Date: 5/26/18 10:08 am From: Byers <byers345...> Subject: [Tweeters] White-faced Ibis and other birds in sunny eastern Washington
Hello Fellow Tweeters,
Every so often I can't resist the urge to chase a bird. I've always wanted to see a White-faced Ibis in Washington, so we headed our early Tuesday morning to check several of the places where they had been reported. Our first ibis stop was the County Line Ponds between Grant and Adams counties. We got lucky and saw the bird right away. Bill got several photos for the sake of documentation.
Having achieved that goal, we continued on, checking out Para Ponds and Morgan Lake and then went east all the way to Walla Walla. We looked at Morgan Lake for the Tri-colored Blackbirds that everyone else has been seeing. The only males we saw were definitely Red-winged. Perhaps the females we saw were Tri-colored, but I really can't tell them apart from RWBBs. On Wednesday we looked for the ibis again at Millet Pond, near the mouth of the Walla Walla River, where they had been on Sunday. We had the pleasure of meeting MerryLynn Denny near there, but found no ibis. We did see lots of Great Egrets, though, and one Black-crowned Night-heron. Our next major stop was Steptoe Butte. Not as many birds as on previous visits, but always an interesting place. On our way to Ritzville, where we spent the night, we drove by Philleo Lake. We didn't find any ibises there either, but Bill took a picture of the ducks resting there. In one shot there are 10 species of birds, 8 of the ducks. A real Noah's Ark of duck life.
One Thursday, we headed home via Stephens Pass. Heading north on Hwy 17, past the cut off to Ephrata and before Ephrata Lake, there are several miles of dry land littered with lava chunks washed there by the prehistoric floods of Lake Missoula. Cattle try to graze there. At about 8 am along a stretch of 2 or 3 miles we saw 4 Burrowing Owls. We have seen one there in the past, which is why we were looking, but never 4! Definitely a bonus for the trip.
We missed seeing a lot of birds: hardly any sparrows, no thrashers, and no Great Blue Herons. Maybe we were late for the sparrows.