[Tweeters] On topic/off topic--birding in Washington and the western US!

byers345 at comcast.net byers345 at comcast.net
Sat Jun 26 20:10:50 PDT 2021

Hello Tweeters,

Beginning on June 8 Bill and I embarked on the longest trip
of just driving and birding that we had done in many years. We spent the
first 6 days in Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties. Our
goal here was to find a few birds that we hadn't seen in a while. My main
aim is to find the birds. Bill's main aim is to get a good photograph.
Beyond Washington, we drove to northeast Colorado, via Montana and Wyoming,
to visit relatives. On the return trip we went through Utah, Idaho, and

Up until now, in all the places we have stayed on short
trips, people were very careful about masking and social distancing. On
this trip all the motels allowed people who had been vaccinated for COVID to
go maskless. Restaurants do this too, of course, or you couldn't eat there.
In Washington the staff in these places still wore masks, but once into
Montana, people were so done with masks and social distancing. We were so
glad we had had our shots! In Colorado we ate in a wonderful restaurant,
but the place was packed and no one wore masks. It's been a week and a half
and so far we are OK! I mention all this just for general information in
case you are planning to travel.

The best birding on this trip was at the Beaver Pond trail
near Sun Mountain Lodge, Winthrop. So many accessible birds! Another
wonderful place is the bridge over the Calispell River on the West Side Road
in Pend Oreille County. On our return trip, had time to stop at the Bear
River Migratory Bird Refuge near Ogden, Utah. We had never been there
before and did the auto tour. It was hot and the canals near the auto tour
route were all drying up. Dead and dying carp were everywhere. The birds,
particularly the gulls, loved the dead carp. Farther on we reached bigger
bodies of water. These appeared shallow and will probably dry up too in a
few weeks. I don't know if this is something that happens every summer at
this location.

Many hundreds of wading birds, ducks, and gulls and a few
passerines were living in this refuge. The Clark's and Western Grebes had
all nested in the area and many had chicks that they appeared to be feeding
brine shrimp (maybe?) There were also avocet chicks. There were probably
over 1,000 White-faced Ibis. All together we saw 38 species. Many, like
the ibis, we may see once or twice in a year, but there they were
commonplace. This was a satisfying birding experience.

Back in Washington 2 days later, our last stop was at the
home of Walter Szeliga, in Ellensburg. The wind was blowing a steady 45 mph
and the Costa's Hummingbird that had been visiting his feeders for a week,
was sheltering out of the wind. Walter very patiently looked for it until
he found it in the bare branches of a tree out of the wind. We saw it there
and briefly at his feeder. So we returned home with another Washington state
life bird as the last bird of the trip. Many thanks to Walter!

Since Bill and I did take a lot of pictures, I have put
together a Flickr album of this road trip. The photos are in chronological
order. Each photo has the information about where and when it was taken. I
continue to create these albums because I keep meeting people out birding
who tell me that they have enjoyed our photos. So here is another batch:


Stay cool and happy birding, Charlotte Byers, Edmonds

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