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!
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:
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!
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:
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.