Subject: Columbia Gorge(Kliickitat Co.)highlights Date: Dec 13 07:07:35 1998 From: "Ruth Sullivan" - godwit at worldnet.att.net
Yesterday(Dec.12th)Vicki Biltz and my mother and I birded mainly Klickitat Co., with a total of 76 species and rain to the Klicitat Co. line, then cloudy skies, with partial clearing and isolated fog in places the remainder of the day. We drove by Steigerwald NWR along Hwy.14 in Clark Co., where one SNOW GOOSE was noted in a large flock of grazing Canada Geese, then passing by Franz Lake in Skamania Co. up to 25 TUNDRA SWANS were observed near the town of Skamania. Our next stop was made at Bingen to try for the TUFTED DUCK at 10:30am, with NO LUCK, only to locate a SPOTTED SANDPIPER and COMMON LOON. Further east, south of Old Hwy. 8 and Balch Lake.Rd., up to 2 ACORN WOODPECKERS were viewed in scopes from Old Hwy.8, just east of the eastern intersection of Balch Lk.Rd., as was one MERLIN, and a CANYON WREN that was heard calling, then seen skulking in and around farm equipment, then seen entering a barn through cracks under the roof, near the equipment and residense, which is immediately west of the eastern intersection of Balch Lk.Rd., and on the south side of Old Hwy.8. Several LEWIS' WOODPECKERS and 15 WOOD DUICKS were noted at Balch Lk. At the Klickitat River mouth in Lyle, 18 CANVASBACKS, 2 BALD EAGLES, and other assorted waterfowl were observed. At the Tidyman Rd. "ponds" along Tidyman Rd. near Dallesport good close looks were made at 2 PRAIRIE FALCONS, with one that attempted to catch a Killdeer, from a moderate sized flock of 35 birds, only to drop it, then immediately claimed by a "HARLAN'S"RED-TAILED HAWK as its own prey, so I believe the birds were young of this year. Up to 75 AM.PIPITS were also present at this location, as they fed along the pond shores, then later flushed by all the excited of the hunting raptors, then as we nearly drove off Vicki spotted a SAY'S PHOEBE, that flew across the road from the north to a fence post along the easternmost pond, for my first late fall-early winter sighting in WA. Our next and final major stop was made at Maryhill SP, where passerine birding was the best of the day, with highlights that included: 1 tan-stiped WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, 3 LESSER GOLDFINCHES, 3 HERMIT THRUSHES, 3 FOX SPARROWS, and 1 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER with several Yellow-rumped Warblers also present. We made one final attempt for the TUFTED DUCK at Bingen on our way home at 3:45pm, with still NO LUCK, but the bird is probably still in the general area.