[Tweeters] Late winter in Okanogan and Douglas Counties

byers345 at comcast.net byers345 at comcast.net
Sat Mar 13 09:39:44 PST 2021

Hi Tweeters,

Most people who ever wanted to see the specialty winter
birds of Okanogan and Douglas Counties had already visited this area of
Washington State once, if not several, times this winter. We are a little
shy of snow, so we finally made our first trip earlier this week. Our first
stop was at Pateros, where, without too much difficulty, we found the
Yellow-billed Loon feeding placidly on the Columbia River. Thanks to all of
you who said fairly precisely where you stood on the shore to see this bird!
There were lots of other waterfowl out on the river too, including a
rare-for-there Pacific Loon. From there we went to Twisp Park, where we
struck out on the Pine Grosbeaks that had been seen by Maxine Reid just the
day before. Our last stop of the day was Bridgeport State Park, where we
were very happy to see one of the Northern Saw-Whet Owls that winter there.

On Wednesday we spent a blindingly bright day (still lots of
snow there) in the Okanogan Highlands hunting for a number of specialties
that we mostly missed. We worked our way up to Molson, where we were going
to eat lunch at Sidley Lake. As we pulled into the little parking area by
the Sani-Can, there were a number of small birds feeding on the ground.
These all flushed and flew into a bush right behind the toilet. The birds
were a sizeable flock of Common Redpolls! This was certainly one of the
best sightings of our trip. While Bill made coffee, I quietly moved in to
where I could get some reasonably good shots of the Redpolls, which had all
returned to feeding on seeds on bushes by the lake.

As we were arriving in eastern Washington Tuesday, there had
been a slide, which completely closed Highway 2 for the foreseeable future,
I guess. So on Thursday, we drove up to the Waterville Plateau and exited
by driving down Moses Coulee and Palisades Roads. There we found a Prairie
Falcon, which I had been wanting to see.

I have put photos of these birds and more in a small
collection of photos that you can see through the attached link. The last
photo in the whole set are a pair of deer, I guess. But if they are fawns,
they look a little big-headed. Can anyone confirm that they are deer and
not elk?


I should reiterate that other birders' comments were
extremely helpful to me in knowing where to go to find some of these birds.
Maxine Reid, in particular, gave me a lot of invaluable tips! Thanks to you
all. Good birding! Charlotte Byers, Edmonds

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