[Tweeters] HARRIS'S SPARROW - Okanogan Co.

Ron McCluskey rmcclsky at mindspring.com
Tue Dec 1 07:23:47 PST 2015

Gene Wick (Okanogan), Ron Thill (Texas) and I spend the day in the Okanogan Highlands Nov. 30. It started out pretty dismal in the Omak area with heavy overcast skies. But the weather service had promised clear skies in Chesaw, so off we went.

We finally got out of the fog just as we hit the east end of Grange Rd. Saw nothing really before that.

At the Nealy feeders we had about 40 Gray-Crowned Rosy-Finches as well as a single Bohemian Waxwing.

As we neared Chesaw, I spotted a Northern Pygmy-Owl just past the entrance to Byers Rd. We then proceeded through Chesaw to Bolster Rd. Not much there besides a Belted Kingfisher.

On the way back, the Owl was still there so we drove a short way up Byers Rd. to get better views of it. As we stopped, I saw a sparrow size bird fly down to the edge of the road ahead. Once Gene and Ron had taken as many photos as they wanted, we cautiously approached the sparrow. It didn't spook at all despite having the mail carrier pull up behind us and let us know by use of the horn that we were taking up more than our fair share of the road. We were able to approach within about 15 feet and he was totally unconcerned by our presence. All 3 of us got photos. (I'm at work and forgot to put my SD card in my laptop so have not looked at mine yet.) It looks good for a HARRIS'S SPARROW. Photos Gene got are linked at the bottom.

Mary Ann Creek Rd. was quiet. On Davies Rd. we saw 3 Common Redpoll. Not good enough looks by Ron to get that for a lifer.

On the way out, the clouds were getting heavy again. But at about 3:30 about a half mile west of the entrance to the snow park, I spotted a Great Gray Owl perched on top of a 30 foot evergreen. I had just about turned off the bird watching part of my brain when it suddenly appeared.

I was with Khanh Tran 9 days earlier and saw most of the birds he saw. Between the two days, we had better birding than the last 2 winters combined! It is looking promising for a very good winter.

The weather is supposed to be bad the rest of the week. So twitching the Harris's Sparrow is going to be tough.




Good birding and hope to see many of you out this way soon.

Ron McCluskey
(live in Cheney - work in Omak)
rmcclsky a t mindspring dot com

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