Tricolored Blackbird west of Toppenish-2 November
I spotted a male TRICOLORED BLACKBIRD among several thousand blackbirds.
This large field is just west of the "flooded field" on Marion Drain Road
west of Old Goldendale Road. The Tricolored Blackbird was perched close by
the road on an irrigation wheel. I had excellent scope views for about 3
minutes.It had a wide bright white shoulder patch below a deep red epaulet.
As Red-winged Blackbirds perched on the irrigation wheel line next to this
bird, I was also able to contrast the Tricolored's "spiky" bill with the
shorter, deeper Red-wings. This is a very impressive flock of birds,
containing mainly Brewer's and Red-wings, but with a sprinkling of
Brown-headed Cowbirds, starlings, and Yellow-headed Blackbirds. I looked for
Rusty Blackbird but the Birding Gods must of thought I had enough good
fortune for the day. I did see a yellow-eyed female type Brewer's that made
me question whether it was a Rusty.
I had started the morning at Fort Simcoe which was a bit above the fog. I
was looking for a Blue Jay. There wasn't even a Steller's Jay around.
Lewis's Woodpeckers, as usual, were calling and flying about.
At Lateral C bridge over Toppenish Creek I had good looks at an "almost RED
FOX SPARROW." It had all the features shown in Sibley save the rufous
facial streaks on an otherwise grayish head. It really was the reddest Fox
Sparrow I've ever seen. I've seen a number of really red Fox Sparrows in
Nome Alaska and there not seen one as red as this bird. I admit lighting
there is typically very dull; keep in mind that's on the Bering Sea!
I paid a short visit to the Bus Road ponds south of Mabton and found
shorebirds still passing through:
Killdeer - 5
Greater Yellowlegs - 3
Pectoral Sandpiper - 2
Dunlin - 4
Long-billed Dowitcher - 25
Wilson's Snipe - 1
A great day in the Lower Yakima Valley!