, Yakima County

124. Cedar Waxwing, Lebam area, SR 6, Pacific County

125. Nashville Warbler, Bear Creek Canyon, Yakima County

126. MacGillivray's Warbler, Falls/Kiona/Peters Rd., Lewis County

127. Common Yellowthroat, Toppenish, Yakima County

128. Yellow Warbler, Tieton Airport Marsh, Yakima County

129. Yellow-rumped Warbler, Bethel Ridge Rd., Yakima County

130. Townsend's Warbler, Tieton Airport Marsh, Yakima County

131. Hermit Warbler, Rainbow Falls State Park, Lewis County

132. Wilson's Warbler, Rainbow Falls State Park, Lewis County

133. Yellow-breasted Chat, Hardy Canyon, Yakima County

134. Spotted Towhee, BIA 148, Yakima County

135. Chipping Sparrow, BIA 148, Yakima County

136. Brewer's Sparrow, Umptanum Road, Kittitas County

137. Vesper Sparrow, Tule Road, Yakima County

138. Sage Sparrow, Tule Road, Yakima County

139. Savannah Sparrow, Toppenish, Yakima County

140. Grasshopper Sparrow, Tule Road, Yakima County

141. Fox Sparrow, White Pass, Yakima County, Yakima County

142. Song Sparrow, Toppenish, Yakima County

143. Lincoln's Sparrow, Bethel Ridge Rd., Yakima County

144. White-crowned Sparrow, Peters Road, Lewis County

145. Dark-eyed Junco, Bethel Ridge Rd., Yakima County

146. Western Tanager, Bear Creek Canyon, Yakima County

147. Black-headed Grosbeak, Toppenish, Yakima County

148. Lazuli Bunting, BIA 148, Yakima County

149. Bobolink, Toppenish, Yakima County

150. Red-winged Blackbird, Toppenish, Yakima County

151. Western Meadowlark, Umptanum Road, Kittitas County

152. Yellow-headed Blackbird, Toppenish, Yakima County

153. Brewer's Blackbird, Toppenish, Yakima County

154. Brown-headed Cowbird, Toppenish, Yakima County

155. Bullock's Oriole, Toppenish, Yakima County

156. Purple Finch, Verneer Ponds, Randle, Lewis County

157. Cassin's Finch, Bethel Ridge Rd., Yakima County

158. House Finch, Toppenish, Yakima County

159. Pine Siskin, Bethel Ridge Rd., Yakima County

160. American Goldfinch, Toppenish, Yakima County

161. Evening Grosbeak, Bethel Ridge Rd., Yakima County

162. House Sparrow, Toppenish, Yakima County

It is a crazy way to spend 24 hours, and a ton of fun!

Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA


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