[Tweeters] WA State Big Day Report - 9 May 2015 [long]

Matt Bartels mattxyz at earthlink.net
Sun May 10 11:28:02 PDT 2015


Tweets -
Yesterday, May 9 2015, Michael Hobbs, Sharon Cormier-Aagaard and I held our fourth State Big Day. Our goal was to see as many species as possible in a 24 hour period and we zoomed all over the place trying our luck. We had a great time, found some new places and surprise birds, and missed some 'shoulda' birds. Weather was great, hot but not oppressively, with mostly low winds and no rain.

Our total for the day was 168 species - 7 fewer than our 2012 best of 175, and somehow exactly tied with last year for our second highest result.

Here's the run-down:

Night:
We began in Ellensburg at 11:30 , picked up coffee and were in place at midnight when the day began. First bird, just after midnight, was a Great Horned Owl on Umptanum Rd near a recent nest [our first of 3 Great Horned Owls on the night]. Next up, we hit Durr Rd [Kittitas County] where as in previous years we enjoyed hearing Sage Thrasher & Brewers Sparrow singing in the dark. Wenas Campground was next, where an open gate allowed us to drive quite a ways in and almost right up to where Flammulated Owl were hooting away loudly in the pines. A new stop along Malloy Rd. outside of Wenas CG brought us a Western Screech-Owl - nice! Along Audubon Rd., we found our only Common Poorwill of the night, one that grave us great looks before flying off to the roadside. At the entrance to Hardy Canyon we barely were out of the car before we heard a Yellow-breasted Chat singing away. After failing to find Burrowing Owl in the dark at Sheep Company Rd., we headed to Yakima, where on Valley Mall Blvd. we found our 'traditional' Barn Owl. Our last stop in darkness was at Toppenish NWR, at the 3/4 miles ponds on US-97 where we heard things like American Bittern, Black-necked Stilt, Virginia Rail, Wilson's Snipe and more.

With 21 species before dawn, we headed off to daylight birding.

Dawn:
Our previous starting point has been Tule Rd. off US 97 and BIA 148 nearby - recently, the Yakama Nation has clarified that those unsigned spots are actually off-limits - so we had to restructure our first stops to try to make up for some great birding.
This year, we gave the east end of Tule Rd a try - the east end is public , and it proved productive though different than the previous spots. As light grew, we were greeted by Long-billed Curlew's eerie calls as they flew in. Lark Sparrow are also very common on that end of the route [a new bird for our Big Day history]. We picked up things like Western Kingbird, Says Phoebe, Northern Harrier, Rock Wren, Bullock's Oriole, Gambelliis White-crowned Sparrow, and a flock of Cedar Waxwings [our only Cedar Waxwings of the day]. Missed birds, present the day before, were Horned Lark & Loggerhead Shrike - next time!

Tule Rd. east was good, but it left us behind schedule for much of the day -- just too much fun to try a new place -- as a result, we spent a lot of the day trying to make up minutes by going a bit fast at our 'regular' stops.

Morning:
Toppenish NWR was next - poking around we picked up a number of good birds, though not as many as in previous years at this location -- best birds included: A Short-eared Owl on Old Goldendale Rd. perhaps carrying food to a nest site?, Blue-winged Teal [at the 3/4 mile spot], Cinnamon Teal [several spots], & Sagebrush Sparrow [along Pumphouse Rd.].

Next up, we began the westward run, moving through Yakima [Double-crested Cormorant, White-throated & Vaux's Swift] and then uphill towards White Pass along SR 12. Lewis's Woodpecker, Black-headed Grosbeak & Western Tanager were cooperative at Oak Creek & the Oak Creek Headquarters. Just before Bear Canyon, a quick stop produced a Common Merganser on the water and a male Black-throated Gray Warbler in the trees. At Bear Canyon, we added Canyon Wren, Nashville Warbler, Spotted Towhee, Chipping Sparrow & Mountain Chickadee. Flycatchers weren't cooperating though, and a zoom-by hummingbird was almost certainly a Calliope, but we really didn't get a chance to confirm and Calliope was a miss for the day. We wanted to spend more time up Bethel Ridge this year, but still had to scoot pretty fast -- Woodpeckers were a target , and Downy Woodpecker, Red-naped Sapsucker & Williamson's Sapsucker all cooperated, along with a hybrid Red-naped x Red-breasted Sapsucker. Hammond's & Dusky Flycatchers were vocalizing, Cassin's Vireo, Western Bluebird, Townsend's Solitaire & Hermit Thrush all put in a show, along with a couple singing Lincoln's Sparrow. For the first time on our big day, we had a booming Sooty Grouse as well. At Tieton Marsh, Ring-necked Duck & Lesser Scaup were added to our day list, and over at Clear Lake we found Barrow's Goldeneye, American Wigeon and [in the trees] Yellow Warbler [finally]. As we got back toward SR 12, Sharon spotted a soaring accipiter - we stopped & looked, and got nice looks at an immature Northern Goshawk, a highlight bird of the day. Our final eastern WA stop was at Leech Lake, where Slate-colored Fox Sparrows were singing along with Wilson's Warblers [and Pugetensis White-crowned Sparrows]..

We crossed White Pass at about 1:30 w/ 116 species tallied [a bit below our intended rate, and a little later than ideal, but still mighty nice for a 1/2 day]

Afternoon:
Across the pass into Lewis County, we made a few stops to pick up westside birds before hurrying to the coast - Gray Jay & Chestnut-backed Chickadee were along FR 45, Rufous Hummingbird at the Packwood Gas Station as usual, Pac-slope Flycatcher, Pacific Wren & Varied Thrush along FR 25 our of Randle. We snagged Western Scrub-Jay in Mossyrock as we pushed west on SR 12 then SR 6 to Rainbow Falls SP. Outside the park, Purple Finch & Evening Grosbeaks were nice additions At Rainbow Falls State Park, Hermit Warbler came right in to our iPod, and we followed up with Swainson's Thrush & Brown Creeper relatively quickly, before failing to dig out some of our missing woodpeckers. We were able to make quick roadside stops for Bushtit, Red-breasted Sapsucker, our first Black-capped Chickadees of the day and American Dipper [Fork Creek Hatchery] before we hit Raymond and Willapa Bay for our last leg of the trip, saltwater birding.

Evening:
By around 6:00, we were out along Willapa Bay, hoping for a last surge of birds before light disappeared.
The tide was way in, higher than we expected, but after making a few less successful stops, we started picking up birds -- Caspian Tern, Common & Red-throated Loon, Brant and a couple more ducks were first. Then finally more shorebirds, with Greater & Lesser Yellowlegs, Dunlin, Semipalmated Plover, Whimbrel and Western Sandpiper. Behind us , a long-awaited Hairy Woodpecker finally showed itself. Tokeland Marina wasn't all that birdy [only added Green-winged Teal!], but Graveyard Spit in Tokeland came through, with Black-bellied Plover, Red Knot, Short-billed Dowitcher, Marbled Godwit, Bonaparte's & Mew Gull. On the way out of Tokeland, we ticked Anna's Hummingbird finally [we'd spent too long checking earlier feeders in the day and woulda/coulda/shoulda just waited to see it here]. Before heading to Westport, we stopped at North Cove and were greeted by a nice flock of Surf Scoters that included at least two Black Scoters. On the rocks, Pelagic Cormorant were joined with Black Turnstone & Ruddy Turnstone.

At the Westport Jetty, we finally crossed paths with the other Big Day team we knew was out today - no time to talk, as we were all rushing for last birds, but I look forward to hearing how their day went. The water from the jetty didn't turn up as much as we'd hoped [compared with last year], but we did quickly find Brown Pelican, Sanderling, Rhino Auklet & Pigeon Guillemot as well as Brandt's Cormorant. At the Coast Guard Station, the 'old' stop is gated but we could still do some scoping from the edge and as we looked out on a spit we were very surprised to find 5 American White Pelicans sitting in the dusk!

Our last bird of the night was back towards Aberdeen, along Newskah Rd. where [after playing leap-frog with the other big day team] we were happy to call in a pair of Barred Owls - our 6th Owl species of the day.

All told a great day of birding - less tiring than previous years.

It is always easy to construct a list of the birds we didn't find -- so much more seems possible in retrospect, but there's no way to really get them all.... Notable misses for the day included: White-winged Scoter, Hooded Merganser, Cooper's Hawk, Least Sandpiper [...], Ring-billed & California Gull, Calliope Hummingbird, Black-backed, 3-Toed or Pileated Woodpecker, Peregrine Falcon or Merlin, Western Wood-Pewee, Loggerhead Shrike, Horned Lark, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Orange-crowned Warbler, MacGillivray's Warbler, Vesper Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow and Red Crossbill.

Here's our full species list, with first locations noted included.

1. Brant - Willapa Bay 1st, Pacific County
2. Canada Goose - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds a, Yakima County
3. Wood Duck - Toppenish Fort Road Ponds, Yakima County
4. Gadwall - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds b, Yakima County
5. American Wigeon - Clear Lake, Yakima County
6. Mallard - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds b, Yakima County
7. Blue-winged Teal - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds b, Yakima County
8. Cinnamon Teal - Toppenish Old Goldendale Rd., Yakima County
9. Northern Shoveler - Toppenish Old Goldendale Rd., Yakima County
10. Northern Pintail - Willapa Bay 1st, Pacific County
11. Green-winged Teal - Tokeland Marina, Pacific County
12. Ring-necked Duck - Tieton Marsh, Yakima County
13. Lesser Scaup - Tieton Marsh, Yakima County
14. Surf Scoter - North Cove, Pacific County
15. Black Scoter - North Cove, Pacific County
16. Bufflehead - Toppenish Old Goldendale Rd., Yakima County
17. Barrow's Goldeneye - Clear Lake, Yakima County
18. Common Merganser - US 12 roadside, Yakima County
19. Red-breasted Merganser - Willapa Bay 1st, Pacific County
20. California Quail - Tule Rd., Yakima County
21. Ring-necked Pheasant - Tule Rd. - Plank Rd pond a, Yakima County
22. Sooty Grouse - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
23. Red-throated Loon - Willapa Bay 4th, Pacific County
24. Common Loon - Willapa Bay 2nd, Pacific County
25. Pied-billed Grebe - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds a, Yakima County
26. Brandt's Cormorant - Westport Jetty, Grays Harbor County
27. Double-crested Cormorant - Yakima SR 12, Yakima County
28. Pelagic Cormorant - North Cove, Pacific County
29. American White Pelican - Westport Coast Guard Station, Grays Harbor County
30. Brown Pelican - Westport Jetty, Grays Harbor County
31. American Bittern - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds a, Yakima County
32. Great Blue Heron - Tule Rd. - Plank Rd pond b, Yakima County
33. Turkey Vulture - SR 12 Oak Creek HQ, Yakima County
34. Osprey - Toppenish -SR 22, Yakima County
35. Bald Eagle - Yakima SR 12, Yakima County
36. Northern Harrier - Tule Rd., Yakima County
37. Northern Goshawk - Yakima Clear Lake area, Yakima County
38. Red-tailed Hawk - Tule Rd., Yakima County
39. Virginia Rail - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds a, Yakima County
40. Sora - Toppenish Lateral C, Yakima County
41. American Coot - Toppenish Old Goldendale Rd., Yakima County
42. Black-necked Stilt - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds a, Yakima County
43. Black-bellied Plover - Tokeland Graveyard Spit, Pacific County
44. Semipalmated Plover - Willapa Bay 4th, Pacific County
45. Killdeer - Yakima Costco/Valley Mall, Yakima County
46. Spotted Sandpiper - Toppenish -SR 22, Yakima County
47. Greater Yellowlegs - Willapa Bay 3rd, Pacific County
48. Lesser Yellowlegs - Willapa Bay 3rd, Pacific County
49. Whimbrel - Willapa Bay 4th, Pacific County
50. Long-billed Curlew - Tule Rd., Yakima County
51. Marbled Godwit - Tokeland Graveyard Spit, Pacific County
52. Ruddy Turnstone - North Cove, Pacific County
53. Black Turnstone - North Cove, Pacific County
54. Red Knot - Tokeland Graveyard Spit, Pacific County
55. Sanderling - Westport Jetty, Grays Harbor County
56. Dunlin - Willapa Bay 4th, Pacific County
57. Western Sandpiper - Willapa Bay 4th, Pacific County
58. Short-billed Dowitcher - Tokeland Graveyard Spit, Pacific County
59. Wilson's Snipe - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds a, Yakima County
60. Pigeon Guillemot - Westport Jetty, Grays Harbor County
61. Rhinoceros Auklet - Westport Jetty, Grays Harbor County
62. Bonaparte's Gull - Tokeland Graveyard Spit, Pacific County
63. Mew Gull - Tokeland Graveyard Spit, Pacific County
64. Western Gull - Willapa Bay 1st, Pacific County
65. Glaucous-winged Gull - Willapa Bay 1st, Pacific County
66. Caspian Tern - Willapa Bay 1st, Pacific County
67. Rock Pigeon - Tule Rd., Yakima County
68. Band-tailed Pigeon - Lewis FR 25, Lewis County
69. Eurasian Collared-Dove - Tule Rd., Yakima County
70. Mourning Dove - Tule Rd. - Plank Rd pond a, Yakima County
71. Barn Owl - Yakima Costco/Valley Mall, Yakima County
72. Flammulated Owl - Wenas Campground, Yakima County
73. Western Screech-Owl - Malloy Rd., Yakima County
74. Great Horned Owl - Umptanum Rd., Kittitas County
75. Barred Owl - Newskah Rd., Grays Harbor County
76. Short-eared Owl - Toppenish Old Goldendale Rd., Yakima County
77. Common Poorwill - Audubon Rd., Yakima County
78. Vaux's Swift - SR 12 east of Yakima, Yakima County
79. White-throated Swift - SR 12 east of Yakima, Yakima County
80. Anna's Hummingbird - Tokeland, Pacific County
81. Rufous Hummingbird - Packwood Gas Station, Lewis County
82. Belted Kingfisher - Tieton Marsh, Yakima County
83. Lewis's Woodpecker - SR 410 Naches, Yakima County
84. Williamson's Sapsucker - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
85. Red-naped Sapsucker - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
86. Red-breasted Sapsucker - Pacific Co SR 12 old house, Pacific County
87. Downy Woodpecker - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
88. Hairy Woodpecker - Willapa Bay 3rd, Pacific County
89. Northern Flicker - SR 12 Oak Creek, Yakima County
90. American Kestrel - Toppenish Fort Road Ponds, Yakima County
91. Hammond's Flycatcher - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
92. Dusky Flycatcher - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
93. Pacific-slope Flycatcher - Lewis FR 25, Lewis County
94. Say's Phoebe - Tule Rd., Yakima County
95. Western Kingbird - Tule Rd., Yakima County
96. Cassin's Vireo - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
97. Warbling Vireo - Toppenish Lateral C, Yakima County
98. Gray Jay - Lewis SR 12 FR 45, Lewis County
99. Steller's Jay - SR 12 Oak Creek HQ, Yakima County
100. Western Scrub-Jay - Lewis SR 12 Mossyrock, Lewis County
101. Black-billed Magpie - Tule Rd., Yakima County
102. American Crow - Toppenish Lateral A, Yakima County
103. Common Raven - Tule Rd., Yakima County
104. Tree Swallow - Yakima Costco/Valley Mall, Yakima County
105. Violet-green Swallow - SR 12 east of Yakima, Yakima County
106. N. Rough-winged Swallow - Tule Rd. - Plank Rd pond b, Yakima County
107. Bank Swallow - Toppenish Pumphouse Rd., Yakima County
108. Cliff Swallow - Tule Rd., Yakima County
109. Barn Swallow - Toppenish -SR 22, Yakima County
110. Black-capped Chickadee - Pacific Co SR 12 old house, Pacific County
111. Mountain Chickadee - Bear Creek Canyon, Yakima County
112. Chestnut-backed Chickadee - Lewis SR 12 FR 45, Lewis County
113. Bushtit - Lewis SR 12 Pe Ell area, Lewis County
114. Red-breasted Nuthatch - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
115. Brown Creeper - Rainbow Falls SP, Lewis County
116. Rock Wren - Tule Rd., Yakima County
117. Canyon Wren - Bear Creek Canyon, Yakima County
118. House Wren - Toppenish Lateral C, Yakima County
119. Pacific Wren - Lewis FR 25, Lewis County
120. Marsh Wren - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds b, Yakima County
121. Bewick's Wren - Toppenish Lateral C, Yakima County
122. American Dipper - Pacific Co. Fork Creek Hatchery, Pacific County
123. Golden-crowned Kinglet - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
124. Western Bluebird - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
125. Townsend's Solitaire - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
126. Swainson's Thrush - Rainbow Falls SP, Lewis County
127. Hermit Thrush - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
128. American Robin - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds a, Yakima County
129. Varied Thrush - Lewis FR 25, Lewis County
130. Sage Thrasher - Durr Rd., Kittitas County
131. European Starling - Tule Rd., Yakima County
132. Cedar Waxwing - Tule Rd., Yakima County
133. Nashville Warbler - Bear Creek Canyon, Yakima County
134. Common Yellowthroat - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds a, Yakima County
135. Yellow Warbler - Clear Lake, Yakima County
136. Yellow-rumped Warbler - Toppenish Lateral C, Yakima County
137. Black-throated Gray Warbler - US 12 roadside, Yakima County
138. Townsend's Warbler - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
139. Hermit Warbler - Rainbow Falls SP, Lewis County
140. Wilson's Warbler - Yakima White Pass Leech Lake, Yakima County
141. Yellow-breasted Chat - Hardy Canyon, Yakima County
142. Spotted Towhee - Bear Creek Canyon, Yakima County
143. Chipping Sparrow - Bear Creek Canyon, Yakima County
144. Brewer's Sparrow - Durr Rd., Kittitas County
145. Lark Sparrow - Tule Rd., Yakima County
146. Sagebrush Sparrow - Toppenish Pumphouse Rd., Yakima County
147. Savannah Sparrow - Toppenish Old Goldendale Rd., Yakima County
148. Fox Sparrow - Yakima White Pass Leech Lake, Yakima County
149. Song Sparrow - Tule Rd. - Plank Rd pond a, Yakima County
150. Lincoln's Sparrow - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
151. White-crowned Sparrow - Tule Rd., Yakima County
152. Dark-eyed Junco - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
153. Western Tanager - SR 12 Oak Creek HQ, Yakima County
154. Black-headed Grosbeak - SR 12 Oak Creek, Yakima County
155. Lazuli Bunting - Tule Rd., Yakima County
156. Red-winged Blackbird - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds a, Yakima County
157. Western Meadowlark - Tule Rd., Yakima County
158. Yellow-headed Blackbird - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds a, Yakima County
159. Brewer's Blackbird - Tule Rd., Yakima County
160. Brown-headed Cowbird - Toppenish 3/4 mile ponds a, Yakima County
161. Bullock's Oriole - Tule Rd., Yakima County
162. House Finch - Tule Rd., Yakima County
163. Purple Finch - outside Rainbow Falls SP, Lewis County
164. Cassin's Finch - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
165. Pine Siskin - Bethel Ridge, Yakima County
166. American Goldfinch - Tule Rd., Yakima County
167. Evening Grosbeak - outside Rainbow Falls SP, Lewis County
168. House Sparrow - Tule Rd. - Plank Rd pond b, Yakima County


Good May Birding!

Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA


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