[Tweeters] Seattle Audubon field trip to Columbia Slope Saturday, April 26

kelsberg at u.washington.edu kelsberg at u.washington.edu
Sun Apr 27 13:26:05 PDT 2014

Jim Owens and I led a very pleasant group of Seattle Audubon members on our third annual field trip to the Columbia slope. Not only did we have wonderful attendees, we were attended by good weather and good birds. Our first stop just east of Cle Elum gave us nice looks at a Dipper family of three, plus Wood Ducks and the beginnings of a five-swallow day at the nearby marsh. We then found half a dozen Long-billed Curlews in the fields near Ellensburg, with winnowing snipes and nesting redtails looking on. The sage habitat at Quilomene was full of Brewer's Sparrows (song a "cross between a canary and a sewing machine" according to Peterson) and Sage Thrashers singing, plus a nice mix of both pugetensis and gambelii White-crowned Sparrows so we could show the difference. I said I heard Sagebrush Sparrows, but none showed themselves to our group.
We found very vocal Rock Wrens near the newly under construction campground by the Columbia River (I mean mud flat) below the Gingko Visitor Center, a Vaux's Swift, great numbers of Yellow-rumped Warblers (mostly Audubon's but a few Myrtles) some quiet Orange-crowned Warblers eating busily, and lots of swallows. We couldn't find a Say's Phoebe.
We then drove to the day roost site along Crab Creek Rd (near the intersection with "E St.") to find about 100 slow-to-migrate lesser Sandhill Cranes, and a couple of Great Egrets. Lots of Black-necked Stilts and Yellow-headed Blackbirds "singing" in the ponds at Birders Corner, and numerous pairs of Cinnamon Teal, shovelers, and some Canvasbacks.

>From there we went to nearly vacant County line Ponds, and on to see the Burrowing Owls near Othello, and then up to Para Ponds. Lots of Least Sandpipers and Dunlin in full breeding plumage. A few distant avocets, some nice pintails and Green-winged Teal, and a sad collection of dead televisions (and a dead pelican) gathered at the edges of the ponds. I believe we had 76 species for the trip (we didn't include the farmyard full of peacocks - most likely introduced).

Gary Kelsberg
kelsberg at yew dot warshington dot ee-dew

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