A year in the life of a couple of novice birdwatchers as they keep track of their Big Year.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Saturday May 26, 2012 Eastern Washington
Being a travel agent it is not often when I go off for 3 nights and don't have everything planned. This weekend was the exception. Life had been too full and busy and I just hadn't had the time to research or make plans. So here we were driving east on I-90 with no plan about where we were going to spend the next few nights. It was really quite fun--also it was my 60th birthday so I knew we couldn't go wrong. First new bird black-billed magpie (#112) flying over the road--not a hard bird to spot east of the mountains but you don't seem them on the wet side. We turned off I-90 just after the Columbia and headed south on the east side of the river and turned off at Beverly on Crab Creek Road. Oh, what's that sitting in that tree? Bird book out, eastern kingbird (#113), sweet. We also saw brown-headed cowbirds (#114) and California quail (#115).
Eastern kingbird California quail
There were groves of Russian olive trees along the road. We stopped to look at what we thought was a nest but it turned out to be a porcupine sleeping in the boughs. Not too far a way was another one. Who knew they slept in trees?
We headed back to highway 240 and stopped at a rest area just across the Columbia and ate some lunch. There we saw some ravens (#116) and western kingbirds (#117) flying around in the trees. Lunch hit the spot and we were ready to take another diversion, crossing back over the Columbia to State Route 24. At 60.1 milepost we took a road north to the Wahluke Slope Wildlife Area. It was a nice quiet road and we heard the melodious song of the western meadowlark (#118). They're not too hard to find-just follow the song. They love to sit on top of a post or shrub and sing away. In the road we saw some medium size birds jumping around--binocs focused--horned larks (#119)--really cool looking!
They was quite a bit of sage brush around and we heard and finally saw a sage sparrow (#120). The road kept going up to the ridge top and up there we got a birds eye view of the valley below crowned by a beautiful great egret flying through the hilltops. Before ending the day we also saw a rough legged hawk (#121).
We ended the day staying at the Red Lion in Pasco. They were pretty full but I worked them down to a good rate. We ate at a nice local restaurant and they brought me a dessert with Happy Birthday written in chocolate on the plate--they must know me. Back at the hotel Rudy gave me a Kindle Fire and wrote me a beautiful poem for my birthday. Nice day birding--nice way to spend my birthday.