Coulees, Grand and Otherwise
Sunday, July 1, 2007:
Today's schedule was pretty full, and I was glad I managed to leave the hotel by 6am. I had discovered overnight that the Violet-green Swallows at the Econo Lodge are active all night, so I started out the day with a decent bird.
After a quick stop for gas, I headed south out of Wenatchee. On impulse, I pulled in to the Rock Island Hydro Park. I enjoyed the view of the river and the hills. I also found a few more birds. My first planned stop was farther down the road at Moses Coulee. I noticed some Magpies flying around right about at the recommended place to stop. Western Meadowlarks were all over the place! Variety was fairly small, but the meadowlarks made up for it in numbers and I was surprised to find Flickers there.
|Columbia River||Moses Coulee|
I continued down SR-28/US-2 to Quincy, where I headed up into the Beezley Hills. This brought a good selection of birds, including a few Chukars and Sage Thrasher. Coyotes were calling as I watched the thrasher. I decided to take a shortcut via Ephrata to the next location. It turned out to be a great choice! I was delighted when a family of California Quail walked out on the road (with about 15 young). I was even more delighted when another quail stayed put while I photographed him. My first lifer of the trip! Interesting, I found two more groups of quail before the shortcut was over. The last coming as I pulled off to turn around after missing my turn.
Actually, the improvisation was going so well, I just took a different route instead. It brought me Turkeys, so it was a very good day for galliformes! My next stop was Winchester Lakes, which had both Clark's and Western Grebes. I found fewer waterfowl than expected, which turned out to be the other theme of the day. The Audubon Dodson Road site had a couple of Redhead and I found a few more ducks on Frenchman's Hill Road. Potholes Lake had lots of weekend boaters, but I found a few White Pelicans below the O'Sullivan dam.
A young Golden Eagle near Moses Lake was a surprise. I dipped on Tricolored Blackbird at Wilson Creek, but there were other birds around and I much enjoyed the view from the end of the marsh.
|California Quail||Wilson Creek||Grand Coulee|
I then drove back west to Soap Lake where a found 2 Avocets. Lake Lenore provided Barrow's Goldeneyes, but birding was slow after this. Fortunately, there was some nice scenery along both the lower and upper portions of Grand Coulee. I took a number of photos at Dry Falls, then visited the Grand Coulee Dam.
|Lake Lenore||Dry Falls||Grand Coulee Dam|
Given the time, I decided to skip the loop though Twisp, but instead just drive to Omak, then back to Wenatchee. I was glad I did as I drove though some different habitats. I probably should have made some random birding stops, but I was worried that if I did, it would be very late when I got back.
I did check out Lake Chelan and then made a final birding stop at the Columbia Breaks Fire Interpretive Center in Entiat. This was a good choice! I added several species to my list, including some Bullock's Orioles, a heard-only Canyon Wren, a singing Cassin's Finch, and Common Nighthawk. After that I returned to Wenatchee, with a quick stop at Albertson's before heading to the hotel.
Today's bird totals: Day, 69. Trip, 82. Lifers, 1
Econo Lodge, Wenatchee, WA