[Tweeters] Douglas County Birding 2/12-2/14

Tim Brennan tsbrennan at hotmail.com
Mon Feb 15 10:04:53 PST 2021

Hi Tweets,

I made my February trip out to Douglas County on Friday-Sunday. Although the blog (www.douglascountybirding.blogspot.com) has not been updated yet, I thought I'd pass along sightings. Thanks to Matt Yawney and Joe Veverka for meeting up to do some birding - it was nice to have the extra eyes and ears along on much of the trip. The blog will be chronological, so I'll do a taxonomic recap here. Not every group, but ones of interest for the trip:

Geese: Plenty of Canada Geese to pick through at the Golf Course in Rock Island, at Bridgeport Bar, and from Coyote Dunes on the Apple Capital Loop Trail. The latter was where Joe and I found 6 Cackling Geese swimming mid-river.

Swans: 5 Tundra Swans (flyover) at Bridgeport Bar

Ducks: Nothing unusual here - scads of Ruddy Ducks, Greater Scaup, and Mallards were up at Bridgeport Bar, and I added Wood Duck for the year at Hammond Lake in Rock Island. Barrow's Goldeneye seems to be tougher nearly anywhere, and we did have one at Coyote Dunes.

Gallinaceous birds: Plenty of California Quail of course, and Matt and I think we got a recording of a Wild Turkey calling from the hillside across the freeway from the Bridgeport Bar Wildlife Area parking lot. Still no grouse of any sort for me for the year, nor pheasants, nor partridge, nor chukar!

Grebes and Loons: Just Horned and Common respectively, despite creative efforts to interpret the birds otherwise.

Gulls: Not even a Gull (sp?) for the trip. Snowy skies limited visibility on the Columbia at times.

Raptors: Golden Eagle on Central Ferry Canyon Road, and Bald Eagles (new for the year for me) everywhere. Rough-legged Hawks on the plateau, and Northern Harriers at Coyote Dunes and Palisades Road.

Owls: Matt and I had 3 Northern Saw-whet Owls at Bridgeport Bar Wildlife Area. No. . .not at Bridgeport Bar State Park where everyone goes to get them, but a bit upriver, and over on the Douglas side at the Grange Road parking area. We also had a male/female pair of Great Horned Owls calling at the same site, and a Snowy Owl North of Mansfield from B road.

Falcons: Plenty of Kestrels, but no other falcons for me on this trip. Gyrfalcon would be a lifer, so I'm hoping to find one this year!

Woodpeckers: Matt and I found flickers posing as birds from about 5 different taxonomic groups, including Flickerhawk, and Flickerthrush, but dipped on Flickerduck. Other than that: Downy at Bridgeport Bar, and Hairy on Central Ferry Canyon Road.

Various Wee Birds: Not that notable, but I was able to add both kinglets on Sunday. Golden-crowned at Lincoln Rock, and Ruby-crowned at the Big Bow Lake in Rock Island. Matt and I had both Bewick's and Pacific Wren at Bridgeport Bar, and got a White-breasted Nuthatch on Central Ferry Canyon Road.

American Dipper: at Lincoln Rock State Park, playing in the shallow water and rocks near the swimming area.

Thrushes: Hermit Thrush was the interesting find here. I got one at Hideaway Lake in Rock Island on Friday. Joe and I had 2-4 of them at Big Bow Lake, depending on how much the individuals were flying around. The trails at these lakes appear to be a good spot right now for them.

Finches: House Finch... and a couple American Goldfinches. Blah.

Snow Buntings: large flocks up on the plateau - sadly, there was almost always a truck driving by whenever we'd come across a good flock to photograph. No Longspurs or interesting finches were found in the flocks.

Sparrows: I struck out on Golden-crowned, but Matt and I found a small flock of American Tree Sparrows on Central Ferry Canyon, and a Fox Sparrow at Bridgeport Bar. Joe and I also found a Fox Sparrow at Big Bow Lake in Rock Island.

Icterids: Finally got my first on this trip: a few Red-winged Blackbirds here and there.

Overall, it was obviously a pretty snowy trip! Highway 2, incidentally, is not presently an option for getting from Orondo up to the Waterville Plateau, just in case anyone is headed up that way soon. Looks like that will be the case until some time in March because of a rock slide. The birds were pretty subdued at times, but there were a few early afternoon stretches of sun when they did become quite active.


Tim Brennan
tsbrennan at hotmail dot com

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