Just one long summary...
- Hey all,
Just wanted to report a few different birds from, well, pretty much all over the country! Here goes...
My trip to New York was a huge success, getting me something like 13 lifers with an additional 4 heard-only's. My favorite by far was the Cerulean Warbler, which, with help from Jon, I scored at Montezuma NWR, through hundreds of irritating deer flies! If you're interested in any photos from the trip, they should all be on http://www.flickr.com/photos/birdfishphotos/. I got some great shots of Chestnut-sided and Cerulean Warblers, with decent and bad photos of Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Hooded, Magnolia, Ovenbird, and Blue-winged Warbler, as well as Great Crested Flycatcher, Scarlet Tanager, Louisiana Waterthrush, Clay-colored Sparrow, and Blue-headed Vireo. It was a very successful trip!
After we got back from New York, we had a down day to relax, before jetting staight up to Okanogan County and the Methow Valley. It was a hugely successful trip for birds, even though the number of species were down significantly from about 2 weeks ago (Least Flycatcher unfortunately wasn't singing anymore, along with many other species). The first day I went on a 4 hour bird walk along the river below our cabin and then up into the higher elevation Ponderosa and Doug-fir forests. We later went mountain biking up at Sun Mountain and I got to walk the Beaver Pond, which was also pretty successful. I ended the day with a birdless owling expedition up into the lower Rondevious (pretty sure I spelled that wrong) Basin, trying for Flamms and Porwill. Highlights were Black Swift, Northern Goshawk (yard bird!), 4 Purple Finches (flagged as rare), Sora, Wilson's Snipe, and 12 Common/Barrow's Goldeneyes (which I'm pretty certain are Barrow's, but need confirmation.
The second day, I was able to talk my parents into an early hike up at Tiffany Mountain, where I hoped to score the elusive Northern Hawk Owls being seen at Brown Creek Meadows. We stopped along the burns at several places, in hopes of Northern Pygmy-Owl (for you who don't know this, its my nemesis bird) and American Three-toed Woodpecker. We were successful on neither (big surprise...), but did get a Black-backed Woodpecker, a county lifer for myself. We then dropped our exuberant dog and my brother and mother at Tiffany Mountain while my dad and myself continued along the road to Brown Creek Meadows. We did a quick drive search, the turned around and found a large group of birders that had apparently appeared out of nowhere. One birder did have his eyes on the Northern Hawk Owl luckily, and we all got great looks, after the long and stressing task of finding it in the scope among all the snags (a task of which my dad complained immensely). I got photos, but they aren't anything pretty. After exchanging thank you's and good luck's, we headed back up to Tiffany Mountain to catch up with my mom and brother. To you doing the Tiffany Mountain hike or anything in that general area, FYI; Bring bug spray!!! Up the buggy trail, we found all your typical alpine species, with the highlight of a Dusky Grouse, a lifer, that I could not pick out from the top of a spruce tree for the life of me. I did, however get recordings. We then went back to Brown Creek Meadows to see if we could get better looks at the Hawk Owl, to no avail. We did however hear 3 singing Gambel's White-crowned Sparrows, something I thought you might be interested in after the recent Sparrow posts. We then stopped at several other places (Roger Lake and some smaller pull-outs), with nothing too great. Back at our Cabin, I got to witness two young Say's Phoebe's being fed by an adult. We then tried for Owls again, doing a more extensive loop this time, and ending up with nothing but Nighthawks.
The third, and final day, I did several bird walks with a mountain bike ride on the Community Trail to a place I call Passerine Paradise (probably my favorite summer birding location). This yielded all the usuals, along with a notable 30 Veery, 2 Red-eyed Vireos, and 4-6 American Redstarts at their usual nest (of which I got good photos). Heading back home along the Columbia, we stopped in Vantage for the Black-throated Sparrow, unfortunately unsuccessful (I'm pretty sure I was looking in the wrong place, if anybody knows exactly where it is, can you email me? Thanks!).
I pretty much did nothing either of the last two days except for relaxing, although while driving, I've noticed large numbers of Gulls on Buchanan Lake (I could only ID one as a California Gull, but the rest were most likely the same species). Today, I was back in action, doing a 2 hour bird walk down by the river. It was a hot, but good morning, as I totaled 45 species, including my first yard Savannah Sparrow, 16 Common Mergansers (a mother with ducklings, evidence that suggests that they breed here, which I had suspected), a Bald Eagle, 4 Black-chinned Hummingbirds (I think I may have found a nest location), Willow Flycatcher, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Yellow-breasted Chat, Common Yellowthroat, and a possible yard first Marsh Wren. The Red-eyed Vireos were not singing, but it may have been a bit late in the day for them.
This would bring me to my next suggestion; would anybody want to do a "field trip", if you will, down to the river below my house next week? I would be happy to show anybody with interest around next week. I was thinking that I could meet people at my house at anytime between 5 and 7 am and then walk down to the river and bird for 2 hours or so. I'm flexible on day and time, so if you're interested, send me an email and I'd be happy to show you around. So far, I've seen 120 different species here this year, even with misses like Eastern Kingbird. Notable birds to expect would be Yellow-breasted Chat, Willow Flycatcher, Lazuli Bunting, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Spotted Sandpiper, Warbling Vireo, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Black-headed Grosbeak, American White Pelican, Bald Eagle, Gray Catbird, Say's Phoebe, Bullock's Oriole, and Cedar Waxwing. Brown Creeper, Lewis's Woodpecker, and Hooded Merganser are possible, but are very uncommon. Maybe we can relocate the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (which I believe is still around, sap wells seem to be popping up still)! Email me at magicman32@... if you're interested, I'm happy to have you!
Lastly, this month I'm going to try to keep a month list. I'm hoping this keeps me birding through my summer laziness, and so far it seems to have worked! I've already gotten 136 species this month, with 35 or more species in 4 counties, and 93 species in 3 day in Okanogan County! FOr those of you with similar habits as myself, I would highly suggest it! I think I can probably easily reach 180+ species by the end of the month, considering I spent 2 days in New York.
Well, sorry if I rambled a bit... Let me know if you're interested in my field trip idea, I'd be happy to accommodate!