NORTHERN SPOTTED OWL and CRESTED CARACARA in Washington!

Since I was going down to do some Washington birding (including to twitch the Caracara), I figured I would extend my time down there to see as much as possible in two days. It's a fantastic state to bird in with so many great birds that we don't regularly get in BC with their varied climates.

Here is some of the highlights I was able to see in two days:

Two loggerhead shrikes (one in Gingko State Park and one in Odessa)

Two Ferruginous hawks (who recently had 3 nestlings in Odessa).

Common Poorwills (Yakima)

Townsend's Solitaires and Red Crossbills (Cascade Mtns)

Lazuli Buntings, Pewees and House Wrens (Potholes State Park)

Northern-Rough winged swallow colony and bank swallow colony (in Othello)

Two Burrowing Owls (in Othello)

Says Phoebe's and Magpies everywhere in Central and Eastern WA

Western Kingbirds everywhere

TRI-COLORED BLACKBIRDS (we were thrilled to get 3 at McCain pond's near Othello!)

American White Pelican (1 at McCain pond's near Othello)

Forster's Tern (4 were fishing right in front of us with some california gulls while we ate at Potholes state park)

Black-crowned night heron (1 at Potholes state park watching over the Forster's terns)

Great Egret (2 at Potholes State Park also catching fish)

Long-billed curlew calling out near the Burrowing Owls (Othello)

Rock Wrens (8!! At Ginkgo state park where I met the coolest park ranger ever)

White-throated swift (Gingko state park)

Vaux swifts (everywhere)

Sage Thrashers (4! singing their hearts out and nesting as they carried bugs in their beaks at Quilomena Wildlife Refuge)

Sagebrush sparrow (1 singing loudly at Quilomena Wildlife Refuge)

California Quails (at McCain Pond)

Townsend's warbler x Hermit Warbler hybrid (1 cascade mtns) I actually ran into a UBC researcher Silu Wang, who was studying these birds as well with mist nets she was looking for pure Hermits but we both came up short that day.

Nashville Warbler (cascade mtns)

Olive-sided flycatcher and western wood pewee (cascade mtns)

Varied thrush (cascade mtns)

Hermit thrush (cascade mtns)

And to speak of a magical moment...after five hours of hiking around we heard a soft hooting noise and after investigating for quite some time as to where it was coming from we found a male NORTHERN SPOTTED OWL looking down right at me! I immediately had tears in my eyes that started to run down my face with no shame. It was such an incredible and moving moment. The owl was hooting for a female that was calling out in a higher pitched voice but I never did find her but I sure heard her soft call. The male would stalk up the branch like a little parrot. I sat down beneath him for a few hours until he fell asleep and just watched and listened to him. I don't think any birding moment in my life has ever topped it. The location of these owls of course cannot be divulged because of how endangered these animal are. We really must do more to protect these old growth forests so that these owls really do not become relics of the past or ghosts of the forests which they basically have become in BC.

Red-breasted sapsuckers (skykomish)

Pileated woodpeckers (skykomish)

3 Ruffed grouse with many cute chicks! (cascade mtn range )

40 or more Rufous hummers at 3 feeders (skykomish)

Black-headed grosbeaks (potholes state park)

Greater Yellowlegs (great bird for June because they should be in the Boreal right now! This bird was at McCain ponds which is near Othello)

Bullock's Orioles (On Old Vantage hwy near Quilomena wildlife refuge)

Common Nighthawks (Cave B Winery at Quincy along with many Say's Phoebes)

Nesting Peregrine Falcons (Cascade Mtn range)

And to finish it all... alerted to us by mobbing Robins was a beautiful Crested Caracara with a fully engorged crop. We were was able to watch this bird for 40 mins before he flew away into the woods in the cute town of Skykomish. The neighbours and other American birders were as friendly as ever in this town! I watched it with Scott Downes and his daughter Sierra.

If you get the chance to stay in Quincy I highly recommend a stay at the Cave B Winery. It is pricey but you will be hard pressed to find a more beautiful and birdy spot in the area!

Here are some photos from my brief trip across the border.

Endangered Northern Spotted Owl - Photo: Melissa Hafting
Crested Caracara in Skykomish (Rarity in WA State) - Photo: Melissa hafting
Burrowing Owls in Othello - Photo: Melissa Hafting
Sagebrush Sparrow in Vantage - Photo: Melissa Hafting
Rock Wren in Vantage - Photo: Melissa Hafting
Ferruginous Hawk by her nest in Ephrata - Photo: Melissa Hafting
Forster's Tern at Potholes State Park - Photo: Melissa Hafting
Sage Thrasher in Vantage - Photo: Melissa Hafting
Northern Rough-Winged Swallow in Othellow



Comments

Popular Posts

Dowitcher Identification

STINT IDENTIFICATION

Hawk Identification Tips from every angle (Sharpie vs Cooper and Red-tailed Subspecies)

Snowy Owls and Owl Photography in the Lower Mainland and a Young Birder Painting of a Snowy Owl!

8 Days of Rarities in Arizona!