[Tweeters] Little Bird Stories in CWA - 5/17/15

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Tue May 19 18:35:55 PDT 2015

The following 10 little bird stories have accompanying photos in the album linked below - parts of the stories have no photos, so engage your imagination !

The link: https://flic.kr/s/aHskbWr21t

List of stories:
1 - near Teanaway River Bridge: sky, cow parsnip plant, grosbeak, roadkill ground squirrel, robin, oriole, yellow blur (13 pics)
2 - Bank Swallows and one nest along SR 10 (2 pics)
3 - ID of black silhouetted bird(s) along SR 10 (3 pics)
4 - rainbow and sky seen from SR 10 (5 pics)
5 - Umptanum Rd. GHOW nest (2 pics)
6 - continuing up Ump. Rd. (2 pics)
7 - Ump. Rd. bird on wire (3 pics)
8 - role change on Ump. Rd. (3 pics)
9 - an unknown bird near birds in #10 (1 pic)
10 - sunset after checking birds at Ump. Trail parking area - (4 pics)
Stories from the trip (ones with parts from the above numbered story references will have the story # in parentheses):

So, off we go ! First bird I paid attention to was a Peregrine Falcon on a light standard just prior to the I-90 exit 27, a Snoqualmie exit. Also, enroute to the summit, I saw 3 soaring Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Turkey Vulture and 1 Common Raven (at the summit itself).

Only stopped in Cle Elum to get gas - House Sparrow was my exciting find at the gas station !

On out to the Teanaway River Bridge area on SR 10. (1) Heard a lot of bird calls and songs when I got out of the car and went down to the river - many N. Rough-winged Swallows were busy around the bridge, but no other birds made themselves obvious, so, after picking up a few cool rocks, I traipsed back up the trail to the car. Then the action began and I got my binocs and camera ready. The first subject was easy - a just-hit Beechey's Ground Squirrel right next to my car. I then noticed a very colorful robin-sized bird that flew in and perched in a small tree on my side of the road - it looked to be a grosbeak, but I had to look it up in a guide to discover it was a Black-headed Grosbeak - the markings looked much like a Bullock's Oriole, but the thick finchy beak, confirmed that it, and later, a few others flying away from me, were indeed that species of grosbeak. Next I spotted a bird with similar orange on it, in a tree across the street - also robin-sized - yep, an American Robin that turned out to have flown in to take the place of yet another Black-headed GB. Very soon after those 2 birds, another orange/black, white and yellow flash flew by and on to a distant tree - assuming it to be a BHGB, I got my camera out again and took a couple of shots - wasn't until I got home and looked at the shots on the computer, that I saw it had a sharp beak and a black stripe through the eye, and was a Bullock's Oriole !!! I had trouble getting any little yellow birds to hold still long enough for me to either sight them through my binocs or take any photos - therefore, the yellow blur pic is what I assume was a Yellow Warbler, as I had heard it's call. The sky was worthy of a shot, which I took after 3 Turkey Vultures came by - could they already have smelled the ground squirrel ? The TV's didn't stick around long enough for any photos. The other birds I heard were Black-headed Chickadees, Western Wood Pewee, Golden-crowned Sparrow, some Red-winged Blackbirds and a Marsh Wren. One American Kestrel flew by. I also spotted one Cedar Waxwing on the same distant tree the oriole had been on.

On down SR 10, seeing lots of swallows at some of the cliffy areas - Tree & Violet Green and, at those white, sandy banks, some expected Bank Swallows - only photos I could get were of the one nest many of the birds were checking on (2) Saw a Golden Eagle above a cliff ridge, Black-billed Magpies, Mourning Doves and Brewer's Blackbirds. Again, some silhouetted blackish birds I photoed, turned out to include another BHGB, only noted upon doing some computer editing at home ! (3) A subtle rainbow prompted some shots (4)

Dinner was next, an eat&run (and a hum-along with the old 'mellow-rock' songs from the sixties) enjoyed at the Red Horse Diner.

Umptanum Road - checked on the GHOW nest, and didn't see any occupants - or, did I ? Check out the close-up photo... (5)

(6) are just 2 scenes along the road, before I encountered either the Western Kingbird on a wire (7) or the American Kestrel attacked (at least that's what it looked like), by a ... Mourning Dove ? (8) The dove flew right at the kestrel who was already perched on the utility pole. It then settled itself on a neighboring part of the same pole and they peacefully co-existed for a minute or two, interrupted by the sudden appearance of a larger bird, which I could not see well-enough or long-enough to ID - can any of you make out anything in my blurry photo of this bird ? (9)

I drove on to the Umtanum Falls Trail parking lot, as it was still light enough to look for more birds - I certainly could hear a lot of evening songs and calling, but, even when I caught sight of a few birds along the short stretch of trail I walked, I was unable to ID more than a Yellow Warbler and some Western Bluebirds. I sat in my camping chair in the parking lot for about 15 min., hoping for more sightings, but ended up being quite content to be surrounded by some peaceful end-o-day melodies.

The blissfully warm and almost breezeless day closed out with a pinch of pink and distant dark clouds. No rain, barely any highway traffic, and, once again a midnight hissing of one Barn Owlet from the doorway of the owlbox at Magnuson - this time I could see the owl - always a good way to end a nice day... :-)

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

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