[Tweeters] Columbia River bottoms yesterday

Jon Houghton jon.houghton at hartcrowser.com
Thu Mar 15 11:24:57 PDT 2018


Hi Tweeterdom - Yesterday, Sherrill Miller, Frank Caruso and I made a quick trip to Vancouver (WA) and Ridgefield NWR. We managed to dodge most of the showers during the birding part of the day and enjoyed warm sunshine, calm winds, and many singing birds on Lower River Rd. We drove the road past Frenchman's Bar north to the closed gate and walked the road a few hundred yards beyond the gate to gain views of the ponds Our primary target here was the Snowy Egret, of which we got definitive scope views as it perched in a tree adjacent to the ponds some distance to the east. Surprisingly, there were no Great Egrets here, but a major phenomenon was the thousands of cacklers and many hundreds of Sandhill Cranes (nearer to Frenchman's Bar); the latter were mostly in a dense flock that turned a large field of corn stubble quite gray, reminiscent of upper Crab Creek near Othello in a week or two. We also found 5 species of woodpeckers, many sparrows, and Yellow-rump Warblers, some in breeding plumage and singing brightly. We tabbed just shy of 50 species in a little under 2 hours here.

We then moved north a bit to the Ridgefield River S unit where our prime target was the Red-shoulder Hawk, a lifer for Sherrill. This was found pretty easily just south of the observation blind. Other nice birds here were Great Egret (only 2!), Wilson's Snipe (>14 at post 5), and a variety of other water associated birds and a few passerines. The woods around the blind was alive with Yellow-rumps! In two loops of the road, we tallied about 45 species, including several FOY for all!! On the drive back north, to try and wait out the worst of Seattle traffic, we stopped in Tacoma to look for gulls at Gog-Li-Hi-Te and 11th Street. No exotic gulls, but we did find one exotic and very helpful Shep. All in all, another great birding venture in fine company! - Happy birding - Jon Houghton, Edmonds
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