[Tweeters] Southwest Washington birding
tsbrennan at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 3 20:25:41 PST 2013
I got out this weekend and birded from Grays Harbor County down to Skamania and back - some highlights:
Gray's Harbor: None. It was Saturday morning, and it was windy and rainy. Actually, it wasn't all that bad, but not very productive. The highlight here was a Snow Goose flying with some Cacklers on Brady Loop Road. I stuck to the east end of the county, including Wenzel Slough, Brady Loop and a quick drive up Minot Peak, which was not birdy at all (although a hunter I spoke to had seen grouse earlier in the morning), but got lovely during a break in the rain when the sun poked through the clouds.
Lewis County: I didn't have much time for Lewis County, but stopping at Gorst Park got me a Herring and Thayer's Gull. Dinner in Toledo at their taproom (where I got talked into the prime rib with no regrets), and I had three hunters with me at the bar with me for dinner. One had been talking about early mornings out hunting and the wildlife he had run into, so I asked him if he had encountered any owls. Introducing myself as a birder drew some suspicion - they still aren't Spotted Owl fans there! - but he suggested Smoky Valley for owls. The weather broke and I found myself under the full Milky Way calling for owls all along Smoky Valley road. I had no luck, outside of the fact that I was lucky enough to be under the Milky Way on Smoky Valley Road!
Sunday Morning: I drove from Kelso to Skamania and followed up on some of the birds that Wilson Cady found on Friday: Franz Lake Greater Yellowlegs - check! Skamania Landing Eurasian Wigeon - check! The 18 Great Egrets Wilson had seen there have turned into 22! Heading up to Mabee Mines Road, I added a few common Skamania birds, including a Ruffed Grouse.
Clark County: Washougal River Road took me from Mabee Mines road down to Washougal, following the Washougal River, where there were a handful of Common Mergansers, and (after 3 stops at some nice rapids) at least one American Dipper. I made my first trip to Stiegerwald, walking the path out to the Columbia and back. The best birds of the walk were a Pileated Woodpecker, and an American Bittern - nothing unusual for the park. On my way north out of town, I had a Varied Thrush (my favorite bird!) at Fallen Leaf Lake, and a Lincoln's Sparrow mixed in with numerous Song and Golden-crowned Sparrows at the trailhead for the Lacamas Heritage trail.
Cowlitz County: I made quick stops here to try again for birds I had missed in October with Russ Koppendrayer. I got three of them right at exit 36 - Hooded Merganser, Buffleheads and American Coots at the pond right off of the freeway. Virginia Rails responded quickly to recordings I played for the at the Mint Farm in Longview, and the Red-shouldered Hawk at Willow Grove was in "the tree it is always in". It sat in the tree letting me study it for a while - it was a new state bird for me. :)
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