[Tweeters] Salmo Mountain and Mill Canyon - Toots as well as Tweets

Blair Bernson blair at washingtonadvisorygroup.com
Fri Oct 4 18:47:37 PDT 2013

I joined Terry Little and his friend Tim on Salmo
Mountain Thursday afternoon and evening. Later we
bumped into Brian Pendleton there and we birded

Before Brian arrived we had Boreal Chickadees and
a 3 Toed Woodpecker at the same exact spot about
1/4 mile down from the spur going up to the
summit. We then drove up to the Summit. There
was perhaps 3 inches of snow which added some
treachery to the already challenging road. The
bigger challenge however was the tree that had
fallen across the road perhaps 600 yards from the
summit. Tim (a surgeon) was up to the task and
hooked a tow up to the tree and pulled it mostly
out of the way. Together we pushed it just enough
further for us to drive through. At the summit we
found astounding scenery in great sunset light and
the snow made it very easy to see the tracks of a
rather large moose and at least one snowshoe hare.

We returned to the main "road" and that is when we
met Brian. We waited until almost dark and tried
for more than 90 minutes without success to call
in a Boreal Owl. Terry and Tim took off to return
to Spokane and Brian and I decided to give it
another go. We tried three spots along the summit
road and finally had an owl fly in in response to
the standard call. It responded with its "Skiew"
call. This continued for more than 25 minutes with
the owl responding more than 6 times. It was
PITCH BLACK (although we could see the Milky Way)
and we never could locate the owl visually even
with our spotlight and even though it seemed quite
close. It moved to a number of locations. On the
way up we had a snowshoe hare in my spotlight that
came almost right to us (within perhaps 10 feet).
Brian car camped on the mountain so I hope he will
have stories to tell of that night and the next day.

I returned to my motel in Ione - seeing 4 deer on
the road on the way down.

This morning I got an early start and headed off
to Davenport with a first stop at Reardan Ponds
where...completely as a surprise to both of us
Terry was already there. Nothing special at the
ponds but Terry was heading off to Mill Canyon and
graciously allowed me to accompany him to this
wonderful Lincoln County beauty. It was very
birdy. We had more than 40 species (with no
swallows, vireos or flycatchers and only a single
sparrow and warbler species). Highlights were the
Western Screech Owl that called back followed
within minutes at the same spot by a very
cooperative and photogenic Northern Pygmy Owl that
was mobbed by a number of birds including all
three species of Nuthatches. We dipped on White
Headed Woodpecker but did have Flicker, Downy,
Hairy and Pileated (which I understand in quite
unusual). On the was out heading to the Davenport
Cemetery we went through Green Canyon and had an
equally cooperative, photogenic and mobbed Pygmy
Owl. A great way to wrap up my "Raptor Birthday
Year" which will be the subject of a later post
and which ended today with an extra special bird
(stay tuned).

We ended up at the Cemetery and I was pretty
frustrated at not being able to follow and ID the
many small birds there. For sure there were
numerous Golden Crowned and Ruby Crowned Kinglets
and MANY warblers. We could only ID a single
Townsends and all others seemed to be Yellow
Rumped but something else may have been missed.

Terry is incredibly knowledgeable of the area and
all birds and very generous with his time. Great
company as well.

Blair Bernson

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