[Tweeters] Waterville Plateau
marcus at rainierconnect.com
Sun Feb 15 21:02:58 PST 2015
Heather and I (along with several other birding parties) were enjoying the most unusual February weather on the plateau I've ever experienced - warm and sunny! We kept peeling off layers all day.
We started at dawn at Leahy junction and watched the amazing courtship display of 4 male SAGE GROUSE on the north side of the road trying to catch the interest of three females. Even though the females wandered off, we remained spellbound by the amazing sounds they were generating while flipping their ermine stoles around.
At Hwy 172 and Heritage road we had nice looks at American Tree Sparrows and two high flying SANDHILL CRANES that were heading towards Brewster - a bit unexpected.
Shep Thorp had tipped me off that there was still snow on F St north of Lamoine, between 11th and 12th, and that it was great for Snowy Owls. And understatement, as we found 5 owls, at least two of them beautiful almost all white adults. Of course, Shep had seen six. In the same area we found Rough-legged Hawks, a couple of Snow Buntings mixed in with the large Horned Lark Flock and a Prairie Falcon keeping a close watch on them all.
In Lamoine we missed the Mountain Bluebird that had arrived the day before, but had a heck of a consolation prize - a Northern Pygmy-Owl. Why it was hanging out 6' from the highway off the driveway is beyond me, but it was certainly one of the closest looks we had at a bird all day.
It was a great day to be on the Waterville Plateau,
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