[Tweeters] Salmo Birding - Part 2

B B birder4184 at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 19 10:47:37 PDT 2015

I forgot to add earlier that at Salmo on Friday afternoon we had another flock (maybe 2) of Gray Crowned Rosy Finches.
Saturday we retraced our steps to Bunchgrass Meadows hoping for better looks/photos of Boreal Chickadee 3 Toed WP, more grouse and hopefully some White Winged Crossbills.  Our plan was to bird there several hours and then return to Ione for a midday nap and then head back to Salmo - arriving later for maybe a different owling experience.
Saturday was gorgeous and the glorious yellows of the Aspens and Larch against the green of the evergreens was incredible.  BUT - the birding was extremely slow - a single Ruffed Grouse, a Pileated Woodpecker and very few birds in general.  We returned to Ione for lunch (the pizza place was closed so we visited the food market again) a brief rest and then a return to Bunchgrass figuring maybe the afternoon would be better.  Not so. We had a very unexpected (and out of season) Hermit Thrush and many Mountain and Chestnut Backed Chickadees but the Boreals were heard only.  Again a Ruffed Grouse and very little else.  So back again to Salmo where it was almost birdless and definitely owl-less.  Sunday was to be our day of departure but we had that morning so the plan was to return to Salmo a last time and concentrate on chickadees etc,
Sunday was overcast and even a few rain drops in the morning but this proved to help the birding.  At Salmo we had more Boreal Chickadees (I even got a decent photo), 5+ Pine Grosbeaks, two overhead flocks of mixed White Winged and Red Crossbills, a Merlin, a Sharp Shinned Hawk, Pine Siskins, Gray and Steller's Jays, and two Northern Pygmy Owls, one of which came in relatively close and posed atop a tree tooting at us.
At noon we headed back to civilization.  All told we had around 40 species with the highlights being the Boreal Owls and Boreal Chickadees, the spectacular Spruce Grouse, the Rosy Finches and Pine Grosbeaks, the Pygmy Owls and the White Winged Crossbills (even if distant - but very cool to hear their calls and even some singing).  It was also fun to have the Chickadee Grand Slam as a couple of Black Caps and a couple of small groups of Chestnut Backs added to the many Mountains and the Boreals.
Our last shared birding experience was not so great - the Seahawks dismal performance...ugh!
Truly a beautiful area with great birds.  Amazing that there has been NO snow there.  In other visits even in September I have had snow to contend with.  Again Mega-Khanh was great - sorry to say goodbye as we dropped him off at his car where he left it in Vantage.

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