Southwest Washington Birding Yesterday
Sandhill Cranes Grus canadensis at the Lower River Road in the Vancouver Lowlands.
Yesterday Ken Brown, Bruce Labar and I headed on our annual early-in-the-year trek to southwest Washington in hopes of seeing the handful of species more easily found in that area in winter that elsewhere in Washington in any given year.
Snowy Egret Egretta thula is a tough species to find in WA many years.
We started at the end of Lower River Road in the Vancouver Lowlands. This area is well known to WA birders as the best place in the state to see Snowy Egret, along with Great Egret and wintering flocks of Sandhill Cranes. We easily ticked off these species on our 2019 WA year list. We also looked over flocks of sparrows and Bruce found a White-throated Sparrow, but neither Ken nor I could pick it out of the flock.
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus .
Next we headed to Ridgefield NWR where the target species were Red-shouldered Hawk, at the very northern end of its range, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Tundra Swan. We easily found the swans, as most of the many swans that winter at Ridgefield are TUSW. The Red-shouldered Hawk was hunkered down in a difficult to see crotch of an oak in the area it is usually found, and luckily Bruce spied Woodland where in a huge flock of scaup a Tufted Duck had been seen in the last few days. Ken and I managed reasonably good looks at the TUDU but Bruce was not able to get a look. It is amazing how difficult it can be to "pass off" a view of a bird like this in a spotting scope, as the ducks were drifting, and constantly shuffling position. No photo was possible.
Northern Harriers Circus cyaneus were all over the open wetlands yesterday at Ridgefield and other areas. They used to be named "Marsh Hawk", a name that described their habitat preferences exactly.
The down-side of the day was that I got a flat tire and we had to drive home on the spare tire, and today I'm posting this from Les Schwab Tire Center in Puyallup where I'm getting new tires.
Good birding. Steem on!