[Tweeters] Benton/Franklin Bonanza

plkoyama at comcast.net plkoyama at comcast.net
Tue Sep 25 11:07:13 PDT 2018

Phainopepla notwithstanding, David and I decided to stick with our plan to head for Benton/Franklin in hopes of scoring some county birds by way of fall migrants. We took the super-long way over to hit Walla Walla Pt. Park in Wenatchee, where we, along with Ann Marie Wood and Steve Pink, got the gnatcatcher and a Common Tern (thanks, Steve!), but found no LBB Gull or BB Plover.

We’ve never had much luck with shorebirds in Benton, so following an earlier post by Jason Fidorra, we headed for Richland’s Yakima Delta, driving along the Prius-unfriendly road all the way to the end. When we got there, what I initially thought was a patch of wet grass turned out to be 40 or so LB Dowitchers and one Lesser Yellowlegs. As we drove back, we scoped the river and noted a spit full of gulls and shorebirds off Bateman Island, but it was too far to i.d. anything other than stilts and more dowitchers. So we drove back to the parking area, hauled out the scopes and headed out to the end of the island trail. This turned out to be an overshoot of the spit, so we started bushwhacking back, exploring the wooded area (I mean that area with “real” trees with big trunks, not just Russian Olives!) until we found a clear area close to the water. This must be Benton Co.’s Bottle Beach—it was great!

Here is a list of the shorebirds we saw there: Tens of LB Dowitchers, 2 Sanderlings, a few Western Sands and a couple each of Least and Semipalm Sands, 2 Wilson’s Snipes, 1 Pectoral Sand, Greater Yellowlegs, BN Stilt, and while we were still at the end of the trail, 1 Spotted Sand. To add to the fun, there was a GH Owl flying amongst the trees both to and from our exploration that lead to the water’s edge. The only thing missing were some dramatic gulls, but you can’t have everything!

We then went to Franklin Co’s Palouse Falls and Lyon’s Ferry State Pks. Lyon’s Ferry had lots of YR Warblers, but also a few Wilson’s and down by the old ferry dock, there was a Townsend’s and a yellowthroat. There were scads of RC Kinglets in both places. I didn’t know they “massed up” like this—we’ve never seen anything like it. Each place also held a couple of Lincoln’s Sparrows, and at Lyon’s Ferry a couple of GC Sparrows.

It was a great 2 days of fall birding though with beautiful weather and no smoke!!
Penny Koyama, Bothell
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