[Tweeters] Franklin and Columbia Co Migrants Plus Eclipse

plkoyama at comcast.net plkoyama at comcast.net
Tue Aug 22 11:11:16 PDT 2017

David and I were at a family event in Kennewick on the weekend and decided to stay in the area for a bit more “totality” eclipse coverage--95%, I think. We were at Sacajawea Park on the sidewalk (before the entry) along the river. It had been pretty birdy with passerines the prior afternoon, so we returned there to watch avian reactions. We saw minimal roosting behavior other than some waterfowl with tucked heads as the temp sunk to 66 and the frogs started “singing.” Remarkable to us was that rather than roosting and quieting in the oncoming dusk, the birds started singing like a dawn chorus. Singing stopped as the sun exposure increased. We had Spotted Sandpipers and a Wilson’s Snipe along the trail before the eclipse show.

We had hoped for new shorebirds in Benton and Franklin Counties, but this was a bust—the river was high with little mud exposed. Also, Bateman Island is closed indefinitely due to a human-caused fire in mid-July. Passerines were good at Palouse Falls on Sun 8/20, though—Lesser Goldfinches, Wilson’s Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Cassin’s Vireo. Plus a roosting Common Nighthawk. Then at Lyons Ferry SP, the empid flycatchers were good—Pacific Slope, Hammond’s, one Willow, and more Wilson’s Warblers.

Our real bonanza, was in Columbia Co where we followed Matt B’s posting re. MP 6 near Starbuck. The described field is well-flooded and there were numerous Killdeer, a Greater Yellowlegs and a peep. They all flushed and flew towards the town, so we went back to MP 7 where there were 2 good-sized muddy areas, as opposed to the soaked field and shallow “pond” at MP 6. In that one muddy spot we had Wilson’s Snipe, Least Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, in addition to hearing GRYEs calling in the field to the west. So rewarding! Matt, I imagine you check all along that area, right?

Scooteney Reservoir was dead, but we had a group of 4 Chukar and a nice pair of Red-eyed Vireos on Lower Crab Creek Rd on the long route home after the eclipse.
Penny Koyama, Bothell

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