[Tweeters] 4/21/18 SAS Field Trip to Kittitas, Grant, Adams

jen kunitsugu beddove at gmail.com
Mon Apr 23 10:41:19 PDT 2018


On Saturday April 21st, Jordan Gunn and I led an enthusiastic group on
a Seattle Audubon field trip through Kittitas, Grant and Adams
counties. We were rewarded with 96 species for the day and had a
number of highlights, including an unexpected for the location
White-headed Woodpecker at Railroad Ponds in Cle Elum, a late
Rough-legged Hawk at Quilomene WMA, Tricolored Blackbirds at Para
Ponds, and an embarrassment of Loggerhead Shrikes along Lower Crab
Creek Road (10 total).

Railroad Ponds was sunny but windy with spitting rain/snow, but we
were able to get great looks at the White-headed Woodpecker in a pine
just past the Pygmy Nuthatch snags. Four Pygmy Nuthatches were
observed, one entering a nest cavity in one of the snags further down
the road. Mountain Chickadees were also cooperative, and Northern
Rough-winged Swallows were the most abundant swallow species.

Proceeding to the Teanaway American Dipper bridge (Highway 10), we
were treated to two adults actively fishing and feeding young (many
excited peeps from the nest under the bridge). One adult displayed the
interesting feeding technique of “tenderizing” the fish against the

Quilomene WMA was windy, but we managed to pick up Sage Thrasher,
Vesper Sparrow, Brewer’s Sparrow, Mountain Bluebird, and Rough-legged

No Great Horned Owls in the basalt cliff nesting spot along Old
Vantage Highway, so we proceeded to Gingko, where we had a Say's
Phoebe calling from the cliffs and a nice close-in mixed flock of
passerines (Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Brown Creeper,
etc.) at the lower campground and a group of Chukar on the road up to
the overlook.

Huntzinger Road was slow (although a pair of American Kestrel
harassing a Northern Harrier was fun to watch), so we crossed the
river, and had four Long-billed Curlew in the agricultural fields
along the right side of Highway 26.

County Line Ponds didn't disappoint. In addition to Black-necked
Stilts and American Avocets, there were about 25 Sandhill Cranes.

Para/McCain's Ponds was hopping - Tri-colored Blackbird, Yellow-headed
Blackbird, American White Pelican, Great Egret, Ruddy Duck, and many
others.We chatted with a McCain's employee who described seeing a
(likely) Black-crowned Night-Heron in the wetlands a little further
down the road.

Two Burrowing Owls were present at LeMaster Road.

We didn't "shrike out" at Lower Crab Creek Road, with 10 total (all
Loggerhead), as well as plenty of Western Meadowlark and White-crowned
Sparrows. Chukar, Ring-necked Pheasant and California Quail provided a
good showing as well. A couple of people in our group got on a
probable Golden Eagle, which disappeared into the cliffs just west of
the salt pans. It may be nesting there.

We didn't have much warbler or sparrow diversity (Audubon's
Yellow-rumped Warblers and Gambel's White-crowned Sparrows dominated),
and notably missed Swainson's Hawk and Rock Wren, but all in all, it
was a long, rewarding day with a fun group and some nice birds.

Good birding,
Jen Kunitsugu

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