[Tweeters] not just a Dickie bird - a beautiful day in CWA - 6/5/15

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Mon Jun 8 02:05:08 PDT 2015

On the edge of the Big Heat, I headed east to see what would lift my spirits, inspire me, fly over me, call to me, be caught by the corner of an eye, and fill the horizon in front of me. And, IF I made it to N. Wenas Rd. Dickcissel staging ground, that could be interesting.

Well, I definitely got to the Hardy Canyon area in time, and what a fun experience I had - I got there around 7:45 p.m. - still plenty of 'good' light in which to intermittently catch the bird, but at the end of my hour there, many of the views of 'Dickie', were silhouettes. He moved around from small snag to small snag, never staying on one for more than a minute or 2, it seemed - then off he'd dash, in all different directions, going for last-minute flies, I guess. 2 gals from Yakima, Joyce & Jenny, had been watching the DC for awhile, and immediately helped me find and see it. I contributed my scope for some pretty good looks, and we had a great time, not only trying to focus on the DC, but trying to ID other birds and wildlife that zipped by, like an American Goldfinch, a Western Bluebird, several Mourning Doves, a Western Meadowlark, Tree Swallows, and later, on our way out through the 2 gates, a Western Wood Pewee and a Red-tailed Hawk. Of particular note was the static African lion the archery contestants were going to aim at in their competition the next day - nice prop ! Thanks to J&J for adding a lot to my Dickcissel experience - I rarely go off to see a rarity and, if I do, I'm usually a day late and many dollars short ! And thanks to all the folks who shared info, directions and photos re: the Dickcissel on eBird, Tweeters, BirdYak and on the phone :-)

At 9 p.m. I headed up Wenas Rd to my reliable spot to hear Common Poorwills at dusk - it was good timing - the Umtanum Falls Trail parking lot produced - BUT, in addition to the usual 2-note "poor WILL" call I've usually heard, the same PW uttered the strangest call I've ever heard - hard to describe - I just listened to a version of the strange 3-part call in BirdNote - but what I heard had a much louder and exaggerated 3rd part - much more bubbly or rubbery ! The Poorwill moved around and ultimately off into the distance - it was never on the ground in the parking lot - seemed to be up in bushes or small trees, but maybe it was just 'throwing its voice'. Next time I'll try harder to find it and its orange eyes :-)

As for highlights earlier in the day (afternoon), here's a partial list - most of my birding was done while driving, pulling over after seeing something, occasionally getting out of the car (and the AC) to set up scope, or try for a non-thru-the-windshield photo or to walk along the road for a better view or attempted view or to listen to the songs and/or calls and try to find their source.

List (starting from Seattle, on to the Dickcissel site):

to Cle Elum via I-90 (no stops near Snoq. Pass):
Great Blue Heron, Osprey, Cooper's Hawk, Common Raven

Cle Elum RR Ponds :
White-Crowned Sparrow, Cedar Waxwings, Tree Swallows, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk (pestering the eagle), Bullock's Oriole (male), Yellow Warbler (male), Red-winged Blackbirds

from Cle Elum to, and including, Teanaway River Bridge area:
Mourning Dove, Black-headed Grosbeak (male), Song Sparrow, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, American Robin, 2 Red-tailed Hawks one calling), woodpecker tapping sounds
great white, poufy clouds

along SR10, from Teanaway R Bridge to Canyon Rd. in Ellensburg:
@ MP 92 - N. Flicker (female) few onto a utility pole, part-way up and stayed there for a good 5 minutes
@ MP 94.4 (cliffs) - only a few Cliff Swallows and nests
@ MP 96 - Lazuli Bunting (male), 2 ea. of soaring Turkey Vultures & Common Ravens & probable Osprey, the start of seeing Black-billed Magpies and American Kestrels
Flocks and flocks of streaming cotton from cottonwood trees

Canyon Rd. start to finish near Selah:
California Quail
@ MP 17 (Umtanum Rec. Area Parking lot) - Turkey Vulture
@ MP 15.5 (going by at 45 mph) - Bald Eagle adult on tree next to nest tree - I didn't stop...
@ MP 10-ish - stopped to scan cliffs for stick nests, with hopes of finding an active Prairie Falcon nest, but all I saw were 3 nests, none active
@ MP 2 cliffs - lots of Cliff Swallows and some visible nests, BEAUTIFUL chevron-patterned columnar basalt patterns in the rock !
one section of roadside shrubs with distinctly separate clusters of flies just above them

North Wenas Rd before Dickcissel turn-off:
2 perched redtails on utility pole, one foraging Bullock's Oriole (female) on ground - this was near a cemetery

--------------------------next stop was past Wenas Lk, at Hardy Canyon walk-in entrance (with signage) and finally, the 2-gate entrance to the Dickcissel and archery-competition area that I started this report with !

some photos taken of birds, nests, cliffs and sky - view at this link: https://flic.kr/s/aHskcVTzqx "Not Just the Dickie Bird"

Barb Deihl
North Matthews Beach - NE Seattle
barbdeihl at comcast.net

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