[Tweeters] A few sightings in SE WA this weekend [Garfield Co mostly]

Matt Bartels mattxyz at earthlink.net
Mon May 31 10:08:03 PDT 2021

Hi all -
I spent Fri-Sun over in the SE corner of the state, checking out various spots, mostly in Asotin & Garfield Counties - Garfield is always a fun county to bird in because digging up unexpected birds always takes a lot of luck and work.

Friday 5/29 - After enjoying 38 White-faced Ibis at the Walla Walla Confluence, and then striking out on the 9-mile Canyon Black-throated Sparrow, but enjoying my year Ferruginous Hawk in Walla Walla Co., I headed almost directly to Garfield Co.

At Central Ferry, an American Avocet [code 5, nearing code 4] was feeding along the shore edge.

Sat 5/29 - I headed south from Clarkston, up to Field Springs then down to the Grand Ronde river valley. En route, I was happy to finally find Wilson’s Phalarope at Savage Pond [I think they are reported there annually and I always seem to miss them]. At Field Springs SP, I called in a Northern Pygmy Owl and a good mobbing flock around it.

After the obligatory bit of getting lost, I worked my way west in t he Grand Ronde Valley to Grouse Flats in Garfield County. Just before getting into Garfield, I stopped at a meadow at the Oregon border and could hear several Sandhill Cranes bugling. I looked and looked, but never saw them - couldn’t be sure they were even in WA state, but intriguing to think there might be Sandhill Cranes down there.

In Garfield County, about 1/2- 1 mile west on Kessler Mill Rd., I was happy to find a Great Gray Owl perched only 20 feet or so off the road. I’ve seen GGOW in the Grand Ronde area over on the Asotin portion, but this was my first encounter in the Garfield bit.

Along FR 4039 [3 Forks trail area] , I spent a few hours just enjoying the loud collection of birds - nothing too extraordinary, but a good collection of Dusky & Hammond’s, Yellow-rumped, MacGillivray’s, OC & Townsend’s Warblers, Western Tanagers, and Downy & Hairy Woodpeckers and a pair of Williamson’s Sapsuckers. I’m still hoping one of these visits to refind the White-headed Woodpeckers reported from the area back in 2014.

Sun 5/30 - After being happy to find Forster’s Terns at Swallows Park in Clarkston, I worked my way back west for the day.
Back in Garfield County at Central Ferry, the Avocet was no longer present, but instead I enjoyed 2 Forster’s Terns , another Garfield code 5 bird.

At Scootenay Reservoir in Franklin Co., I hiked up the bluff on the north to look over the nice mud flats at the north end - more Forster’s Terns were hanging out here as well, along with a Bonaparte’s Gull and 1-2 Franklin’s Gulls, several avocets & stilts.

Fun weekend -

Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA
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