Date: 3/8/18 9:33 am
From: Jon Houghton <jon.houghton...>
Subject: [Tweeters] RE: Okanogan yesterday - an Oh GOSH revelation
Hi Again – In previous post, I didn’t mention one of the most exciting aspects of Tuesday in the Highlands: As we were driving south on Hungry Hollow Rd., just north of the Grange Rd. junction, we stopped to look at a flock of RW Blackbirds perched in a tree – I saw a large raptor flying away from the scene toward some distant trees on the ridge. The bird had a longish tail and a smooth pale gray back. I was thinking Gyr, since we’d been looking hard for one on the W’ville Plateau the day before. But, the bird disappeared in the snowy trees. Turning the corner past Grange Rd, and driving up the hill, though, as we got closer to the line of trees I picked out a raptor in the top of a tall dead spruce. In the bins, it was clearly the same bird – smoot gray color on the wings, very pale breast, longish tail. I snapped a couple of pix before getting out of the car to set up the scope. Bill Boyington pulled up behind us and also got a look with the bins, but as we both set up our scopes, the bird flew off – so no decent looks there. I passed it off as a possible Prairie Falcon, but, looking at the photos after getting home last night, it was clearly a nice male Northern Goshawk. I had never seen one sitting so somehow it just hadn’t clicked – sometimes those photos, however blurry, really are useful!! Happy Birding – Jon Houghton, Edmonds.

From: Jon Houghton
Sent: Wednesday, March 07, 2018 3:28 PM
To: Tweeters <tweeters...>
Subject: Okanogan yesterday

Hi Tweets! Well, today started out real well. We got to Fancher Road, a few miles uphill from Tonasket about 8 am, drove past a couple of double wides and barking dogs to scan the cliffs to the west. It didn't take long to find a Chuckar perched on the ridge top and with the scope, to see several more popping up and down along the ridge. A Sharp-shinned Hawk was flying about at lower elevations and a nice adult Golden Eagle was perched on the ridge to the right. We relayed this info to Bill B. who was a bit behind us and headed up to the Havilla Snow park. En route, the usual RL and RT Hawks. The Snow park was pretty quiet (but lovely). Not many birds up Havilla Road but on Nealy Road, a large flock of Snow Buntings reported on the WOS trip, remained. Beautiful birds against the snowy background. The Nealy feeders were fairly busy with bunches of Red-winged Blackbirds, 2 spp of Chickadees, RB Nuthatch, Common Redpolls, and some American Goldfinches in a confusing transitional plumage that had me thinking Lesser for a while. I had a nice chat with the lady of the house and left a small contribution for feed. There't much action from there to Chesaw, on Bolster Road, or back on up Mary Ann Creek Rd, but scenery continued to be post card pretty.
Between Bill and us, we looked at all the places where Rosyfinches have been recently reported without any luck. Coming<http://luck.Coming> up along Dry Creek on Cheese Road, we encountered a nice flock of about a dozen American Tree Sparrows that seemed surprisingly brightly colored. After a few Wild Turkeys, Kathleen and I adjourned back to the snow park for a little skiing and to give some owls or woodpeckers another chance to make our day. The skiing was great; the birding less so. All in all though, a superb and enjoyable day. Happy Birding! Jon Houghton, Edmonds
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