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Tag Archives: Okanogan County

I chose my campsite for its potential to have very dark skies without artificial lighting. I was right. It was terrific for seeing the stars. These were made during two different nights, shot around 2:30 to 4:00 am. They are single shots. I am always amazed at the colors of the night sky.

What do you do when you go camping? Sometimes I get asked that. On this last trip, there was a lot of sitting and watching the world go by. I saw a beaver and an otter, a couple marmots, lots of birds and turtles too and a few fish. The fish were trying to climb a long steep spillway into one of the lakes, just as if they were salmon returning from the sea, conquering waterfalls to return to the place of their birth. This little fish had no chance of conquering the spillway.

Dippers had a nest under a bridge. They went to and fro with nesting material and dipped for bugs.

And turtles. So many turtles. What do turtles do besides lay on logs in the afternoon sun?

The girls and I got away for three days last week and enjoyed a relaxing time bird watching, walking in the hills and playing in the water (for them, not me). It was pleasantly warm during the day and chilly at night with terrific dark skies and the milky way in all its glory (there will be a later post about that). We camped above a little lake, the one with the pine tree reflections and spent our afternoons watching Wood Ducks and Ring-necked Ducks and turtles lolling about in the sunshine.

WordPress continues to frustrate me. Now it is not showing captions on my images. The image above is the lake where we were camped. Our site is on the left on top of the hill, in the pines.

Yesterday we went birding. We made a big loop around Okanogan County, crossing the mountains between the Methow and the Okanogan, up on the plateau on the east side of the county, and then down to the big river (Columbia) and back up the Methow. During the day we saw over sixty species of birds, two coyotes, one beaver and three pronghorns! This was my first time seeing pronghorns in Washington. The Colville Tribes have re-introduced them on their lands and the animals have quickly spread with reports of them across the Columbia in Douglas County. I wonder if they swam or crossed a bridge. Do pronghorns swim?

As for birds, I was disappointed that we didn’t see more little birds and also cranes. I often see Sandhill Cranes in March. I’ll have to try again soon. The landscape was drier than usual. Normally roads are pretty muddy with more snow on the ground. The weather was perfect. I think it must have been sixty degrees down on the big river.

As for social distancing, we did not talk to other people or go into any businesses.

This little Northern Saw-whet Owl may have thought otherwise. Ken wanted to see if we could find them so I told him to watch for white wash under dense trees and if he did, he should look up. Sure enough, it worked and he found this tiny owl tucked up in some branches pretty well hidden. It was very hard to photograph.

Yesterday’s bird list for the whole day:

Canada Goose

Swan sp

Gadwall

American Wigeon

Mallard

Northern Pintail

Green-winged Teal

Canvasback

Redhead

Ring-necked Duck

Lesser Scaup

Bufflehead

Common Goldeneye

Hooded Merganser

Common Merganser

Ruddy Duck

California Quail

Ring-necked Pheasant

Wild Turkey

Pied-billed Grebe

Horned Grebe

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Mourning Dove

American Coot

Killdeer

Common Loon

Double-crested Cormorant

Great Blue Heron

Golden Eagle

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk/Northern Goshawk

Bald Eagle

Golden/Bald Eagle

Red-tailed Hawk

Northern Saw-whet Owl

Belted Kingfisher

Northern Flicker

American Kestrel

Say’s Phoebe

Black-billed Magpie

American Crow

Common Raven

Black-capped Chickadee

Horned Lark

Tree Swallow

Violet-green Swallow

Pygmy Nuthatch

European Starling

Western Bluebird

Mountain Bluebird

American Robin

House Sparrow

House Finch

American Goldfinch

Dark-eyed Junco

White-crowned Sparrow

Song Sparrow

Spotted Towhee

Western Meadowlark

Red-winged Blackbird

Brewer’s Blackbird

Yellow-rumped Warbler

The girls and I traveled to an agility event Friday, stopping on the way for a hike and then lunch with friends near Tonasket. It was a perfect spring day. Sunny and warm. At the start of the hike it was still frozen in the shadows but that changed while we were out. A creek tumbled down the canyon wall disappearing into the ground before it got to the canyon floor. Buttercups were blooming. Canyon Wrens were singing. A Golden Eagle stirred up all the Rock Pigeons. A fine outing.

We saw or heard these birds:¬†Chukar, Golden Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Rock Pigeon, Northern Flicker, Say’s Phoebe, Black-billed Magpie, Common Raven, Canyon Wren, American Robin, Song Sparrow, Western Meadowlark. There were also lots of marmots.

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