[Tweeters] Early Report from The Okanogan

Blair Bernson blair at washingtonadvisorygroup.com
Tue Dec 23 17:25:12 PST 2014

Hello all...
My family is away so my holidays are "for the
birds" - literally. Following a great start in
Walla Walla I traveled to Omak yesterday with some
birding along the way and then covered a lot of
ground in Okanogan County today. Some general
comments: I usually come here in February or
March and it is quite different. There is snow in
the Highlands and higher elevations but not
elsewhere. It is also much warmer than usual.
All in all there seem to be many fewer birds and
an absence or scarcity at least so far of some of
the specialties that than I have generally found.
For example in Concunully this afternoon, the ONLY
birds in town were California Quail - not a single
finch or Chickadee or anything else. I have
always had good birds there in the past. On the
plateau on the way there were many but not MANY
MANY Horned Larks and no Snow Buntings (and no snow).

I drove Nealy Road, Havillah Road, Hungry Hollow
Road among others again and again and had very few
birds and not a single finch of any kind. There
are many Rough Legged Hawks and I had a half dozen
Bald Eagles - both adult and immature and a single
Golden Eagle. Also many Kestrels and a single
Sharp Shinned Hawk. At the Havillah SnoPark there
were a handful of Mountain Chickadees, a Clark's
Nutcracker, Ravens and at least 2 and possibly 3
Pygmy Owls. At Oroville I finally located some
Bohemian Waxwings - probably more than 100. There
were two separate flocks that then combined and
were mixed also at times with a very large flock
of Starlings.

My best bird is/was a "not sure" - I flushed a
HUGE gallinaceous bird in a field that I think may
have been a Greater Sage Grouse. It appeared
significantly larger than a Ring Necked Pheasant
or any of the "regular" grouse. It was not in
sage - although there was some sage in a field
across the road from where I saw it. Hmmm?

Also a single moose bounded across the road
perhaps 50 yards in front of me...very cool.

I am going to be out again tomorrow and am hoping
for some finch types.

-- Blair Bernson Edmonds

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