Subject: Big day at Wenas
Date: May 28 20:41:19 1995
From: Ted Becker - tbecker at

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

Turkey Vulture (Low, directly overhead, great view of underwing patterns)
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestral ( easily a dozen sightings, hovering, perched, and
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

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

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