Subject: Big day at Wenas Date: May 28 20:41:19 1995 From: Ted Becker - tbecker at eskimo.com
I'm back from my second annual foray to the Audubon Memorial Day gathering at Wenas Creek. For the second year in a row circumstances prompted me to return after only one night and one day, but what a day! I essentially crammed two days worth of birding into one very long day. Here's what I saw: (L denotes life bird for me, R denotes enroute, not in Wenas counting area.)
Turkey Vulture (Low, directly overhead, great view of underwing patterns) Red-tailed Hawk American Kestral ( easily a dozen sightings, hovering, perched, and courting) Common Snipe Rock Dove Mourning Dove Great Horned Owl *R Caliope Hummingbird Lewis's Woodpecker *L White-headed Woodpecker (including just a white head sticking out of a hole) Northern Flicker Western Wood-Pewee Eastern Kingbird *L Tree Swallow Violet-green Swallow Steller's Jay Black-billed Magpie (my first in state sighting) Red-breasted Nuthatch (heard only) White-breasted Nuthatch *L House Wren Western Bluebird Mountain Bluebird American Robin Western Tanager Black-headed Grosbeak (lots of singing around campground) Evening Grosbeak *R Lazuli Bunting Rufous-sided Towhee Chipping Sparrow Song Sparrow (Heard only) Vesper Sparrow *L Dark-eyed Junco Brewer's Blackbird Red-winged Blackbird Brown-headed Cowbird Western Meadowlark (heard only) Northern Oriole (Bulloc's) *L Cassin's Finch Red Crossbill *L American Goldfinch
My birding day started a 5:30am and ended at 11:00pm
5:30am to 7:00 walk up the ridge just west of the campground, first aerobic (or probably anerobic) workout of the day. Cassin's Finch, Caliope Hummingbird, WWPeewee, Goldfinch, BlkHddGrossbeak, Red Crossbill*L, RS Towhee, Robin, W.Bluebird, MT.Bluebird.
8:00am to 2:45pm Manastash Ridge & Mud Flats including lunch at the UW observatory. Really gave my 4X4 truck a full workout on the road to Mud Flats. Mud is indeed the operative word, but in this case it is dry mud frozen, concrete hard, into grotesque, tire swallowing, axle banging ruts, 18" wide and deep. Luck (I call it skill) prevented me from banging or dragging bottom but being behind the leader meant we ate a lot of dust. Lewis' Woodpecker *L, Whitebreasted Nuthatch *L, Kestrals galore, Eastern Kingbird *L, Vesper Sparrow *L, N. (Bullocks) Oriole****, House Wren, Mourning Dove, Rb Nuthatch (heard only), W.Meadowlark (heard only).
3:15 to 5:30 Lower Hardy Canyon. VG Swallow, Tree Swallow, TV, Lazuli Bunting,
9:30 to 11:00 Owl Prowl. Total waste of time. Between the unprepared, bickering co-leaders and the less than stealthy group it was a shut-out owlwise. The highlight was seeing one of the moons of Jupiter with my binoculars.
11:00pm to 2:00am Drive home, Great Horned Owl on shoulder of road.
What forced my early return was forgetting my sleeping bag, camp stove breaking down and being thoroughly saturated with dust. I would have stayed if I hadn't been able to get three outings in during the day and I did want to experience the owl prowl.
A note to the organizers and planners: Great job. Whoever ordered the birds did good. How in the hell did you arrange to have the White-headed Woodpecker nest right next to the path? Biggest suggestion/complaint: the owl-prowl leaders should check out their equipment first and research owl locations, this location hasn't worked two years in a row from what I hear.