[Tweeters] Seattle/North Central Washington Audubon Okanogan and Waterville plateau

kelsberg at u.washington.edu kelsberg at u.washington.edu
Mon Feb 29 10:05:51 PST 2016

This weekend, Seattle and North Central Washington Audubon chapters collaborated on a (late) winter field trip to the Okanogan highlands and the Waterville plateau. This year, spring is coming much earlier than last year, so while we didn't see a number of our hoped-for winter birds (Sharp-tailed Grouse weren't up in the birch trees since most of the snow was melted), we did see early spring birds: Say's Phoebes were singing in abundance, and both Mountain and Western Bluebirds were vivid in the sunny weather. We managed to get all two dozen birders to have decent looks at a Northern Goshawk in Conconully, and at one of several Northern Pygmy Owls which caught and ate a (Long-tailed?) vole near the Nealy Rd feeders. We had good looks at Pine Grosbeaks (the Havillah Snow Park and along Mary Ann Creek Rd), a Northern Saw Whet owl (the "kitten of the bird world" - at Bridgeport State Park), and some Northern Shrikes. Other highlights included three falcon species (Prairie, Pere!
grine, and many American Kestrels), quite a few Rough-legged Hawks, and many Bald Eagles. The melting snow made AWD vehicles essential (deeply rutted and very muddy roads), and also exposed the extent of the widespread fires that burned this area in the summer.
One of the purposes of the combined field trip was to promote friendship among birders on both sides of the Cascades, and we certainly had a congenial group! We were treated very well by our hosts at the Omak Inn and the Breadline, and by the owners of feeders on Nealy Rd and at Knob Hill Forge. Big thanks to Allisa Carlson and Mark Johnston, who coordinated the Omak/Okanogan/Wenatchee/Leavenworth contingent, and my wife, Sarah Safranek, who helped me with our Seattle folks, and also to all of our attendees, who were uniformly cheerful and supportive, as well as expert spotters! And thanks to Khan Tranh, with his useful pointers, inspiring bird-finding skills, and perennial grin!

Gary Kelsberg, Seattle
kelsberg at yew dot warshington dot eee dee yew

More information about the Tweeters mailing list