[Tweeters] Washington Ornithological Society trip to Kittitas 29
March 2019 (long)
B P Bell
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Sat Mar 30 14:57:34 PDT 2019
Yesterday, WOS led a trip to Kittitas County for Sage Birds. We met early in
Issaquah and picked up AMERICAN ROBIN, SONG SPARROW and WHITE-CROWNED
SPARROW in the dark. It was slightly overcast and about 45F when we left. It
was a slow day on I-90 up to Snoqualmie Pass, temperature dropped to 35F,
and usually we would see a crow or raven, but nothing yesterday. The lack of
activity held at Snoqualmie.
As we worked our way down the Pass the clouds broke up (mostly) and around
Cle Elum, at the ponds, we saw COMMON MERGANSER, BUFFLEHEAD, GREAT BLUE
HERON, AMERICAN KESTREL, and CANADA GOOSE. Further east on the bar ponds
outside of Ellensburg we found MALLARD, RED-TAILED HAWK, COMMON RAVEN,
AMERICAN CROW, BALD EAGLE, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, TRUMPETER SWAN, and
In the town of Kittitas (we were in overcast skies now and the temp was at
39F), we saw HOUSE SPARROW, EUROPAN STARLING, EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, HOUSE
FINCH, and BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE. Along Caribou Rd. there were EUROPEAN
STARLING, RED-TAILED HAWK, HOUSE FINCH, AMERICAN ROBIN, MOURNING DOVE,
CALIFORNIA QUAIL and EURASIAN COLLARED DOVE.
Along the Vantage Hwy we saw RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, HOUSE SPARROW, EURASIAN
COLLARED-DOVE, RED-TAILED HAWK, AMERICAN ROBIN. We took our usual detour on
Parke Creek Rd, and found RED-TAILED HAWK, EUROPEAN STARLING, CALIFORNIA
QUAIL, KILLDEER, and at the pond SAVANNAH SPARROW, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD,
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (first of season), WILSON'S SNIPE (first heard
winnowing overhead and then chirping while perched on a fence post - there
were at least three - first time in a few years in an area where they used
to be usual), AMERICAN KESTREL (a pair), CANADA GOOSE, BREWER'S BLACKBIRD,
MALLARD, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, and ROCK PIGEON.
We made a stop at Wild Horse and had amazing views of a nicely perched
SAGEBRUSH SPARROW, less satisfactory but adequate looks at BREWER'S SPARROW,
very distant views of SAGE THRASHER (and a few could hear it singing), nice
looks at MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD (at least one pair) and COMMON RAVEN. It was
excellent to finally have the expected sage birds back!. Down the hill at
the Quilomene Wildlife Area (lower lot), we heard the same birds (Sagebrush
Sparrow, Brewer's Sparrow, Sage Thrasher). Just before the Quilomene we had
a pair of MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDs on a wire and heard VESPER SPARROW. It was
noticeable that we had NO wind - quite enjoyable, if unusual.
On Recreation Road/Rocky Coulee, we saw SAY'S PHOEBE, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW,
HOUSE FINCH, and WESTERN MEADOWLARK, and on the river BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON
GOLDENEYE, WESTERN GREBE. Up the hill at the Ginko Petrified State Forest
State Park we had SAY'S PHOEBE (some evidence of exploring their nesting
spot at the Interpretive Center), AMERICAN KESTREL, on the river GREATER
SCAUP, RUDDY DUCK, COMMON LOON, and COMMON RAVEN.
We made a lunch stop at the Wanapam unit of the State Park and saw
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, AMERICAN ROBIN, RUDDY DUCK, KILLDEER, AMERICAN
GOLDFINCH, DARK-EYED JUNCO, and unidentified gull, BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE,
EUROPEAN STARLING, HOUSE FINCH, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW, and as we drove up the
hill CHUKAR crossed the road. We went up top and from a spot on Huntzinger
Rd. we got more looks (although brief) at the Chukar. Along the road we saw
GREATER SCAUP, CANADA GOOSE, RED-TAILED HAWK.
At the Cove there were AMERICAN COOT, GREATER SCAUP, COMMON GOLDENEYE, and
BUFFLEHEAD. At the Huntzinger Boat Launch there were GREATER SCAUP (good
numbers), BARROW'S GOLDENEYE (distant on the other side of the river),
COMMON GOLDENEYE, HORNED GREBE, COMMON LOON, and COMMON MERGANSER.
At the pond on the north side of I-90 west of Kittitas we saw MALLARD,
RING-NECKED DUCK, AMERICAN WIGEON, GREATER SCAUP (a good sized flock),
COMMON MERGANSER, HOODED MERGANSER, TUNDRA SWAN, GADWALL, RED-TAILED HAWK,
BUFFLEHEAD, and BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE. It was still overcast, the temperature
was 50F and we were picking up a few sprinkles (even needed to turn on the
At the Bar 14 pond we saw GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, COMMON GOLDENEYE,
GREEN-WINGED TEAL, RING-NECKED DUCK, RUDDY DUCK, LESSER SCAUP, and ROCK
PIGEON. On SR97 we had EUROPEAN STARLING, and RED-TAILED HAWK. On Bettas
Road there were AMERICAN KESTREL, AMERICAN ROBIN, and HOUSE SPARROW.
We stopped at Burke Road and were looking for AMERICAN DIPPER, not finding
one, but then we heard one singing from underneath the bridge over Swauk
Creek. It flew out and perched for about five minutes on a large bolder.
There was also a NORTHERN FLICKER present.
On Swauk Prairie Rd. we saw AMERICAN ROBIN, WESTERN BLUEBIRD, WESTERN
MEADOWLARK, an absolutely gorgeous ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE
and RED-TAILED HAWK. On Ballard Hill Rd. we saw AMERICAN ROBIN (there were
several hundred seen during the day), BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE, HOUSE SPARROW. ON
Red Bridge Rd. there was another ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK, AMERICAN ROBIN, CANADA
WESTERN BLUEBIRD, STELLER'S JAY and RED-TAILED HAWK.
We made our final stop at the Railroad Ponds (where it had cleared and had
sunshine and 59F) outside of Cle Elum and saw RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, PYGMY
NUTHATCH, and WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH ( a triple play), RING-NECKED DUCK,
MALLARD, AMERICAN CROW, CANADA GOOSE, NORTHERN FLICK, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD,
MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE and CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE
(another trifecta), TURKEY VULTURE, COMMON MERGANSER, GREATER SCAUP and
We finished the day with 73 species, good comradeship and excellent birders.
Brian H. Bell
Mail to bell asoc a t iso me dia dot com
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