[Tweeters] Salmo Mountain and Northeastern Washington Report

B B birder4184 at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 2 10:06:35 PDT 2016

I am just back from a shorter than planned visit to Northeastern Washington.  Although the visit included observations of the "specialties", poor weather took a lot of the enjoyment out of the experience and I came home early.  Some notes:
No snow yet but lots of rain and wind which made the miles (more than 80 miles on unpaved roads) sloppy.  I birded Bunchgrass Meadows, Salmo Mountain, Sullivan Lake and a new road for me, Highline Road.
I found a total of SIX Three Toed Woodpeckers.  Three at one spot on Salmo, two at Bunchgrass and a flyover on Highline.  No other Woodpeckers anywhere.
All four species of Chickadees...some Boreal's at each location.  My usual experience has been that Boreal Chickadees remain high and do not come down for playback.  No change this year.
Despite comments from the five hunters I met that "Grouse are everywhere" I found only one grouse - flushed a male Spruce Grouse less than a mile up Highline.  I spent hours looking and this was a major disappointment.  BTW I saw no other birders and the hunters were all good folks and interested in my birding.
Salmo Mountain was tough.  I have had "heard only" Boreal Owl observations there each of the past 4 years and a photo was the top priority this year.  Not to be.  5 hours there included hail, heavy rain, wind, sunshine and a single Boreal Owl...skiew call twice.  
Coming down from Salmo, two young Moose bounded out onto the road in front of me.  One was fairly intelligent (for a moose) and relatively quickly got off the road.  The other remained in front of me for over a mile and just would not get off regardless of what tactic I used.  Cool but worrisome.
Other wildlfe notes:. Several deer and little else BUT ranger/hunters I met said there are many bear including recently seen Grizzlies and also lots of Cougars. Hopes for one to bound out on road for me were not met.
Other: flyover of Goshawk on road to Bunchgrass - only hawk seen; Crossbills but none with white on wings; a few Gray Jays but no Nutcrackers; several Dippers; no Waxwings or Rosy Finches.
The weather really was a downer.  Even when not raining there were drips constantly falling from trees.  All that said...beautiful area and there is always the chance for something special around every corner.

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