X-mas in the Okanogan (WA) 2009

Mike Fleming and I just got back from our annual X-mas trip to the Okanogan. We were somewhat surprised to find many less birds than in the previous winters. This may be attributed to the lack of snow in the lower lying areas.

12/24: Around Twisp

-American Dipper: 2 singing/calling along W Chewuch Rd
-4 Northern Pygmy Owls in various locations: 1 along W Chewuch Rd, 1 along Twisp-Carlton Rd, 1 at the north edge of Pearrygin Lake SP and 1 Sweetgrass Rd
-Bohemian Waxwing: Around 75 feeding on Russion Olive at Pearrygin Lake SP, 15 at the Red Barn in Winthrop
-Dusky Grouse: 1 hooting near in the middle of the day at Pearrygin Lake SP
-Pygmy Nuthatch: Several at Pearrygin Lake SP

Have you ever seen 2 Bohemians sing “All you need is love” in unison?

12/25: Conconully and Cameron Lake Rd

-Golden Eagle: 2 immatures along Riverside Cutoff Rd
-Snow Bunting: Flock of about 40 with 40 more Horned Larks at Cameron Lake Rd in the right angle turns where the road generally runs east-west
-Townsend’s Solitaire: 1 in Conconully
-No Sharp-tailed Grouse at Scotch Creek WA as there was not enough snow on the ground to push birds into the water birches. Also, parts of the shrubby line of water birches just north of the overlook was bulldozed resulting in habitat degradation at this site for the grouse.
-Northern Sawwhet Owl: 2 point-blank at Bridgeport SP

12/26: The Highlands

-Common Redpoll: 3 at Hungry Hollow Rd feeder, 40 at the wetland Chesaw & Havillah Rd, 30 along Bolster Rd just north of Chesaw, several more along Mary Ann Ck Rd
-Pileated Woodpecker: 1 along Grange Rd
-Ruffed Grouse: 1 perched low in a shrub along Mary Ann Ck Rd
-Bohemian Waxwing: 15 at Nealy Rd feeder
-The Chesaw Kingfisher was alive and well
-Gray-crowned Rosy-finch: 1 at Grange & Hungy Hollow Rd high in a tree, 30 of both forms at Hunrgy Hollow Rd feeders, 3 at Nealy Rd feeders
-Pine Grosbeak: 4 along Fields Rd
-Northern Pygmy Owl: 2 along Bolster Rd

The bird below was perched on a road side, yet the sun was right behind it.

These Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches were digiscoped at the Hungry Hollow Rd feeders.

Don’t really know what the goo at the lower mandible is here …

12/27: Waterville Plateau

-Sharp-tailed Grouse: 5 flushed at Wells WA along Bridgeport Hill Rd
-Snow Bunting: A total of about 15 in various locations mostly north of Mansfield
-American Tree Sparrow: 2 at Long-Eared Owl-wood along Heritage Lane (L St) east of Mansfield (thanks to Kraig and Cathy Kemper for the tip)
-Golden Eagle: 1 dining royally along 172 west of Mansfield
-Prairie Falcon: 1 at Withrow grain silos
-1 large falcon flyover east of Mansfield at 172 and G St in the thick fog, probably a Gyrfalcon

One of 2 young Golden Eagle soaring with an immature Bald Eagle.

Other notes:

-This year seems to be an irruption year for Common Redpoll. They were everywhere in the Highlands. Not so with Pine Grosbeak: Being irruptive last year, they were largely absent this year.
-We had no crossbills and heard just one Pine Siskin on this trip.
-Rough-legged Hawks in all morphs were very common. We had about 30 this trip
-A note about Pearrygin Lake SP: The gate at the admission station was locked, so you have to walk down into the park. This isn’t particularly far, but the road is icy.
-A personal highlight for me was finding a Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch roost site along Nealy Rd

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3 Comments

  1. Very cool trip, quality over quantity. the photos are only getting more impressive! possible gyrfalcon sounds like a real tease.

    Reply

    1. Both winter and summer are excellent and have an amazing number of specialty birds each. In spring/summer you can get Boreal Chickadee, Three-toed WP, Spruce Grouse, Bobolink, Redstart, Least Flycatcher, Waterthrush, just to name a few.

      Reply

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