[Tweeters] Weekend birding in Garfield & Asotin counties

Matt Bartels mattxyz at earthlink.net
Mon Apr 14 05:54:42 PDT 2014

I enjoyed a sunny spring weekend over in the SE Corner of the state along the Snake River, mostly in Asotin & Garfield Counties.
Water level along the Snake is low enough to expose some shoreline, so I wouldn't be surprised if shorebirds show up in the coming weeks in better than usual numbers for Garfield & Columbia.

Saturday 4/12
My day began in Garfield County at the Meadow Creek / Deadman Creek mouths at Central Ferry -- at the mouth of Meadow Creek a BLACK-NECKED STILT [code 5 for Garfield] was working the mudflats.
At Rice Bar HMU, a CINNAMON TEAL [code 4] was hanging out well east of the lot. A pair of Turkey Vultures [code 4, especially good for lowland Garfield], was perched along the shoreline. The shore at Illia Dunes WA looks promising, but was mostly empty this weekend.

Moving into Asotin County, I saw 4 Greater Yellowlegs and a Snow Goose at Swallows Park [Clarkston]. Uphill on SR 129 at Savage Rd., another Cinnamon Teal was hanging out. A pale brown Richardson's-looking Merlin was in the field along Savage Rd. beyond the ponds. Down by Clarkston on the cliffs just west/north of town, I watched one of the nesting Peregrine Falcons for a bit.

Am. White Pelicans have eluded me in Asotin county despite being pretty regular in the summer now -- This weekend, I 'outsmarted' them by scanning the Snake from the Whitman side -- on the back side of the islands by Chief Timothy SP, a group of about 15 pelicans were sitting on the shore.

Sunday 4/13
The day began at the mouth of Alpowa Creek where 8 AMERICAN AVOCET flew in just before I gave up on finding any shorebirds. From there, I worked my way along Wawawai Rd. scanning across the river into Garfield Co hoping for shorebirds -- no luck, but definitely worth keeping an eye on in the coming weeks. Back in Garfield at Illia Dunes, a flock of 40 Northern Shovellers also included 2 more Cinnamon Teal. Along Hastings Hill Rd., at the little marshy area on the south side of the road just beyond where the gravel begins, I got great looks at a very vocal VIRGINIA RAIL [code 4, and my 39th county for seeing VIRA] -- A return to the Meadow Creek mouth turned up 2 BLACK-NECKED STILT where yesterday there was one.

The rest of the weekend was mostly spent reconnecting with returning birds -- Osprey were back in force, Am. White Pelicans, Caspian Terns, and bright gulls were thick along the Snake, Violet-green, Cliff & N.Rough-winged Swallows were back in good numbers ---A single Western Kingbird outside Othello and a handful of Says Phoebes were my only flycatchers. No warblers or hummers yet, but they must be getting close.

Matt Bartels
Seattle WA

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