Date: 1/7/18 8:02 pm
From: Tim O'Brien <kertim7179...>
Subject: [inland-NW-birders] Spokane county - Prairie Falcon and more today
Howdy folks,

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.

Good birding,

Tim O'Brien
Spokane Valley, WA
mailto: kertim7179 at yahoo dot com
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