Washington State, USA - 22nd-29th June 2007

Published by Richard Mooney (richmooney AT shaw.ca)

Participants: Rich Mooney, Lori Lynch


Lori and I have just returned from our first birding trip together. We travelled 3000km in eight days. Our basic route was south along the West coast of Washington, across Astoria Bridge into Oregon. We then traveled down through Portland and back across into Washington and followed the Columbia River across the Cascades and up into Moses Lake. From here we headed north into The Okanogan, then across the border and back into British Columbia. The diversity of habitats was amazing and the birds were fantastic. We tallied 205 species of birds, 16 of which were lifers for me and 55 for Lori. What follows is a brief daily log with highlights. Thank you to all who have helped with the planning of this trip, especially Guy and Donna Monty, Nolan Lynch, Bill and Nancy LaFramboise, Randy Hill, Scott Downes and Marcia Marvin.

22nd June 2007 (day 1)

After spending a night with friends in Victoria we took the Port Angeles ferry at 06:10. by 07:40 we were on the road to Ocean Shores. After many stops and a wonderful speeding ticket we arrived at Ocean Shores at about 3:30pm. Though windy and cold we did get out on the beach and Lori got her lifer Heerman's Gull and Brown Pelican. We arrived in Westport at about 05:30 and had some dinner. We checked the docks to make sure we new where to go for the Pelagic and headed back to our room. This is when I discovered I had forgotten my pants and boots! Sheepishly I told Lori and we went back out on the road to Walmart! 20 miles away in Aberdeen. Luckily we were back in time for a good night sleep!

23rd June 2007 (day 2)

After a good night sleep we awoke to a 4:15am alarm call. With ear patches in place (for motion sickness) we headed for the boat. We departed Westport on our first pelagic at about 05:45. We had an amazing day and got to see many great birds and mammals: Black-footed Albatross, Pink-footed Shearwater, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Northern Fulmar, Black-legged Kittiwake, Tufted Puffin, Leach's Storm-Petrel, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, Pomarine Jaeger, South Polar Skua + Pacific White-sided Dolphin, Dall's Porpoise, Harbor Porpoise and Northern Fur Seal! The seas were calm and our hosts were great. Thanks to all at Westport Pelagic-Phil Anderson, Bruce La Bar, Gene Revelas and Bill Shelmerdine. We had an amazing day and can't wait to go again! After a coffee back on dry land we headed across the Astoria Bridge and into Oregon where we stayed at Sea Ranch RV Park at Cannon Beach.

24th June 2007 (day 3)

Today was one of the most memorable days for both Lori and I. A wet start did not dampen our spirits as we searched for Tufted Puffin on Haystack Rock. A break in the weather afforded us good looks at these wonderful birds. En route to Forest Grovewe stopped at Saddle Mountain for one of my most sought after birds. The Hermit Warbler! With lots of effort and some luck we got fantastic looks and this beautiful little bird. Back on the road brought another lifer for both of us; Western Scrub Jay. We continued on to Pacific University in Forest Grove where there is a known granary for Acorn Woodpecker. After 20 minutes of searching at the university we finally tracked down the call, the bird and finally the nest of The Acorn Woodpecker!
Next we travelled over the bridge in Portland and onto the Washington side of the Columbia and straight east to Lyle. Here we added many more species including Western Bluebird, Bullock's Oriole, Golden Eagle, White-breasted Nuthatch and ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER! We camped in the chilly Simcoe Mountains at Brooks Memorial.

25th June 2007 (day 4)

We departed Brooks Memorial (north of Goldendale in the Simcoe Mountains) at 08:45 after birding the campground. Here Lori got her first look at a very cooperative Nashville Warbler. Though we made several stops we headed for Toppenish and the Bobolink fields of lateral C Road. Lots of good birds around including Gray Catbird and Loggerhead Shrike. We dipped out on the Bobolink mainly due to finding 3 abandond puppies! After Lori fed them some milk we took them into Yakima to the Humane Society. It was very upsetting but at least they now stand a chance. The remainder of the day was spent around the Columbia National Wildlife area West of Othello where we added Rock and Canyon Wren, Clark's Grebe, Swainson's Hawk and American White Pelican to name a few!

26th June 2007 (Day 5)

Our day started at 08:00am as we made our way out towards Vantage. En-route we got a great view of White-throated Swift at head height! We spent an hour in the Quilomene area searching for Sparrows. Our efforts were rewarded with Lark, Brewer's, Vesper and our first Sage Sparrow! Along the main road were Mountain Bluebird and American Kestrel. Our next move proved very worthwhile! After reffering to Hal Oppermans guide we headed down Huntzinger Road to a natural bowl of shrub steppe. On arrival we heard a sparrow singing! Useing playback to confirm its identity were delighted to see a very rare Black-throated Sparrow! This was one of the highlights of our trip! Next, we headed along Lower Crab Creek which was extremly dry and unbirdy. With the day slipping by we headed for our final destination of the day; The Potholes Rookery at the north end of the resevoir. Here we had lots of time to enjoy seeing Great Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, Western Grebe and Cinnamon Teal at close quarters. Making a quick stop on the grassy slopes gave us our first and only Grasshopper Sparrow.

27th June 2007 (day 6)

Today we had our final attempt at Burrowing Owl and came up blank! Next time! We took a very long route to Wilson Creek heading east on highway 26 until the 395 up to to Lind and then west and north on the 21. From Odessa to Wilson Creek we followed the number 28 highway. We had lots of good birds en-route including, Western & Eastern Kingbirds, Loggerhead Shrike, Swainson's Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk and Common Nighthawk. In Wilson Creek we were greeted by Prairie Falcons and Rock Wrens and down on the marsh there were lots of Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, American White Pelican and another lifer for us both; Tri-colored Blackbird. We continued on highway 28 to Soap Lake where we got to see Eared Grebe in breeding plumage. From here we headed west to Wenatchee then north on the I97 to Omak. Just for the record the weather was ridiculously hot and we were very tired at the end of the day!!

28th June 2007 (day 7)

We departed from Omak at 06:52 and headed north-west toward Conconully State Park. We continued along this route toward Loomis traveling through the Sinlahekin Wildlife area. There are many places to stop along the gravel road including Sugar Loaf Mountain, Blue Lake and Palmer Lake plus many more. Highlights included: Black-chinned & Calliope Hummingbird, Yellow-breasted Chat, Bobolink, Gray Catbird, Clark's Nutcracker, Nashville Warbler, Lewis's Woodpecker, Red-naped Sapsucker and Veery. Lori also spotted a Black Bear on the hillside on the east side of Blue Lake. After setting up camp at Osoyoos State Park we headed out on an evening road trip. We didn't add any new species but enjoyed the fantastic scenery around the Okanogan highlands. We also found a Great Basin Gopher Snake on the road.

29th June 2007 (day 8)

After a wet start from the Osoyoos State Park we made our way to the border and crossed with no problems. From here we travelled on the Hope/Princeton highway and onto Highway 1 through to Departure Bay to catch our ferry back to Vancouver Island. En-route we got a new species for the trip, Eurasian Collared Dove in the town of Keremeos and two Black Bear in Manning Park!

Rich Mooney

West Coast Birding blog

Species Lists

Pacific Loon - 2 on the Westport Pelagic
Common Loon - 2
Pied - billed Grebe - 12+
Red - necked Grebe - 8
Eared Grebe - 10+ at Soap Lake
Western Grebe - 20+ Potholes
Clark's Grebe - 2 Moses Lake & Potholes Rookery
Black-footed Albatross - 570 on the Westport Pelagi
Northern Fulmar - 235 on the Westport Pelagic
Pink-footed Shearwater - 360 on the Westport Pelagic
Flesh-footed Shearwater - 1 on the Westport Pelagic
Sooty Shearwater 8,700 on the Westport Pelagic
Leach's Storm - Petrel - 20 on the Westport Pelagic
Fork-tailed Storm - Petrel - 38 on the Westport Pelagic
American White Pelican - 100 Wilson Creek & Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge
Brown Pelican - 230 Ocean Shores & Westport Pelagic
Double-crested Cormorant - seen daily
Brandt's Cormorant - Westport Pelagic
Pelagic Cormorant - Ocean Shores, Pelagic and Cannon Beach
Great Blue Heron - seen daily
Great Egret - 53 seen around Potholes & Moses Lake
Green Heron - 2 seen in Astoria and highway 26 Oregon
Black - crowned Night - Heron - 10 seen at the Potholes Rookery
Mute Swan - en - route to Lyle
Canada Goose - daily
Wood Duck - 12 Loomis/Oroville loop
American Wigeon - Loomis/Oroville loop
Gadwall - Loomis/Oroville Loop
Green-winged Teal - Wilson Creek
Mallard - daily
Blue - winged Teal - Potholes Rookery & Wilson Creek
Cinnamon Teal - Moses Lake, Potholes Rookery & Wilson Creek
Northern Shoveler - Wilson Creek
Canvasback - 1 Wilson Creek
Redhead - 2 Potholes Rookery
Ring - necked Duck - Loomis/Oroville loop
Greater Scaup - Othello area
Lesser Scaup - Potholes Rookery
Harlequin Duck - 15 Cannon Beach
Black Scoter - Cannon Beach and Pelagic
Surf Scoter - Cannon Beach and Pelagic
Common Goldeneye - Loomis/Oroville loop
Bufflehead - Potholes area
Common Merganser - en - route Oregon
Ruddy Duck - Wilson Creek area
Turkey Vulture - daily
Osprey - daily
Bald Eagle - Oregon Coast
Northern Harrier - daily
Sharp-shinned Hawk - Loomis/Oroville loop
Cooper's Hawk - en - route Oregon
Swainson's Hawk - 8+ seen in the Moses Lake/ Wilson Creek area
Red-tailed Hawk - daily
Ferruginous Hawk - 1 (Nest found between Odessa and Wilson Creek)
Golden Eagle - 2 along Columbia River before Lyle
American Kestrel - daily in Washington
Merlin - 1 Potholes area
Prairie Falcon - 2 seen in Lyle and 4 seen at Wilson Creek
Peregrine Falcon - 3 seen together along Columbia River just before Lyle
California Quail - daily
Chukar - Lower Crab Creek
Ring - necked Pheasant - individual heard most day
American Coot - seen daily in Washington
Black Oystercatcher - 1 at Cannon Beach
Black-necked Stilt - Potholes area and Wilson Creek
American Avocet - Potholes area and Wilson Creek
Killdeer - daily
Wilson's Snipe - Potholes area
Spotted Sandpiper - Moses Lake, Potholes and Loomis/Oroville Loop
Willet - 2 at Toakland Marina
Wilson's Phalarope - 1 Palmer Lake area
South Polar Skua - 7 on Westport Pelagic
Pomarine Jaeger - 1 on Westport Pelagic
Heermann's Gull - 100+ Ocean Shores & Pelagic
Mew Gull - Ocean Shore
Ring-billed Gull - daily
California Gull - daily
Glaucous - winged Gull - Ocean Shores
Western Gull - Ocean Shores
American Herring Gull - Wesport Pelagic
Black-legged Kittiwake - 26 on Westport Pelagic
Caspian Tern - daily
Forster's Tern - 6+ Moses Lake & Potholes area
Black Tern - 2 Frenshman Hills Road (262)
Common Murre - Washington/Oregon Coast
Pigeon Guillemot - Washington/Oregon Coast
Marbled Murrelet - Westport Pelagic
Cassin's Auklet - 1 seen on Westport Pelagic but we missed it!
Rhinoceros Auklet - Pelagic and coast
Tufted Puffin - 2 Westport Pelagic and 20+ on Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach
Rock Pigeon - daily
Band-tailed Pigeon - individual seen in Washington/ Oregon (west)
Eurasian Collared - 1 Dove - Keremeos,BC
Mourning Dove - daily in eastern Washington
Great Horned Owl - 1 Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge
Common Nighthawk - 1 - 2 seen most days
Black Swift - Ocean Shores
Vaux's Swift - Ocean Shores and along The Columbia River to Lyle
White-throated Swift - Vantage area
Black-chinned Hummingbird - Loomis/Oroville Loop
Calliope Hummingbird - Loomis/Oroville Loop
Rufous Hummingbird - Washington - Oregon
Belted Kingfisher - West Coast and 1 at Loomis/Oroville
Lewis's Woodpecker - 12+ near Oroville
Acorn Woodpecker - 1 adult male at The Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR.
Red-naped Sapsucker - most days
Red-breasted Sapsucker - 3 Manning Park, BC
Downy Woodpecker - most days
Hairy Woodpecker - Forest Grove area and Loomis/Oroville loop
Northern Flicker - most days
Pileated Woodpecker - en - route from Port Angeles
Olive-sided Flycatcher - 1 Westport
Western Wood - Pewee - most days (common)
Willow Flycatcher - most days
Hammond's Flycatcher - most days in coniferous areas
Pacific-slope Flycatcher - Washington/Oregon (west)
Say's Phoebe - Potholes/Moses Lake (seemed quite scarce?)
Ash-throated Flycatcher - 3 seen in Lyl
Western Kingbird - common most days
Eastern Kingbird - common most days
Tree Swallow - seen most days
Violet-green Swallow - seen most days
Northern Rough - winged Swallow - Oregon highway and Loomis/Oroville loop
Bank Swallow - daily in the east
Cliff Swallow - common
Barn Swallow - common
Golden-crowned Kinglet - Brooks Memorial and Loomis
Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Okanogan
Cedar Waxwing - daily
Rock Wren - daily in areas of Cliffs around Moses Lake/ Wilson Creek
Canyon Wren - Lower Crab Creek and en - route to Vantage
Bewick's Wren - Potholes Camp ground
Winter Wren - en - route from Port Angeles to Westport &Brooks Memorial, OR
House Wren - most days
Marsh Wren - Wilson Creek and Potholes Rookery
Gray Catbird - Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge and Loomis/ Oroville loop
Sage Thrasher - Vantage, Potholes and Wilson Creek
Western Bluebird - most abundant around Lyle
Mountain Bluebird - Lyle, Vantage and en - route to Wilson Creek
Veery - Loomis/Oroville loop
Swainson's Thrush - Most days in wooded areas
Hermit Thrush - 1 Loomis/Oroville Loop
American Robin - daily
Bushtit - Brooks Memorial, OR.
Black-capped Chickadee - regular in wooded areas
Mountain Chickadee - 10+Loomis/Oroville loop
Chestnut-backed Chickadee - Washington - Oregon
Red-breasted Nuthatch - seen on en - route and Oroville/Loomis loop
White-breasted Nuthatch - Lyle and Loomis/Oroville loop
Brown Creeper - Brooks Memorial, OR & Loomis/Oroville loop
Loggerhead Shrike - 10+ Toppenish and en - route to Wilson Creek
Gray Jay - 2 Saddle Mountain, OR.
Steller's Jay - most days
Western Scrub - Jay - 30+ see en - route Portland - Lyle
Black-billed Magpie - daily east of Cascades
Clark's Nutcracker - 5+Loomis/Oroville loop
American Crow - Portland - Washington east daily
North-western Crow - West coast Washington
Common Raven - daily
European Starling - daily
House Sparrow - daily
Cassin's Vireo - Lyle area and Loomis/Oroville loop
Warbling Vireo - most days
Red-eyed Vireo 1 en - route Oregon and 1 Loomis/Oroville loop
Cassin's Finch - 2+ Loomis/Oroville loop
Purple Finch - daily to Lyle
House Finch - daily
Red Crossbill - en - route to Westport & Brooks Memorial Campground, OR.
Pine Siskin - 20+ Loomis/Oroville area
Lesser Goldfinch - 50+ Lyle
American Goldfinch - most days
Evening Grosbeak - 1 at Conconully State Park
Orange-crowned Warbler - seen first three days
Nashville Warbler - Brooks Memorial, OR and Loomis/Oroville loop
Yellow Warbler - most days
Yellow-rumped Warbler - Loomis/Oroville loop
Black-throated Gray Warbler - en - route to Westport & Saddle Mountain, OR.
Townsend's Warbler - en - route to Westport
Hermit Warbler - 2 at Saddle Mountain, OR. Seen and heard and PURE!
MacGillivray's Warbler - en - route to Westport and Loomis/Oroville loop
Common Yellowthroat - most days
Wilson's Warbler - en - route to Westport and Saddle Mountain, OR.
Yellow - breasted Chat - Loomis/ Oroville loop (Blue Lake area)
Western Tanager - most days
Spotted Towhee - en - route on Washington Coast
Chipping Sparrow - Saddle Mountain, OR and Loomis/Oroville loop
Brewer's Sparrow - Vantage area (Quilomene Wildlife Area)
Vesper Sparrow - Vantage area (Quilomene Wildlife Area)
Lark Sparrow - Vanatge (Quilomene Wildlife Area)
Black-throated Sparrow 1 male (Huntzinger Road)
Sage Sparrow 2 Quilomene Wildlife Area
Savannah Sparrow - en - route through Washington/Oregon and Loomis/Oroville loop
Grasshopper Sparrow - 1 Potholes State Park
Song Sparrow - daily
White-crowned Sparrow - most days
Dark-eyed Junco - en - route to Westport and Loomis/Oroville loop
Black-headed Grosbeak - common
Lazuli Bunting - Potholes area, Wilson Creek and Oroville/Loomis loop
Bobolink - Champney Slough, north of Palmer Lake (Chopaka Road)
Red-winged Blackbird - most days
Tricolored Blackbird - 1 seen at Wilson Creek wetlands
Western Meadowlark - most days
Yellow-headed Blackbird - Potholes and Wilson Creek
Brewer's Blackbird - daily
Brown - headed Cowbird - daily
Bullock's Oriole - common most days