[Tweeters] Okanogan 2/2 and 2/3

Gary A Kelsberg kelsberg at uw.edu
Wed Feb 3 20:14:39 PST 2021

We drove through heavy snow over Blewett Pass on Tuesday hoping for clear weather on the Waterville plateau, but a large rockslide blocked Hwy 2 between Orondo and Waterville. We circled around through Brewster and drove the paved roads south, west, and north of Mansfield hoping to see Snowy Owls on snowy fields (others have reported them). We did find a Peregrine and half a dozen Rough-legged Hawks, plus many Horned Larks. Another birding couple we encountered at Bridgeport State Park said they also saw Snow Buntings.
We saw three Saw-whet and two Great Horned Owls in the trees at the park.

Wednesday was bright and sunny in the Okanogan Highlands and we saw several Bald Eagles and a Golden Eagle along Fancher Road, and some Gray Partridges (we had to turn around and approach from the eastern end of Fancher due to deep mud).

The Highlands snow park was quiet except for little birds (White-breasted and Red-breasted Nuthatches, Mountain Chickadees and a distant woodpecker with a tantalizing tapping pattern), plus a boldly perched Northern Pygmy Owl. We enjoyed chatting with various masked people at their activities in the area but saw few birds, except for a flock of about 50 White-winged Crossbills feeding avidly on the cones of dead-appearing trees. Very few hawks in the highlands today, with large songbirds dominating (Common Ravens).

Gary Kelsberg
kelsberg at yew dot warshington dot ee-dew

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