[Tweeters] Sprague Lake and Pend Oreille County - including a Possible Alder Flycatcher

B B birder4184 at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 18 21:41:06 PDT 2018

On Saturday I did a crazy long day of birding that included a great stop at Sprague Lake (Both Lincoln and Adams Counties) and then on to Pend Oreille County.  I try to do this every year both for special birds of interest and also because it is such a beautiful area.
Highlights at Sprague Lake included 9 duck species, my first ever view (and very cute photo) of a baby Black Necked Stilt, a close up of a White Faced Ibis, a Black Crowned Night Heron, 3 Common Nighthawks, Grasshopper and Vesper Sparrows and 13 easy to find Black Terns in the marshy area at the west end of the Lake in Adams County.  
In Pend Oreille County I birded around Calispell Lake and then north to the area around Cusick and Usk and a few miles north.  This area is always good for Red Eyed Vireo, Northern Waterthrush (at the bridge on Westside Calispell Road) and American Redstart.  There were more than I usually find of all of these on Saturday.  Usually I can find a hummingbird feeder with a good chance of Black Chinned Hummingbird.  Of the five feeders I found only one had any hummers - a single Black Chinned.  I spoke with the homeowners (very bird friendly) and they said that the hummers were fewer this year than usual.
The fields in and around Usk and Cusick are my go to spot for Bobolinks - a very favorite bird.  I found several displaying and singing in several locations.  One field has a "For Sale" sign and I have a picture of one Bobolink on the sign - the second year in a row with a bird on the same sign.
Near Cusick I had a flycatcher that seemed too small for Western Wood Pewee but my photo said that is what it had to be.  I had heard many previously.  This one was silent and did not respond to playback.  A bit further north on Kirchan Road I heard what at the time seemed to be a "different" Willow Flycatcher. I had heardothers earlier in the day and was concentrating more on finding more Bobolinks. When I heard this call I playedWillow Flycatcher and got no response or movement. After I stopped playing, a fewminutes later it called again and it sounded more like "fits - ber"than "fitz - bew" but I was not thinking of anything other thanWillow so left it at that and moved on. 
This morning I saw the following message and report from Jon Isacoffregarding an Alder Flycatcher he had seen and recorded at a location in thevicinity where I heard this flycatcher (but across and thus on the east side ofthe Pend Oreille River). "Adding to a niceregional trend I located a singing ALDER FLYCATCHER in Pend Oreille Co. thismorning.  The location is on the Dike Rd., 4 miles North of CalispellTribal headquarters in Usk.  The bird is at the North corner (90 degreeturn South) of the road.  This location is tribal property so please berespectful for any seeking to chase the bird.  If accepted by the WBRCthis would be the 5th record for WA and the 2nd for Pend Oreille Co., where thelast bird was found in 2014.  (Apologies — location is 2 miles North of the Tribal HQ and 4miles North of the Usk bridge)."
Shame on me, but I had not thought about Alder Flycatcher on Saturday -my error as I have actually seen one with Jon in 2013 and then another in theScotia area in 2014 as well as many in Maine. I have listened to Jon'srecordings and to the recordings on IBird Pro and Sibley's. It would have beenfar better to have listened to them contemporaneously in the field on Saturday- but at least at this time, the calls sound similar to what I thought I heardon Saturday. If I had not read Jon's report, I would not have even thoughtabout Alder Flycatcher - but the place and timing are at least coincidental -so at best this is a "maybe", but Tweeters readers should know about Jon's find in any event.  There have also been reports from nearby Idaho. - Not a definitive ID for sure, but maybe if someone is in thearea, they can check it out.  Definitely check Jon's.
In any event, I highly recommend the Pend Oreille area - really beautiful and very birdy.  All told I had over 70 species for the day without trying for a high count.

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