[Tweeters] Scout Trip report for Okanogan Highlands and Waterville Plateau 1/28-1/31

Mike Stropki stropkimike at gmail.com
Fri Feb 4 10:24:28 PST 2022

Really appreciate

On Thu, Feb 3, 2022 at 11:25 AM Shep Thorp <shepthorp at gmail.com> wrote:


> Hi Tweets,


> last weekend, 1/28-1/31 we had our scout trip in the Okanogan Highlands

> and Waterville Plateau for the WOS Winter Trip coming up Presidents' Day

> Weekend. The weather was cold with temperatures in the 20's degree

> Fahrenheit. Mostly cloudy with some fog. And plowed snow covered roads on

> the plateau, in the highlands and in Conconully.


> On Friday, we located three SNOWY OWL around Atkins Lake, Woods Rd NE and

> 1st Rd NE, and one between H Road NE and G Road NE northeast of Mansfield.

> We saw a PRAIRIE FALCON on H Road NE as well. Tree Sparrows could be found

> in thickets on the plateau when scanned from the road. There were three

> NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL in Bridgeport State Park, but they can be very hard

> to find and take some time to locate. Please be very careful not to

> disturb these roosts as they are a real treat for all of us to enjoy.


> Saturday, we birded the Okanogan Highlands. Fancher Road was good for

> CHUKAR and GOLDEN EAGLE. With the cold temperatures and all the snow, it

> as a very good year for seeing Chukar everywhere. The lower section of

> Siwash Creek Road had two areas where we located SHARP-TAILED GROUSE. The

> upper section of Siwash Creek Road was good for many RED CROSSBILLS,



> on Havillah Road near Oberg Road, and may have heard a White-winged

> Crossbill. The Highland Sno-Park was slow, with MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE and a

> fly over of a Woodpecker sp., probably a BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER. Scott

> Downes reported a Northern Goshawk in Havillah and Common Redpoll on

> Bolster that we missed. Chesaw, Bolster Road, and the Nealy Road Feeders

> (Highland Meadows) were slow. We did have great views of a NORTHERN PYGMY

> OWL on Mary Ann Creek Road between Chesaw Road and Fields Road. We dipped

> on Common Redpoll, Gray Crowned Rosy Finch, Pine Grosbeak and Bohemian

> Waxwing. There were plenty of NORTHERN SHRIKE around.


> On a very sad note, the feeder on Hungry-Hollow Road or the Knob Hill

> Forge, was not active. Gary Eagle, the home and forge owner, passed away

> in September from cancer. I spoke with his girlfriend who still lives in

> the home, she'll put out the seed I delivered in his memory. I don't

> anticipate the feeders will remain active in the future.


> Sunday we birded the Conconully and Cameron Lake Road area. We skipped

> Scotch Creek Wildlife area, as we had great looks at Sharp-tailed Grouse on

> Siwash Creek. Happy Hill Road and Salmon Creek Road were great habitat for

> Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Chickadees and Crossbills. We had great looks at

> RUFFED GROUSE on Salmon Creek Road. Conconully was slow, but we had

> fabulous looks at EVENING GROSBEAKS and probably 4-5 GOLDEN EAGLE. The

> butte along Riverside Cut-off is excellent for Chukar and CANYON WREN. We

> watched two Golden Eagle hunting the Chukar on the butte, very cool!

> Cameron Lake Road had about a dozen SNOW BUNTING between the loop road and

> Timentwa Flats. No big flocks. Scott Downes reported a Lapland Longspur

> mixed in with about 8 HORNED LARK on the south side of the road between

> Timentwa and the south entrance - the road was passable.


> Monday we birded around Lake Pateros and the Waterville Plateau. We

> skipped Bridgeport Hill, as this area was burned in 2020. In the morning

> Washburn Island was very productive. We relocated the HARRIS SPARROW that

> half our team found the evening before at the grain feeder on the far right

> of the Island. There were probably a hundred WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, with

> other sparrow, so we patiently waited to get quick looks of the Harris.

> There were four COMMON REDPOLL in the Alders near the feeder, and another

> hunting Northern Shrike. We had a fly over of 30 plus Bohemian Waxwing.

> The lake views were great for CANVASBACK, REDHEAD, RUDDY DUCK, HORNED


> COMMON-GOLDENEYE and HOODED MERGANSER. On State Route 17 between SR 97

> (Truck Scales) and Bridgeport State Park, we bumped into a nice large flock

> of BOHEMIAN WAXWING (48.0423783, -119.6730715). Some roosting in Lombardy

> Poplars on the east side of the road, and many foraging on rotten apples in

> the orchard on the west side of the road. It was nice to see a big flock

> like this, and it's been a few years for me on these scout trips and field

> trips since I've seen one. Central Ferry Canyon Road, although not

> passable to the plateau, was good for additional Common Redpoll, Bohemian

> Waxwing, Pygmy Nuthatch, Mountain Chickadee and Hairy Woodpecker. We also

> had a beautiful HARLAN'S variety of RED-TAILED HAWK fly over. To end our

> day on the plateau, we found an excellent active scraping in the snow with

> active dumping of treated waste near the intersection of 15 Road NW and C

> Road NW on the northwest plateau. Here we observed 300+ SNOW BUNTING, 1000


> more as we heard them).


> Usually we see dozens of Rough-legged Hawks, this year we only observed

> 4-5 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK over our entire trip which I think is a low count.

> Perhaps this species hunting strategies are just as nomadic as many of the

> other species we've come to enjoy in this area.


> I'll put together another trip report after the WOS Winter Trip, and I

> hope you have a chance to enjoy Douglas and Okanogan Counties this winter.

> There is a lot of fun stuff to see. Many thanks to all my contributors,

> Scott Ramos, Laurel Parshall, Jon Anderson, Ken Brown-Olympia and Ken

> Brown-Tacoma, Kyle Leader, DJ Trillium, Gary Kelsberg and Sarah Safranek,

> Liam Hutchinson and Elizabeth McManus, Tom Bowden, Dale Goebel, Bruce

> LaBar, Ed Pullen, Jacob Miller, Scott Downes and Sierra Downes, and

> Meredith Spencer.


> Be well, check the weather and the passes, and safe winter birding.

> Shep

> --

> Shep Thorp

> Browns Point

> 253-370-3742

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> Tweeters at u.washington.edu

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