[Tweeters] Okanogan Early Spring - Day 1

Jon Houghton jon.houghton at hartcrowser.com
Wed Feb 24 19:11:13 PST 2016

Hi Tweets! - Kathleen and I headed east (not too early) this am, in time to stop on a totally traffic (but not Horned Lark) free H Road, north off of 172, just east of Mansfield. Meredith Spencer had reported Snowy Owls over the last week-plus on either side of H, between 15th and 17th. Since it was getting towards lunch, we found a place on the side of the (paved) road just on a down slope after the highest rise just north of 15th. Before eating, we glassed the vast expanse of snow covered fields and rock piles all around us. In the most distant rock pile to the east, I noticed an anomalous vertical white blob, probably at least ¼ mile away. In the scope, it proved to be the Snowy we were seeking! Feeling pretty good, we sat in the car and ate lunch, watching a few Ravens moving around us and an occasional Horned Lark flitting by.
After eating, I got out of the car and rescanned the scene. Our first Owl was still in his pile of rocks on the horizon, but I caught sight of another in a much closer rock pile in the never-ending wheat field!! This one was actually close enough for a photo - yet undetectable with the (my) naked eye. Thanks to Meredith for causing us to stop in the right place!! By the way, in the 45 minutes we were there - no vehicles passed in either direction! Gotta love that.
The rest of the day continued with great E-Wash scenery but no more target birds. In Conconully, the best we could find was a lot of Eurasian Collared Doves, a few Cal. Quail, House Finches, Mountain Chickadee (and Black Capped), many Red-breasted Nuthatches, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Highlands tomorrow. Happy Birding! - Jon Houghton, Edmonds

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