[Tweeters] Okanogan Highlands today

Houghton, Jon Jon.Houghton at hartcrowser.com
Thu Jan 21 21:05:52 PST 2021

Hi Tweets- the Highlands were beautiful (as always) and sunny today with temperatures in the low 20s. (If you want to follow this saga, better break out the gazetteer.) Birding started out great on Fancher Rd. with flocks of Cal. Quail and lesser numbers of Chukar among the (increased numbers of?) cattle at the ranch. A Golden Eagle was perched on a snag high on the cliff and many Bald Eagles, with assistance of Ravens, were attending to an animal carcass at the fringes of the hundreds of cattle scattered over the flats. We then headed up Siwash Cr Rd, looking hard for Ruffed or Sharp-tailed Grouse in the shrubs and waterbirch along the creek. The only birds seen in the very scenic valley were (always exciting!?) Black-capped Chickadees and the ever-present Common Ravens. In the more open higher parts of the road we saw the first of several gorgeous Rough-legged Hawks, the most common raptor for the rest of the day. Also had a quick fly-by from a Clark's Nutcracker. We didn't see any more (non-raven) birds through the end of Siwash Rd. or along Havilla Rd. and up into the Sno-Park. (Note to owl-o-philes: two local skiers, who seemed to know birds, said they haven't heard of any Great Gray reports from this area since one was reported killed on the road a year ago. Sad.) Nothing special up Havilla Rd. to Nealy Rd where the feeders were well stocked but attracting only Am. Goldfinch, as far as we could see. We proceeded down Chesaw Rd. to 'town' and out Bolster Rd. (for a sunny lunch in the car, with a great view of Canada and some super bird habitat), and then up to the Chesaw Cemetery... all with the only newish bird, a Bald Eagle (but the day was spectacular!). From Chesaw, we went up to Mary Ann Cr. Rd. and drove all the way to and through sleepy Molson with the only new birds a small flock of Mountain Chickadees. Same story back down to Chesaw Rd. and
up to the north end of Havilla Rd. No Wild Turkey, no Snow Buntings up Teas Rd. Beautiful scenery. We decided to abandon birding and went back to the Sno-Park for a soothing sunset ski (secretly hoping, of course, that a Great Gray, or maybe a Northern Pygmy would show itself in the rosy crepuscular light). Happy Birding! Jon Houghton, Edmonds
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