Date: 3/20/17 10:06 am From: B&PBell <bellasoc...> Subject: [Tweeters] Eastside Audubon trip to Kittitas sage
On Saturday, Eastside Audubon took a trip out to Kittitas County for sage birds. As has been all too frequent lately the day started out in Issaquah with rain, but we did pick up SONG SPARROW and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD in the P&R. It rained all the way up to Snoqualmie Pass, with lots of snow piled up, where we did pick up AMERICAN CROW.
We finally ran out of rain just before Easton and saw a couple of COMMON RAVENs just before we ran into fog. Coming down into Cle Elum we had three CANADA GEESE fly over and some more AMERICAN CROWs. Around Thorp we picked up our first BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE and a RED-TAILED HAWK and then ran into more fog. Came into the clear just before Ellensburg and saw a GREAT BLUE HERON. Along the way east of Ellensburg we saw more RED-TAILED HAWKs.
In Kittitas we had EUROPEAN STARLING, HOUSE SPARROW, ROCK PIGEON, more AMERICAN CROWs and a bunch of EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVEs. Along Caribou Rd. we saw DARK-EYED JUNCO, EUROPEAN STARLING, EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, and TREE SWALLOW. On Vantage Highway we saw AMERICAN CROW, RED-TAILED HAWK, BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD. At the pond on Parke Creek Rd. we picked up RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, COMMON MERGANSER, CALIFORNIA QUAIL and BUFFLEHEAD.
Continuing east on Vantage Highway we saw WESTERN MEADOWLARK. We were congratulating ourselves on a lack of wind when we stopped at the entrance to Wild Horse wind project to look for Sage birds. We stepped out of the cars into high winds (all too frequent here). We did manage to pull up a SAGEBRUSH SPARROW that perched about 15 feet away and sang for us. It then flew a bit further away and perched again and we got nice scope views. We moved on down to the Lower Quilomene area with even higher speed winds (at least 25 mph steady and probably 30 mph gusts) - often difficult to stand. We thought we might have heard some distant birds but because of the wind could not focus in on them. A small bird did fly in and land and it turned out to be a HORNED LARK. A couple of COMMON RAVENs circulated further up the slope.
By the time we got down to Recreation Rd. the wind had stopped and we walked a ways up Rocky Coulee and saw SAY'S PHOEBE, AMERICAN ROBIN, DARK-EYED JUNCO and had a large flock of VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWs overhead. Down at the Columbia River we saw HORNED GREBE, some distant scaup. Up at the Gingko Petrified State Park overlook we took advantage of the lack of wind to have lunch. While there we saw more SAY'S PHOEBEs and HOUSE FINCH. Walking over to the overlook we saw a group of sleeping RUDDY DUCKs and a larger group of AMERICAN COOTs, three BALD EAGLEs over the river harassed a GOLDEN EAGLE. The wind then arrived and was with us for the rest of the day.
On the way down Huntsinger Rd. we flushed an AMERICAN KESTREL, made a quick circle thru Wanapam State Park and saw two KILLDEER. At the Cove we had MALLARD, BUFFLEHEAD. COMMON GOLDENEYE and BUFFLEHEAD were near Wanapam Dam as were two COMMON LOON. At the Wanapam Dam boat launch below the dam we was a large (perhaps 200) group on COMMON and BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, some more BUFFLEHEAD and GREATER SCAUP and LESSER SCAUP. On the river was a COMMON LOON and a RING-BILLED GULL flew by. We stopped at the side canyon and listened for possible Rock Wren with no luck, but had MERLIN fly by up by the ridge. A BALD EAGLE flew down the river and we saw a RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWs were overhead. We made a stop at the rock pile below the dam and picked up a pair of ROCK WRENs (nice looks) and a SAY'S PHOEBE.
On the way home we drove up SR10 thru the canyon and stopped at the Teanaway River. The river is extremely high and we had no joy looking for American Dipper. As we started on toward Cle Elum, in the pond by the side of the road we had RING-NECKED DUCK and a pair of WOOD DUCKs.
During the day we also had NORTHERN FLICKER and BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE.
On the way back over Snoqualmie Pass we had snow - rounding out our typical March weather.
It was a good day in spite of the weather and very windy conditions.