Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ultra-crazy Hardcore Boreal Birding!

When I met Jon, he told me of a mystical place so far north in Washington that if you stand in the right spot, you can see Canada.  He informed me that Boreal Owls have been detected in good numbers every fall for over ten years.  Being the owl freak I am, I was obviously intrigued.  Right around the peak time, which is mid-September to mid-October, I read a post on the local listserv with specific directions to a good spot for this incredible species.  The hotspot is known as Salmo Pass, and also holds such other goodies as Northern Pygmy-Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Dusky, Spruce, and Ruffed Grouse, Boreal Chickadee, Pine Grosbeak, Gray Jay, Northern Goshawk, and White-winged Crossbill, as well as many more birds that can be found in Maricopa County AZ at spots such as Mount Ord.  So, it's pretty much a juicy northern wonderland.  As always, this will be a long post, so grab some popcorn.

After reading the post, I knew I had to go.  It was a duty, a calling, a must-do, if you will.  3.5 hours away?  Doesn't matter, I have my own car!  I didn't have a choice.  My owl-obsessed brain packed my things quickly and robotically, and I was off for a camping trip to the 6800' elevation grizzly-bear habitat of Salmo Pass.  On the road in, I ran over a poor Spruce Grouse.  It didn't make it, unfortunately.  Those darn birds flush in all sorts of weird ways.  Other goodies included numerous Gray Jays, Steller's Jays, and Pacific Wrens.

I arrived at the trailhead.  It was pretty dang cold!  I am from the Sonoran Desert, and I am used to mid 50s at worst!  Well it was 40 degrees, and the sun was still out!  Uh oh, I am not sure if I was prepared in my shorts!

Inspirational, awe-inspiring, or just dumb?

The sun set, and I couldn't contain my excitement!  This was it!  Now, as of this May, I had 3 owls on my list.  Namely, Great Horned, Burrowing, and Short-eared.  As of the writing of this post, I have 12 owls!  They are:

Great Horned
Burrowing
Short-eared
Western Screech
Flammulated
Elf
Northern Pygmy
Whiskered Screech
Barn
Spotted
*spoiler*
and *spoiler*

Needless to say, 2015 has been the Year of the Owl for me, without a single doubt.  So it makes sense that my dumb luck/crazy skill would continue.  Right??  Right??  Don't answer, it's rhetorical.

I owled along the stretch where Boreal Owls were most often reported. and I picked up a Saw-whet.  While not my target, it was a great bird to get, and a lifer.  My fingers were growing numb, and the 28 degree cold was getting to me.  As I owled, a car drove up.  It was Dan Lockshaw, the owner of owling.com.  He was there to search for the Boreals as well.  We listened together for around an hour, with nothing, not even a hoot.  We split up, and I owled for another two fruitless hours.  I was about to give up, due to the cold and literally not being able to feel my feet, when I heard a clutch buzzer-beater hoot sequence, paired with a contact call!  BOREAL OWL!  All bodily pain vanished.  I did not see the bird, but obtained a short recording.

It was a surreal experience, birding in those northern forests.  I had to go to sleep though, I had been owling for five hours, and had to drive home the next day!  I sincerely regret splitting up from Dan, because he had visuals and incredible photos of the Boreal Owls.  Live and learn though.  I guess you earn that privilege after owling for many years.  I am still a newbie when it comes to owling, and my time for photos will come.

The next morning, after fitful sleep and dreams of Boreal "skiew" notes, I awoke to bird the area.  Ironically, I found U.S. Border Patrol patrolling the area near the Canadian border.  Just two months before, I had seen U.S. Border Patrol patrolling our Mexican border!  Funny how those things work out.  I quickly had 3 Pygmy Owls responding to my whistles.  And what was that "pik"?  Could it be, an American Three-toed Woodpecker???  Yes!  Another flyover lifer.  I also had Boreal Chickadees, but was unable to obtain photos.  Over the pass, distant but obvious, was a more-than magnificent adult male Northern Goshawk.  WOW!  Second sighting for me, and always impressive.  Well, I drove home after a large amount of success.  I added three lifers to my list, but did not accomplish my goal of seeing Boreal Owl.  Oh well, I'm young and have a lot of time.  The whole week, I thought of the Boreals constantly, and planned a trip for the next weekend.

Lifers:
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Boreal Owl
American Three-toed Woodpecker

The next weekend, I was feeling a strong, obsessive, Captain Ahab-like drive to return.  I called the Forest Service to inquire about road conditions to that primitive site, and the lady mistakenly told me the roads were closed.  Much to my everlasting chagrin, I awoke to a post on the listserv the next morning praising the great Boreal Owling another birder had had the night before.  I will not lie, a tear or two were shed, and I nearly sunk into a deep depression.  However, I had my studies, along with Red-necked Grebes, at college to keep me busy.  The next weekend, October 9th, I determined to drive the distance no matter what the well-meaning but oh-so-mind-bogglingly-wrong Forest Service employee said.  I had purchased some cold-weather clothes, much like Captain Ahab, and was fully prepared for all circumstances.  I arrived, after seeing Ruffed Grouse on the way in.

I started owling at 7:30.  I was excited beyond belief.  I walked down to the previously-unproductive stretch of beautiful forest road.  It is a weird feeling, being 30 miles out from the nearest person, owling alone on a dark, cloudless night in grizzly bear country.  Some might call me crazy, I call myself dedicated and hardcore.  After about an hour and a half, using playback on and off, I heard an incredibly loud SKIEW call.  The Boreal Owl was right above me!  I switch to the contact call and it went crazy!  It came in 20 feet away, and called again.  I was actually shaking out of joy and could hardly stand.  I directed a light towards the sound, but could not locate it.  But, what was that?  A second Boreal Owl?  Could it be?  Yes!  There I was, standing beneath two duetting Boreal Owls.  I will never forget that night.  However, I still had not seen one.  I listened and played tape, alternating, for about ten minutes, with the owls vocalizing continuously.  This is when I had my moment.  I turned on my flashlight, and saw the adult Boreal Owl perched about 15 feet up in an Engelmann Spruce tree!  THERE IT WAS, my new favorite bird.  It flushed after five seconds, calling as it went, and I lost it.  Then, two young birds kicked in with begging calls.  FOUR BOREAL OWLS!  WHAT A NIGHT!  I was standing in a Boreal Square of four owls.  I wonder if I picked up any superpowers from that.  After a few more minutes, I picked up an adult, one of the original two, flying silently across the path.  They all went silent after about thirty total minutes.  I was slightly disappointed with my lack of photos, but I am more than grateful to see Boreal Owl twice!  I kept owling hard, for another few miles, and heard distant skiew notes here and there, no big deal right? Haha.

I wrapped it up at that specific spot and headed up to the parking "lot."  There, a trail leads into Canada and Idaho.  That trail is often productive for Boreal Owl as well.  I owled this road, picking up one owl giving alternating partial song and contact notes.  No visual.  At around 1:30 A.M., after six hardcore hours of owling, I decided to call it a night.  Wow!  Exhilarating and exhausting, to say the least.  I placed my count at FIVE Boreal Owls for the night, though it could have been six or seven.

I camped in my Subaru Outback, and woke up the next day not quite sure if the events of the night before were a dream.  I was determined to bird as hard as I ever had before, and I did.  I nabbed Ruffed Grouse, lifer Dusky Grouse, Pacific Wren, Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Pygmy-Owls, American Three-toed Woodpecker. Pileated Woodpecker, Northern Harrier, Spruce Grouse, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Pygmy Nuthatch, Dark-eyed Junco, lifer "red" Fox Sparrow, and a pleasant surprise mixed flock of my lifer White-winged Crossbill and Red Crossbills.

Boreal Chickadees have a lower and buzzier call than any of the other three expected species at Salmo Pass, and this is the best way to ID them at long distances.  I heard one, and knew this was my chance to photograph it.  I lured it pretty close with pishing, and came away with ONE PICTURE:



So very fulfilling!  I have photographed five chickadees this year, Mountain, Mexican, Boreal, Black-capped and Chestnut-backed.  I feel pretty blessed to have self-found both Mexican and Boreal, two chickadees at opposite borders of the U.S. in the same year!

What a way to end the trip.  And I had even more grouse on the road out.

Lifers:
Dusky Grouse
Fox Sparrow
White-winged Crossbill

Boreal birding is fantastic.  I think it is quickly becoming my favorite habitat to bird in.  The Boreal Owls, Boreal Chickadees, White-winged Crossbills, Pileated Woodpeckers, American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Northern Goshawk, Gray Jay, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Spruce, Dusky, and Ruffed Grouse combine to make an incredible hotspot of epic proportions.  I am very fortunate to have had the birding experience in Arizona, and while I have a LOT to learn about birding Idaho and Washington, I feel like I am well on my way to good local knowledge.  At the time of this writing, my Idaho state list is at 129, and my Washington list is at 130.  Not bad for living here since August!

My 22 lifers since moving here have been:
Calliope Hummingbird
Dusky Flycatcher
Hammond's Flycatcher
Least Flyatcher
Swainson's Thrush
Boreal Chickadee
Gray Jay
Baird's Sandpiper
Stilt Sandpiper
Semipalmated Plover
Red-necked Phalarope
Franklin's Gull
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Common Nighthawk
Pacific Wren
Varied Thrush
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Boreal Owl
American Three-toed Woodpecker
Dusky Grouse
Fox Sparrow
White-winged Crossbill

Here I sit, at 483 on my lifelist, and 383 on my ABA list, trying to hit 500/400 before the year is out!!

Thanks for reading!

Bird hard always,
Walker

HABITAT

Northern Birding Frenzy, Part 2!

After settling in, my birding appetites were coming back strong.  I felt the need to do some exploration during shorebird migration.

Now, the county I am in in Idaho is not necessarily the best for birds, but has great gulls in winter, and is pretty well centrally located to a lot of other high-potential birding areas in the northwest.  For example, it is an hour from great lowland habitat holding Grasshopper Sparrows, Western Meadowlarks, etc., and three hours away from high boreal forest holding Boreal Owls, Boreal Chickadees, White-winged Crossbills, etc.  And Snowy Owls are usually found in my county, Kootenai, in winter.  I am actually preparing for a big year in the county next year.  My good friend Caleb Strand is visiting in January, to bird with me for some great specialties such as winter gulls and owls, among other things.  I am pretty excited to get him some new birds!  So, I am always on the lookout for potential vagrant traps or hotspots in my county!

The next lifer I had was a Dusky Flycatcher along a highway in Hayden, north of my home in Coeur d'Alene.  Great bird, and still in the county of Kootenai!

I headed to a Spokane County, Washington hotspot known as Slavin Ranch, where I birded extremely hard and came up with 56 species, not a bad day at all in eastern Washington.

I had a nice dark-morph Red-tailed Hawk fly by for some good photo opportunities:







Here is the checklist:
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S24700890

So, back to the shorebirding.  The next week, I headed to a nearby pond area, called Reardan.  I birded a stretch, getting 13 species of shorebirds, with highlights being Pectoral, Semipalmated Sandpiper and Plover, Stilt Sandpiper (lifer), Baird's Sandpiper (lifer), etc.

Lifers:
Stilt Sandpiper
Baird's Sandpiper
Semipalmated Plover



This was satisfying for sure.  I was super stoked to be getting some great birds in my new home.  Over the next few days, I birded a few spots around my school and home, getting some cool northern birds like Black-billed Magbie, Black-capped Chickadees, etc.  At my college, which luckily borders a lake, I picked up many county birds, such as Least Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, House Wren, etc.

Next, I caught up with Jon Isacoff for a trip for some vagrant searching over in eastern Washington.  We picked up a rarity Great Egret, which sounds very weird for me to say, having had hundreds upon hundreds in Arizona!!  It was actually a county first of year for the county of Lincoln, Washington!  In the town of Sprague, which holds a wastewater treatment plant, Jon and I picked up lifer-for-me Red-necked Phalaropes, another county first of year Common Tern, another Great Egret, a great Red-necked Grebe, Vesper Sparrows, Peregrine Falcon, Western Meadowlarks, Western and Eastern Kingbird (!), and more.  At the Sprague Lake Resort, Jon scoped a Franklin's Gull! Another unexpected lifebird.  I obtained horrific but diagnostic photos, digiscoped.

Lifers:
Red-necked Phalarope
Franklin's Gull

After all this great birding, I still had not picked up Golden-crowned Kinglet, Pacific Wren, or Varied Thrush, which were in my mind the great northern wet forest trio.  Oh well.  One day, as I was sitting in my college class, I heard a strange buzzing from my second story window seat level with the canopy.  I looked out to see my lifer Golden-crowned Kinglets foraging feet from me!  And in the middle of my Ethics class!  No photos, obviously.

Lifer:
Golden-crowned Kinglet

Fast forward a week or so, and I had planned to visit an event in Spokane known as Pig Out in the Park, a gathering of live music and food vendors.  I went with a friend, so I wasn't really planning on birding.  I hadn't gotten Common Nighthawk yet, despite intensive searching.  Oh well, it was early September, and I thought that most of the CONIs had departed for the fall, and I would have to wait til next year.  I wasn't really thinking about birding that night, though.  So imagine my surprise when a flock of 16 Common Nighthawks flew over me in the park at dusk!

Lifer:
Common Nighthawk

It was icing on the proverbial cake, and I was really hitting a groove in my birding.  I wanted to close out my VATH-GCKI-PAWR trio, so after school one day I hit a spot on the east of Lake Coeur d'Alene that has the most perfect habitat for these species.  Red-eyed Vireos are also fairly reliable there.  And I had success on all three except the Vireo!

Lifers:
Pacific Wren
Varied Thrush

Around this time, I decided to chase an Anna's Hummingbird.  For you Arizona readers, this may be a bit comical.  But, while maybe not a full-blown rarity, an Anna's Hummingbird in northern Idaho is always a notable bird.  And I needed it for my county!  So don't laugh, my dear AZ friends.

Well, no luck on the Anna's, but I picked up a county first Warbling Vireo, so that was a nice consolation.  My Kootenai list was already at 100, putting me in 11th all-time for the county on eBird.  My goal is to break the all time record of 202 by the end of next year.

With that, I'll close this post.  Coming up, crazy-ultra-awesome northern boreal forest birding!  What will I get?  Could it be something else with Boreal in its name?  Wait and see!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Northern Birding Frenzy, Part 1!

So, as you guys may know, I have recently moved to Idaho!  I live very close to the border of Washington, so I am able to bird Washington quite a bit!  Right before I left AZ, I went on an epic adventure with Chris Rohrer, to lcean up some of my most needed AZ specialties.  On that day trip, I picked up 8 lifers:

Botteri's Sparrow
Scaled Quail
Cassin's Sparrow
Varied Bunting
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Five-striped Sparrow
Buff-collared Nightjar
Mexican Whip-poor-will

A great way to end my AZ residency.  I may expound on this amazing trip in a later post.  But on to the northern birding!

I am still getting used to the different challenges of photographing birds up here, so this post will be very light on photos.

The first birding that I did in the northwest, fittingly enough, was some owling with a top birder of the area named Jon Isacoff.  I actually met Jon, a Spokane resident, in Madera Canyon while looking for Buff-collared Nightjars a few weeks before!  Coincidental, isn't it?  It was nice to make a birding connection before I even moved.  We had four Great Horned Owls and three Western Screech-Owls in Eastern Washington in the foothills of Mount Spokane.

In mid August, soon after I arrived in Idaho (to stay!) I birded at a place called Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, in northern Idaho in Bonner County.  I was surprised to find Eastern Kingbirds, quite numerous in fact, Gray Catbirds, Chestnut-backed and Black-capped Chickadees, Least Flycatchers, Hammond's Flycatchers, Calliope Hummingbirds, Downy Woodpeckers, and more common forest birds.  I birded in some excellent Pacific Wren/Varied Thrush/Golden-crowned Kinglet habitat, but could not come up with any of those three species.  I did find a singing Swainson's Thrush lifer in a thick wet canopy, though.  A Belted Kingfisher also put on a great show, catching fish right in front of me.  I also nabbed Vaux's Swift and ABA lifer Black Tern.

Lifers so far:
Calliope Hummingbird
Dusky Flycatcher
Hammond's Flycatcher
Least Flyatcher
Swainson's Thrush

What are EAKIs doing in the west?  WHAT?!  TELL ME!

This guy put on a show, that's for sure.

Everyone loves distant blurry flycatchers, right?  No?



The next hotspot I birded was at Priest Lake, in Boundary County in the far north of the state.  Here, I obtained great looks at Chestnut-backed Chickadees and even a BOREAL CHICKADEE lifer!

Chestnut-backed Chickadees:



Crush you very much Mr. Chester the Chestnut-backed.

I heard another Least Flycatcher calling, and was pretty pleased with that.  On my way out, I had three of my lifer Gray Jays!


I was really enjoying this high-elevation forest birding.  Lifers:

Boreal Chickadee
Gray Jay

I took a couple weeks off of birding, to focus on getting settled at my new college, etc.  So, this post will be continued with many more great sightings in the very near future!  Idaho/Washington offer a whole new set of challenges and rewards compared to Arizona birding.

Bird hard!
Walker

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Rarity Chasing in Southeast AZ

Hey guys, I am now living up in Idaho.  I am a bit behind on my blogging, so here is a post from late July, right before I left AZ:

This past week, right after I got out of college for the rest of the summer, I wanted to head down to SEAZ to clean up some birds I was missing before a big move to Idaho.  I took my awesome brother along, and planned to meet up with Chris Rohrer Thursday morning and head down to California Gulch for the FSSP and BCNI.  Neither Chris nor I had ever been down to the Gulch.

My targets were:
Plain-capped Starthroat
Five-striped Sparrow
Buff-collared Nightjar
Botteri's Sparrow
Cassin's Sparrow
Scaled Quail
Greater Pewee
Mexican Whip-poor-will
Varied Bunting

I got seven of those lifers, and a bonus ;).  Also, I wanted to do some hardcore owling and crush some Mexican owls.

I arrived Wednesday evening, and got Cassin's Sparrow, Botteri's Sparrow, Scaled Quail, and Varied Bunting in the grasslands on the way in.  Successful time!  We also had nesting Greater Roadrunners. The rain started pouring, and limited our birding a lot.



When photos are poor, you have to console yourself with the unique specialty of the bird.


We headed up to Proctor Road, at the spot where Buff-collared Nightjars have been seen and heard.  The rain came in right at sunset, so we missed any potential targets that may have been calling.  After heading back to the second spot on Proctor Road, I ran into Jon Isacoff, a top birder in the Inland Northwest area I will be moving to.  He lives about a half hour away from where I will be, and he also loves owling.  He gave me some hot tips on Boreal Owls ;).  It will be exciting birding with him up in western Idaho and eastern Washington.  Well, no luck on the Nightjars, but we did get Dalton his lifer views and audio of Common Poorwill.

We also ran into a birding family from British Columbia, Dave Beeke and crew.  He gave me a tip on a Whiskered Screech-Owl up at Bog Springs Campground, where we would be camping.  Of course, I was very excited, as this species would be a photo lifer.

I headed up to Bog Springs, to the spot where Dave described.  After listening briefly, I located this awesome little owl!




It was awesome to get such mind-blowingly close and personal views.  The owl was very trusting, and did not flush at all.  I ran to get Dalton, and we enjoyed the owl for a while.  I also detected a second owl calling nearby, they must be a pair.





I will remember that encounter for a long time.  Our campground was right next to the spot, and it's not often one falls asleep to the calls of the Whiskered Screech-Owl.

The next morning, our targets were the magnificent Plain-capped Starthroat and the Greater Pewee.  We met Chris at the Santa Rita Lodge, and sat down to wait for the Starthroat.  Stationary birding can be boring, but I came away with some nice shots:



Well, after a couple hours, it was getting past the time the bird was usually seen, and we decided to head up and look for Greater Pewee at Kubo, where I did get this Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher feeding young.



Much to our dismay, within twenty minutes, Dave from BC came up and told me, "You missed the Starthroat!  It came 15 minutes after you left!"  Agonizing. . . In birding, this happens, and there's not much you can do.  A new nemesis bird, my third missed chase.

We missed the Pewee, but that wasn't a big deal.  Chris also showed me a nice Whiskered Screech-Owl day roost.



On to California Gulch for the FSSP and BCNI!!!

On the way down, we stopped at Pena Blanca Lake to scan for any Least Grebes.  No luck.  The day was actually turning sour, with us missing a lot of targets.  Highlight was a Gray Hawk juvenile showing good field marks.

The drive down to California Gulch was much longer than expected.  We stopped at a few places along the way, and picked up Rufous-winged and Rufous-crowned Sparrows.  We also had two Montezuma Quail calling on this slope.

We kept going, and barely missed a largish chocolatey sparrow flying down slope.  Not enough to ID, but it was 90% a Five-striped.  I was very tempted to count it, but I didn't.

We kept going, and got some more good species, and breathtaking views.
We arrived (FINALLY) at the California Gulch turnoff, and decided to bird here a while.  A few Five-striped Sparrows calling, but no visuals.  We did pick up Summer Tanager, always a treat, and a Western type flycatcher.  After thought about elevation, Chris and I called it a Pacific-slope!  Lifer number five of the trip!


It was getting very hot in the mid-afternoon, and we weren't having much activity.  As we headed back to the car, we ran into James and Monroe McKay, a father-son team doing an ABA semi-big year.  As of last Friday night, they were at 609 species, and they both have to see or hear the bird for it to count!  Monroe is 87, and James is 56.  Pretty cool duo they are!  All five of us opted to make the last stretch of drive down to the confluence together.  We stopped at the last ridge, and had a promising sparrow that turned out to be a Rufous-winged.

Well, we arrived at the confluence, and got to work.  It wasn't long before we GOT OUR TARGET!





Great looks!  A lifer for Dalton and I, an ABA yearbird for Chris, and yearbird number 607 for James and Monroe!  Awesome stuff!  A crazy good bird in an epic and remote location!

After we nabbed the Five-striped, we all wanted to wait for the Buff-collared Nightjar to start calling, and hopefully track it down.  So, we had a couple hours of just sitting and chatting.  That was fun, and I think I might have nodded off once or twice.  A group we had run into around the Santa Rita Lodge/Kubo, etc. also arrived.  We greeted them and began our Nightjar vigil.

As darkness fell, we heard Poorwills.  Then, an Elf Owl started calling.  A would-be yearbird for James and Monroe, if Monroe could hear the bird.

The Elf Owl then came in, and I got the group on the bird.  Yearbird 608 for James and Monroe.



ELOW activity exploded!  I heard three adults and two fledglings.  I got my camera on the fledgling, which was giving begging calls, and got this OK shot.



No BCNI activity yet, and I had left the spot to go find the Elf Owls.  Chris said, "Everyone up in Phoenix is an owl freak, Caleb, Tommy, Walker, etc."  HAHA!  I left the Nightjar spot to find an owl I have already seen a lot of.  Whatever.

I also heard a Western Screech-Owl calling.  It would have been a yearbird for James and Monroe, but unfortunately Monroe couldn't hear it, and according to their rules, James wouldn't count it.  I whistled it in closer, but Monroe still couldn't hear it.  Bummer.

Then. we heard the distinctive call of the awesome Buff-collared Nightjar.  Lifer!  Third of the day.  We were unable to locate it, although it was very close.  Oh well.  Yearbird 609 for James and Monroe.

We headed back to Madera, where we said goodbye to Chris.  Picked up Lesser Nighthawks and flyby Great Horned Owl on the way back.  We each contacted our people-who-might-be-worried-that-we-were-at-the-Mexican-border-at-9-P.M. and let them know we were OK.  Chris left for Tucson and Dalton and I prepared to camp.  However, there was one more order of unfinished business that I had to take care of.  There had been recent Mexican Whip-poor-will records, and that was my nemesis!  We headed up to Mt. Wrightson to listen.  After a few minutes, at midnight surprisingly, we heard 4 MWPWs!  Lifer 4 of the day and 8 of the trip!  I also detected a Flammulated Owl calling from up canyon.

I heard the Whiskered Screech-Owl at Bog Springs, but was unable to see it.  A five owl night!

Elf
Whiskered Screech
Western Screech
Great Horned
Flammulated

As an "owl freak," I was thrilled!

The next morning, we were determined to wait out the Starthroat.  Well, long story short, the hummingbird was a no show.  A new nemesis!  I ran into Dave again at the Santa Rita Lodge, and we talked about meeting up in Vancouver this winter for some killer owling!

I also talked to Jon Isacoff.  During the few hours waiting at the Santa Rita Lodge, we discussed owls, their distribution, and owling prospects in the Inland Northwest.  Pretty exciting!

Well, time to wrap up.  Target birding was almost 100% successful, with Plain-capped and Greater Pewee the sole misses.  Oh well.  The Whiskered Screech-Owl encounter will probably remain the best shots I have of it for my whole life.  Very exciting.  Also, my next blog post should be from Idaho, where I will try to make a splash in the local birding scene!

Good birding,
Walker