July 4th 2010 trip to the Okanogan

Now, why would this Clark’s Nutcracker be so upset? Well, he really didn’t like my Pygmy-Owl calls.

Guess why this picture is so small: Ok, it is a crappy picture …

This Boreal Chickadee was a much better attempt …

In the right habitat, Gray Catbirds are very common.

Now, how small is the bill of a Least Flycatcher? Tiny indeed.

A singing Northern Waterthrush on a wire is always a special treat!

You can’t come home from the Okanogan without a Three-toed Woodpecker.

Here more details from my trip:

Scopeless and mostly without iPod speakers I found myself in the Okanogan this weekend. Here the highlights:

-Grasshopper Sparrow (3 singers at the degraded habitat about 1.4mi up Soap Lake Rd)
-Black Swift (2 at little park at the mouth of Okanogan River at the Cassimer Bar)
-Three-toed Woodpecker (2 in burn just SE of Lone Frank Pass off FR38; this is the first burnt area coming up from Conconully)
-Black-backed Woodpecker (1 flyover just north of MP22 of FR39)
-Boreal Chickadee (several within the first 2 miles of the cattle guard off FR38 above Salmon Meadows – this cattle guard is 3.8mi from the Salmon Meadows CG)
-Pine Grosbeak (1 about 1.2mi past cattle guard off FR38 above Salmon Meadows)
-Bobolink (3 males 0.7mi into Fancher Rd off Tonasket Havillah Rd)
-Purple Finch (1 at Ellisford Bridge)
-Bewick’s Wren (1 at bridge in Nespelem at Chevron station)
-Red-eyed Vireo (1 at bridge in Nespelem at Chevron station, 2 see below)
-Northern Waterthrush (2 at bridge in Nespelem at Chevron station, 1 see below)
-American Redstart (2 see below)
-Common Poorwill (several at night NE of Nespelem)
-Least Flycatcher (2 chebecking birds at Cassimer Bar; see Opperman for access; this is NOT the little park at the mouth of the Okanogan River)

Other notes:

-FR38 has been regraded, so it is now easily possible to drive from Conconully to the wastelands of FR39 via Lone Frank Pass with a normal passenger car
-While searching unsuccessfully for Clay-colored Sparrow along Cache Creek Rd east of Nespelem, a Black Bear was definitely more worried running into me than me running into him

-Rebecca Lake south of Nespelem is a very active spot. I didn’t have a lot of time to explore, but several loud Yellow-breasted Chats were singing. There is a large marsh as well
-A great riparian spot north of Nespelem (with easy waterthrush and redstart) avoiding the traffic along 155 in Nespelem near the Chevron station is accessed via Park City Loop Rd  (BIA2056)  just NW of Nespelem. Stay on the paved road until it curves back south again towards Nespelem. The riparian area with 2 little bridges is obvious. This loop road funnels back into 8th St in Nespelem
-2 summering basic plumaged loons were at Washburn Island near the Cassimer Bar. Also, there are many mosquitos …
-Sunday evening I found myself at Moses Meadows off Lyman Lake Rd. The habitat looked interesting for Great Gray Owl. Has anybody seen them up there? Moses Mtn had the best radio reception of the trip, but not many birds.
-Thanks to Kraig Kemper for his tips on Nespelem


One Comment

  1. Excellent birding, Stefan!

    Your “crappy picture” is better than my best picture of any species. It’s a lovely photo of a lovely bird!

    And a waterthrush singing from a wire? What the heck? I can assure you they don’t do that in TX. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a waterthrush higher than 10 feet off the ground. Very cool!

    Also, it doesn’t surprise me that the nutcracker was so upset. I’ve seen what you do to those birds with your Pygmy toots.

    Good birding,



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