[Tweeters] Kittitas County 3/16
tsbrennan at hotmail.com
Sun Mar 16 19:54:31 PDT 2014
My second half-day of birding in Kittitas County was productive as well, with a lot of first of year birds, especially in the sage-steppe of the county.
I owled above Liberty... following the little backroads up Table Mountain from Highway 97... and nothing, zippo, not even a hoot! After getting a little sleep, I went to Tjossem Road (the short stretch between the Canyon Road and Highway 82) to try for Barn Owls. Sitting in one spot on that short stretch of the road, I immediately heard a Barn Owl screech when I got out of the car, followed by a Great Horned Owl. After a few rounds of thinking it was a phantom sound, I was able to get a third owl to come in closer for a good listen - A Northern Saw-whet Owl!
My first daylight stop was Durr Road - just because I'd never driven an inch of it. I drove until it seemed dicey (not very far) and had Meadowlarks for the most part, as well as a pair of Mountain Bluebirds - the first of many many pairs of both bluebirds seen during the day. In the sage around Umptanum Road, I had a Vesper Sparrow singing from the top of some sage. Umptanum Falls didn't have anything too surprising, but I did get a Varied Thrush (my favorite bird) singing about a mile down the trail.
On the Vantage Highway, I focused my efforts on trying to find some Ring-necked Pheasants, and had no luck in the morning or the afternoon. I also missed Chukars, but my walk at Quilomene gave me Sage Sparrows, Sage Thrashers and a pair of Loggerhead Shrikes! The Columbia River was extremely low, so a lot of the water birds were farther out, or had skedaddled. The best bird on the river was a Red-necked Grebe, and I had many Say's Phoebe's and Rock Wrens, as well as one Canyon Wren up by the road.
On the way home, I kept my eyes peeled for Trumpeter Swans that had been reported from one of those highway-side ponds near Ellensburg, and I was able to pull over and take a peek at a pair of them before deciding that pulling over on I-90 is.. well... driving like a birder.
No offense, y'all. :D
Tim Brennan, Renton
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