[Tweeters] Okanagan Again

Jon Houghton jon.houghton at hartcrowser.com
Sun Dec 15 18:02:55 PST 2019

Hi Tweets - This morning, we headed over the mountains to see if we might find a few birds that have eluded us this year. No luck yet with that, but a gorgeous day on Badger Mt. and the Waterville plateau with all vegetation and structure covered in a lovely rime ice flock. A few Horned Larks were seen along with several Rough-legged Hawks. Leaving the Plateau and dropping through some fog on Bridgeport Hill Rd, we found the day's highlight in the first Grove of waterbirch. About a dozen Sharp-tailed Grouse were budding in trees right next to the road, in good light, affording me my best ever photos of this exceptional species. On to Bridgeport State Park, where we'd hoped to find a No. Saw-whet Owl. We we were quite dismayed to see that State Parks has trimmed off many of the lower whorls of branches in trees where we've found owls in the past. No hint of owls in these trees. A couple of large firs in the far reaches of the park still had dense lower branches and lots of 'paint' (as Mike Denny calls it) but diligent searching up into the branches failed to find the source. We did, however, find a Barred Owl, perhaps the one Blair found here last week. So...we wonder if the presence of the Barred may be making the little owls harder to find?!? Up to the Highlands tomorrow, hoping for more owls, and that the colder weather has brought in some finches! Happy Birding - Jon Houghton, Edmonds

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