[Tweeters] East side trip yesterday

Jon Houghton jon.houghton at hartcrowser.com
Fri Apr 12 21:14:31 PDT 2019

Hi Tweets - I expect some of you fellow West-Siders may be thinking about a trip over the mountains in the next few days so wanted to report on a great trip that 4 of us (w. Ann Marie Woods, Sherrill Miller, and Frank Caruso) made yesterday (April 11). Our first stop was in Kittitas County's Parke Road pond where we found the first of many Yellow-headed Blackbirds and winnowing Wilson's Snipe. The Wind Farm road was cold and mostly bird-free, but for distant songs of Sage Thrasher. This bird seemed to be the dominant bird as we progressed down the Old Vantage Highway. Quilomene was chilly in the morning wind and only brief glimpses of Brewer's Sparrow and Sage Thrasher were offered. Mt. Bluebirds were relatively few, but present, along with a Loggerhead Shrike, on the wires as we proceeded down to Recreation Road. Fire damage, so evident in the blackened hills three weeks ago has been greened over by a spring cover of grasses - some balsam root were in bloom and maybe more flowers will show in the near future. Nothing special showed around the Ginko SP boat launch, campground, or visitor center, but there were Redheads on the river. We then crossed the bridge on I-90 and exited at Silica Road where we found FOY Rough-winged and Cliff Swallows, along with a very vocal pair of Sora. Frenchman's Coulee yielded only distant views of White-throated Swifts and no Rock or Canyon wrens, despite teasing calls from us in a few places. We could find no LB Curlews along the North Frontage Road, but as we approached Rocky Ford on Trout Farm (Hatchery) Road, we all heard the distinctive call of one or more curlews when we stopped at a small pond along the access road. Before this, we had been fortunate to have great views of a Burrowing Owl, perched on a boulder on the east side of Rt. 17, about 1 mile south of the turn to Trout Farm (Hatchery) Rd. where Blair Bernson had seen one a couple of days earlier. Another BUOW was perched up on a boulder alongside the steep banked part of the west end of the road. From Rocky Ford, we beat feet south on SR 17, all the way to Othello, with a brief visit to the bridge over Lind Coulee (north on Rd. M SE, off of SR 262) where we found essentially nothing. Taking Lee Rd. west off Rt. 17, brought us to McManamon Rd and the grain complex at the north end of the Othello industrial complex. Before we got to the gate, we were overwhelmed with the vision of multitudes of Tri-colored Blackbirds, 50 at least, mixed with a few Yellow-headed and Brewers. Para Ponds was very high, with a variety of waterfowl, including Cinnamon Teal and at least a thousand Cacklers, but no shorebirds. County Line ponds was less high, and in addition to another thousand or so Cacklers had two Black-necked Stilts and a couple hundred Sand-hill Cranes, all taking off in small groups from a nearby field and heading north. A Loggerhead Shrike was also hunting north of the north pond. A final treat on the way home was a Great-horned Owl on a nest on Brickmill Road north of Ellensberg and two Swainson's Hawks along the roadside. Over 70 spp. for the day and many FOY for all (2 lifers for Sherrill!). Happy Birding! - Jon Houghton, Edmonds

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