[Tweeters] North Central WA - Day 4

Jon Houghton jon.houghton at hartcrowser.com
Tue Dec 30 20:26:24 PST 2014

Continuing our winter bird quest in northcentral WA (first 3 days kindly forwarded to Tweeters by Blair B), yesterday we headed from Omak up the north end of Cameron Lake Road, nicely plowed and sanded on the ascent - about 3 inches of super fluffy white on the plateau. Nothing much to see through the pine woods on the way up (random ravens) - our first stop was at the "dense riparian habitat" mentioned in BGW (pg 438; 9.6 mi north of the Timentwa Rd. junction) where Sharp-tailed Grouse have been reported. As in all the water-birch thickets we surveyed over 4 days - no grouse. But (!) as in our March 2014 visit, we found a small flock of about 8 lovely American Tree Sparrows - seemingly unconcerned by the 24 degree temps and brisk breeze. Also seen in the thicket were the ubiquitous Northern Flicker and a nice Great-horned Owl, sitting in a rather exposed and obvious day roost. We unfortunately skipped the trip up Timentwa Road where we might have had a better chance at Lapland Longspur, but instead went about 5 miles out Geenaway Road. There, at the high point, sitting on fence posts amidst a large group of black angus we found 4 Snow Bunting. A bit farther along, we had a beautiful, hunting, Rough-legged Hawk. Back on Cameron Lake Rd. heading toward Route 17, we encountered a large flock of a hundred or so Snow Buntings accompanied by around 30 Horned Larks. They flew back and forth across the road for no apparent reasons, showing great views flying and sitting. We then headed down to Bridgeport (unusually lovely in the fresh snow) but saw no unusual birds there. Nor did we see anything at all in the water birch along Bridgeport Hill Road. Back up on the Waterville Plateau, we examined numerous flocks of Horned Larks, looking for the Longspurs that should be with them (why are they around Yakima and Mabton but not here??). We probably looked 200 to 300 larks in the face, finding the only stray to be a single Snow Bunting with a flock north of Waterville. Much of the afternoon was spent drivng main and not-at-all-main roads north of Waterville searching in vain for the Snowy Owl Stephan Schlick had reported a few days earlier. Clearly, the increasing winds and now 22 degree temperatures was not conducive for owls, or any other birds to be sitting on telephone poles! We did continue to find small groups of larks hunkered low to dig in the snow around sprigs of grass or flocking into the road, apparently to pick seeds out of the blowing snow. Finally, having driven all the passable roads 2 or more times, we decided that Stephan's Snowy had either headed farther south or was hunkered down like snowball in the lee of some obscure rock somewhere. No FOY for the day, but some great looks at two overwintering specialties - we headed over Stevens and brought the cold with us!! Happy (chilly?!?) birding!

Jon Houghton, Edmonds

Jon Houghton, Ph.D.
Principal; Senior Marine/Fishery Biologist
Jon.Houghton at HartCrowser.com<mailto:Jon.Houghton at HartCrowser.com>

New Address
190 W. Dayton Street, Suite 201
Edmonds, Washington 98020
425.329.1150 (direct)
206.601.0773 (cell)

Environmental - Geotechnical - Natural Resources
Confidentiality Notice: The information contained in this message is intended only for the use of the addressee, and may be confidential and/or privileged. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, or the employee or agent responsible to deliver it to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman11.u.washington.edu/pipermail/tweeters/attachments/20141231/d00e9198/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: image001.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 3636 bytes
Desc: image001.jpg
URL: <http://mailman11.u.washington.edu/pipermail/tweeters/attachments/20141231/d00e9198/attachment.jpg>

More information about the Tweeters mailing list