[Tweeters] Cassin's Finches in the Wenas

Andy Stepniewski steppie at nwinfo.net
Wed May 17 08:01:53 PDT 2017

Good Morning Tweeters,

Cassin's Finches first made my radar towards the end of March this year when I noted James Cummins entered 100 birds on a hike in the Mud Lake area (beginning of the Chinook Pass Highway). He also said, "there could have been 1000." A number of other checklists have had 16-40 of these pretty birds in various parts of the nearby Wenas Creek region. Ellen and I, along with Brian Pendleton and Darchelle Worley birded the Wenas Crrek Region 14 May and had numerous Cassin's Finches at every stop. As we drove the roads, small flocks of these birds would fly up from the ground into the Ponderosa Pines or Aspens. At stops, there was a near-constant din of calls and song from Cassin's. I've been visiting this region for more than 35 years and am certain this is the most Cassin's Finches I've seen and heard there. There are also a few Evening Grosbeaks with most groups of these finches, normally only a pass-through migrant in the Ponderosa Pine Zone in the Wenas. However, we tallied only a few Red Crossbills during our birding in the Wenas. All these finches makes me wonder what the attraction, foodwise, that might be. Any ideas from Tweeter readers?

Birders headed to Wenas Creek this spring are in for a treat with scads of Cassin's Finches along with the long list of other cool birds found along the lower east slopes of the Cascades in May and June.

Andy Stepniewski
Wapato WA
steppie at nwinfo.net

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