[Tweeters] Birding Along I-90 (plus) Sunday and Monday

Blair Bernson blair at washingtonadvisorygroup.com
Wed May 6 20:26:20 PDT 2015

Just some teasers from a 2 day trip that started
in Seattle, ventured to Sprague Lake with a number
of stops along I-90 and also a few jaunts a bit
north before returning in time to make the WOS
Program (excellent by Jennifer Ma of COASST).

Major stops were Ellensburg/Kittitas farmlands
where I had a FOY Spotted Sandpiper but again
missed Long Billed Curlews despite diligent tries;
Quilomene area (no Sagebrush Sparrow but MANY
Brewer's plus Sage Thrashers and Vesper Sparrows;
Winchester STP (lots of Black Necked Stilts and 2
American Avocets; Cow Lake (again no Curlew) with
American White Pelicans and Grasshopper Sparrows
and a gorgeous Dark Phased Swainson's Hawk (many
more seen in both phases elsewhere); Sprague Lake
(nothing extraordinary and no Black Terns or
Tricolored Blackbirds which have been reported and
could not find a Clark's Grebe among the Westerns
but did have my FOY Western Tanager); Sprague WTP
for Wilson's Phalaropes (adding to Naturalist
Wilson's birds for the day - Phalarope, Warbler
and Snipe); Reardan Ponds - many waterbirds
including MANY Eared Grebes; Tamarack Canyon with
both Cassin's Finches and Cassin's Vireos (but no
Auklets); then the Ferruginous Hawk on nest at
milepost 84 on Hwy 28 early the second day; Baird
Spings/2 Springs Road in Ephrata producing MANY
Brewer's Sparrows. FOY Bullock's Oriole and Gray
Flycatcher. Gray Partridge along with many Quail
and Western Kingbirds everywhere (encountered
often both days as were Say's Phoebes); Cedar
Waxwing Flock at Patrick Park in Ephrata and a
Great Horned Owl at Oasis Park just out of town.
By then the wind really started to howl and
relatively few birds were seen in a return to
Kittitas and a sojourn up Umtanum Road and a stop
at the Cle Elum RR Ponds before having to head home.

Including a few birds added at the Montlake Fill,
I had 110 species with only a single woodpecker
species (Flicker) despite being in a lot of good
habitat and no Great Blue Heron until arriving at
the Fill. A good assortment of sparrow species
and more ducks than I expected. There really were
tons of Kingbirds and many raptors with perhaps
twice as many Red Tails as Swainsons but at least
10 of the latter all told. The Long Billed Curlew
is turning into my nemesis bird for the year and I
wearied trying to turn at least one of the many
Rough Winged Swallows into a Bank Swallow. Maybe
next week. Far fewer Empidonax than
desired/expected but at least that saved the ID

A bonus was meeting several fun people along the
way - cameras and bins are great conversation

Gotta love springtime.

Blair Bernson

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