Monday, November 7, 2011

Home from Othello - 11/6 - Adams, Grant and Kittitas Counties

Adams County

Adams County Fairgrounds
Okay, this is a short one, but I had a great morning of birds and beauty on the way home from Othello.  I got up way too early, and made another try for owls.  Having found a dead Barn Owl on the side of the road back in May, I wanted a chance to see one alive and flying this morning!  I tried the cemetery, and the Adams County Fairgrounds south of town while it was still dark, and tried for Great Horned Owls - nope.  I then made my way to Lemaster and Steele Roads hoping for Barn, Short-eared, or maybe even a Burrowing Owl hanging around - nope, nope, nope.  I grabbed some breakfast and hit the road.

Frosty Adams morning
Adams County was the only county left in Eastern Washington where I hadn't seen 50 birds for the year (45), so I had hoped to see some ducks in lakes along McManamon Road heading north out of Othello.  As with Columbia County, I found the area to be surprisingly duckless, but did eventually find five more birds (Ruddy Duck, Prairie Falcon, Dark-eyed Junco, Song Sparrow, and Double-crested Cormorant) by about 8:00. 

Some pictures from the morning:
Para Ponds with ice - Adams County
This lake looked duckless, until I drove past it.
No way to get back to see the backlit ducks I left behind.
Spent all my time in Adams County birding down there - beautiful from up here! 
Drumheller Channels National Monument.  Also where I found bird # 50 - Dark-eyed Junco

Leaving Adams County behind
Grant and Kittitas Counties - on the way home

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon
On the way through Grant County, I really didn't plan to stop anywhere, but a few things required a stop.  The first was a juvenile Peregrine Falcon on a pole.  The 'Name that Raptor' post has generated so much speculation (still trying to nail it down - there are efforts afoot to measure the branches in Brewster to aid with ID'ing the juvenile falcon in the picture), so I was happy to get a picture that was a little more definitive.

A flock of geese along Highway 26 had Canada and Cackling Geese, as well as a lone Snow Goose:

I had to get gas in Vantage, in Kittitas County, and I was still mighty short on ducks, so I swung down to the boat ramp, and quickly found a handful of species, including five new ones for my Kittitas County life list (Cackling Goose, American Coot, American Wigeon, Horned Grebe and Surf Scoter), bringing it to 100. :) 

No more stops, and I went back over Snoqualmie Pass, ending my year on the east side of the mountains.  One more county left where I'm short of 39 for the year (Skamania - 35), and if I can find a way to swing into Grays Harbor County (41) during that trip, and pick up some winter ducks/sparrows/raptors/geese, it'll be 50 in every county for the year.

Definitely waiting for December for that trip, and I think the blog stops there.  It's been a lot of fun to try to capture this harebrained chase for 39x39 in stories and photos, but the extra time... well it's been a lot of time!  Before I close shop, I have to say, I've been a little curious about who is reading this, to be honest - the stat page says someone in Romania keeps checking in, and I know there are some folks from Tweeters as well.  Drop me an email, anyway -  especially if you've been along for a lot of the trips here, or if it's got you thinking of doing something just as harebrained, let me know.  If there are any places or birds that you have questions about - please ask, and I'd be happy to help as much as I can. 

Apologies for the ridiculous grammar, fixation with Varied Thrushes, apples, small towns, clouds and most of all for listing.  I don't think any of the above are fixable for me at this point.  Apologies too for missed pictures - I don't know if it's lack of patience, skill, aggression or equipment, but I just can't bring myself to shoot every bird I find out there.  Worse yet, my tolerance for a bad picture of a bird is quite high! 

In trying to get everywhere, there are dozens of trips that were dreamed of but not taken.  I guess that's what the next 39 years or so will be for. Bre has asked that I take more of them with people, so if you are a like-minded person that wants to show me around your neck of the woods and help me find things I might have missed, drop me an email as well.  The reverse offer stands as well - if you are swinging through King County, and want to get some birding in, I'd be happy to play tour guide if I'm free.

One more trip!

1 comment:

  1. I just found your blog today and hope you will keep it up. I've been looking for a local birding blog to inspire me to get out there more often.