[Tweeters] Okanogan Highlands trip report

Steven Dammer dammerecologist1990 at gmail.com
Sat Feb 19 19:47:33 PST 2022

Hey Tweets,

Just returned from birding the Okanogan Highlands today followed by a
(sadly) uneventful Waterville Plateau jaunt. I joined a group of birders
from Tri-Cities to locate the fabled Sharp-Tailed Grouse.

The Sharp-Tailed Grouse were present this morning as of about 0930, there
were 10 that we could count. Seen about 50 yards East of the intersection
of Siwash Creek and Rehmke as previously reported. Lifer for myself and 2
of the others! Very exciting to put eyes on this odd tree chicken. They
were hitting the very tops of the ponderosas as they flew, until finally
making their last move over the hill. We had a good 5-10 minutes of viewing
pleasure! Additional species at the intersection were the usual
Chickadees/Nuthatches and 2 Mountain Bluebirds heard calling from further
up the hill.

I personally came across a group of Wild Turkeys much further down Siwash
Creek, and encountered a Clark's Nutcracker about a half mile up Rehmke.
Many many Red Crossbills and Red-Breasted Nuthatches were scattered
alongside both roads, but the bulk was seen with the group roughly 1.5-2.0
miles up Rehmke. We did have a nice treat with 2 White-Winged Crossbills
that were seen at a distance but picked up by their calls coming through
the cacophony of Pygmy Nuthatch, Red-Breasted Nuthatch, and Red Crossbill
calls. LOTS of activity! Also heard were a pack of coyotes howling in the

I later tracked up toward Chesaw and took the Davies Rd loop. Some decent
activity bearing toward noon, Red Crossbills, RB Nuthatches, Mountain and
Black-Capped Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers, and a single Pileated
Woodpecker. Was REALLY hoping for Pine Grosbeaks, and thought I might get
luckier still to catch a Boreal Chickadee (hah..) Though activity was
localized to one spot in particular, still a nice drive-thru.

I wish I could report more activity on the Waterville Plateau, though
expected being as it was around 3pm. I had 1 Rough-Legged Hawk and 100s of
Horned Larks, but no Snow Buntings (grrr).

All in all a wonderful, cold, and early morning of birding!

Happy Birding,

Steven Dammer
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