Date: 1/7/18 8:02 pm From: Tim O'Brien <kertim7179...> Subject: [inland-NW-birders] Spokane county - Prairie Falcon and more today
Today, Sunday, January 7, I visited a few spots in the county I have yet to visit since the new year started. First off, I walked around Riverfront Park (downtown Spokane) and was immediately greeted by 40 American Crows. They flew over me where I parked and one blessed me with a dropping. It was an omen for a good day! Then crossing the Spokane River from the access immediately behind the Arena, I quickly found a lone American Dipper bobbing next to the fast moving water. Near the Imax, I found a small flock of Black-capped and Mountain Chickadees, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, and a Brown Creeper. Near the big wagon, Mallards and a couple American Wigeon were calmly feeding in the grass.
I then moved west and toured some of the West Plains area, mainly concentrating on the area south of US2. On Ladd Road, just south of Hallet Road, I stopped for a Great Blue Heron hunting in a grassy field. While watching it, I saw a small flock of birds quickly flush and land in the tall grass. They must have been scared by the Prairie Falcon that I soon spotted after they disappeared into the grass. The falcon perched on top of a bare snag tree above a farm house allowing a great scope view. I suspect the flushed birds were partridge, but I never could confirm. I did spend some time scoping the grass where I thought they landed, but couldn't find them. Along Stroup Road, I found my first Horned Larks. Also, I observed several Red-tailed Hawks and one American Kestrel on the drive, but no Rough-legged.
I ended my trip with visits along the Spokane River in Riverside State Park. I stopped at Duck Corner, Nine Mile Dam, and the confluence. I picked a few new year birds at these stops including Gadwall, Hooded Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe, and Golden-crowned Kinglet. However, it was getting late and song-bird activity seemed very low.