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Tag Archives: chukar

It’s Christmas Bird Count (CBC) season. Last week, I joined three other birders and one dog to count the birds in southern Okanogan County. Winter came early and it seems that many birds left for places where they can find food more easily. I’ve done this count many times before and have never seen so much snow. One of our counters broke trail with snowshoes but it was still a slog. Lucky for us, it was not too cold with the temperature hovering around freezing and endless blue skies! While we did not see a lot of bird life, we did enjoy studying tracks in the snow and wondering about the tales those tracks told. We saw lots of beaver sign and watched one across the river. There were many bobcat tracks too. Our favorite unexpected bird species was a small group of Chukars!

At the end of the day we had 38 bird species for our section of the count. Last year, with just two of us counting, we had 56 species in the same area.

Four of us made a big birding loop down the Methow, up the Columbia, across the Okanogan and then up into the rocky, potholed highlands of the Colville Reservation. From there we dropped down to the Columbia River Road and then passed by Omak Lake and back down to highway 97 and then over the Loup to return to the Methow.

It was a good day of birding. We saw nearly sixty species including a pair of Long-billed Curlews shown here. They are one of my old favorite species and always a delight to see and hear and can be a challenge to find in this county.


This Chukar was in the middle of the road and we wondered if it was sitting on eggs or injured or something else. As we began to drive around it to the right, the bird popped up and joined another that was in the weedy grass on the left side of us. It looked like some sort of courting effort for the pair.

We saw many species of waterfowl, several types of raptors and few small birds. It seems that with the cold spring, the migration is slow to start. Besides the curlews, we saw only two other shorebirds species – Killdeer and Greater Yellowlegs. We heard a Ruffed Grouse. There were numerous Common Loons on the lower Methow. Two Osprey were calling to each other at the mouth of Methow, so loudly we could hear them with all the windows closed in the car.

All in all, a fun day of birding.

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