Subject: [Tweeters] Columbia Basin - Sept 17, 18, & 19
Date: Sep 19 22:00:37 2011
From: Brad Waggoner - wagtail at

Hi Tweets,

I spent the last few days at various spots in the Columbia Basin mostly
concentrating on migrant passerines. Though I didn't find anything
earth-shattering, I had a handful of interesting birds worth noting.
I'll start with today and work back as perhaps there might be a birder
out there interested in any of these "code 4" or "code 5" species.

Sept 17:
Kittitas County - I spent mid-day looking through Wanapum SP and
finishing by over-looking the Columbia River at the Ginkgo over-look. A
juv./1st winter FRANKLIN'S GULL was working the waters just below. Also
on the water were three 1st winter Glaucous-winged Gulls. I guess they
are no longer big deals along the Columbia River on the eastside. No
Sabine's Gulls for me my entire time, though I was in places where they
were reported. There were two COMMON TERNS flying about just south of
the Vantage bridge. Wanapum SP was nice given the lack of people and no
wind. I had up to 10 Townsend's Solitaires, one Fox Sparrow, and one
Golden-crowned Sparrow.

Grant County - Sentinel Bluff riparian area - The morning started off
very blustery so things didn't look so promising for seeking out
migrants, but the winds shut-off at about 9 and it was pretty darn
active after that. Highlights included two RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKERS,
three lingering GRAY CATBIRDS, and one PURPLE FINCH. It seemed as though
I kind of had a "west-side" theme going on today.

Sept 18:
Franklin County - After enjoying Washtucna in the morning (though a bit
slow), I headed to Lyons Ferry and birded it for a few hours until early
afternoon. The wind made things a bit tough here. The best bird was a
continuing RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER found by Keith Brady the previous day. I
stopped at Windust Park for a brief while, but the "birdiest" place for
me over the three days was a late afternoon stop at Big Flats. A Merlin
as I drove in made me realize that this was not going to be just a brief
visit. I spent three hours in some very lovely habitat with good numbers
were the most unusual birds.

Sept 17:
Lincoln County - Jon Isacoff touched upon some of the highlights in a
post to Inland NW. Thanks for showing me Mill Canyon and other spots,
SPARROW at Davenport Cemetery, a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at Mill Canyon
and a BULL MOOSE at the base of Mill Canyon stick-out in my mind as
highlights. I started my morning at Sprague Lake. It was fun and fairly
active This is the second September that I have witnessed an incredible
staging of Barn and Bank Swallows in the area. I now wish I would have
attempted to estimate the number for the entire lake. I wouldn't be
surprised if a count of 7000 + Barns and 4000 + Banks could be tallied
if one concentrated on the swallow numbers instead of searching out and
missing some darn Sabine's Gull.

It was an enjoyable three days of birding the east-side. I still was
able to look at a decent number of empids, a few Cassin's Vireos in
total and Warbling Vireos at most stops, and most "western" warblers,
though no Nashville's.

Cheers and good birding,
Brad Waggoner
Bainbridge Island
mailto:wagtail at