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A friend and I (no dogs, can you believe it?) went birding a couple days ago. We drove down the Methow, up the big river and then north on the east side of the county and back across the Loup. The weather was outstanding. Sunny and bright, cold in the morning but warm enough for light jackets in the afternoon. There were many water birds, few little brown jobs (sparrows and finches and such) and a good number of raptors. It was a good day birding.

One of our favorites was this nearby Pied-billed Grebe eating its lunch. It was very close and gave us such good views! The lump in its throat in the last image is the fish.

We noticed this Bufflehead sitting on a frozen lake separated by a dike from the big river. It was a ‘sitting duck’. Not a good thing in an area where we observed several Bald Eagles, a Cooper’s Hawk and a Northern Harrier. I don’t know if it was injured or it had mistakenly landed on the ice and could not get enough lift to get over the dike to the open water. It would fly low to the ice and land clumsily and finally it walked over to some cattails where it could be under cover while it planned its next move. According to All About Birds, Bufflehead are seldom seen on dry land: females walk only when they lead their ducklings from the nest to the water or when they’re forced to switch ponds with their ducklings.

We saw lots of other birds and had grand views of the mountains to the west. A good day birding.

Our bird list:

Common Loon

Horned Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

Western Grebe

Great Blue Heron

Canada Goose

Mallard

American Wigeon

Green-winged Teal

Canvasback

Redhead

Greater Scaup

Lesser Scaup

Common Goldeneye

Barrow’s Goldeneye

Bufflehead

Hood Merganser

Common Merganser

Northern Harrier

Cooper’s Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Bald Eagle

Merlin

American Kestrel

California Quail

Ring-necked Pheasant

American Coot

Mew Gull

Mourning Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Rock Pigeon

Northern Flicker

Say’s Phoebe

Northern Shrike

Black-billed Magpie

Common Raven

American Crow

Horned Lark

Black-capped Chickadee

Red-breasted Nuthatch

American Robin

European Starling

Cedar Waxwing

Yellow-rumped Warblee

American Tree Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Snow Bunting

Red-winged Blackbird

House Finch

House Sparrow

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