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Tag Archives: Okanogan Highlands

These photos are from our recent camping trip. I love to watch and photograph birds from my kayak. Some birds, like Common Loons, will approach a boat if it is quiet and this family did just that. If I was close to the birds, I’d sit quietly in the boat and hope that they would come closer. They didn’t always. Early mornings and evenings were best. It was busier around the lake during the day and the birds tried to keep to themselves. The first day we saw the baby loons, they were not yet diving but by the time we left, they were diving and preening and acting like their parents. The youngsters have big feet, like a lab puppy and I imagine someone asking the parents, ‘do you think they will ever grow into those feet?’ Well, people still ask me that about Sky and she’s almost six years old, so no.

At another lake, I was able to look down at the loons and see them swimming underwater. They strictly used their feet for propulsion. I also observed this from my boat but they were too close for photos!

I know, this is a lot of photos but the birds are so beautiful.

We all went camping last week and had a nice time away from home in a beautiful and place and offline too. It rained some. There was one big thunderstorm that went on for an hour or more. We never got too hot. Or cold. Sky may have jumped in a lake or two. Or three.

On the weekend of June 1, I visited my friend Betty for a long weekend of birding. North Central Washington Audubon Society hosted a big day on June 1, in hopes of counting all or many of the birds in our four-county (Chelan, Douglas, Ferry and Okanogan) area. It’s a HUGE geographic area. And much of it is remote and lightly populated with people.

Betty lives in Ferry County, the area with the fewest people and lots of really nice bird habitats. I birded my way over there on Thursday; Friday we scouted our area and visited a friend in the next area; Saturday we marathon birded from early in the morning til well into the evening and Sunday I worked my way home slowly til it got too hot to be any fun. We had some rain and once it came down in such a downpour we were concerned for our safety and decided to make a hasty departure. There was hail and lots of sunshine too. Somehow I managed to only photograph birds and not Betty or the dogs or the horses or chickens. Looking forward to next time!

We spent last week at Lost Lake in the Okanogan Highlands in eastern Okanogan County. If you’ve followed this blog for long, you know we go there just about every year. What is it about this place that we find so inviting? Let’s see: old growth western larch forest, Common Loons, wildflowers, historic CCC structures, peace and quiet, wildflowers, perfect small lake for paddling and relaxing, brook trout in that lake, good birding and much, much more.

Weather was kind of chilly and we enjoyed our campfires each night. Fishing was off from other years but Ken was able to bring in enough for two meals. A friend joined us for a couple of days. We did some serious birding and she got to paddle Ken’s fishing kayak. The dogs were happy and busy and they slept like rocks each night. I think we all slept well with the frogs in the background. We woke to singing Swainson’s Thrushes and Ruby-crowned Kinglets each morning.

We got away with our camper for a week or so at the end of May. Last summer there was no time for camping between work and wildfires so we just decided to block out some time early and do it. With a little luck, maybe we can go again later in the summer.

The Lost Lake Campground was created by the CCC. Signs indicated the work was done in 1940 and ’41. There is a cabin and shops and also some buildings at the adjacent Kiwanis camp all built by the CCC workers. The cabin is badly in need of repair. I do hope the US Forest Service can find the resources to preserve this historic building.

Western larch is the predominant tree around the campground. These are tall stately conifers with needles that turn golden yellow in the fall before dropping. In the spring they grow vibrant green foliage. Apparently the area was logged in 1963, taking many of the big old trees. There are at least two remaining and a nature walk will guide you to them. The area was thinned/logged again around fifteen years ago, I think. This thinning has produced a healthy and attractive stand that is also more fire resistant than it was prior to that.

We were joined by Ken’s brother and the two of them enjoyed fishing for brook trout from the short kayaks. We had two good meals of fresh fish cooked over the fire. I enjoyed birding from my kayak. Ken and Carl saw a moose swim across the lake while they were fishing. Of course, I missed it! We all enjoyed listening to the loons calling to each other.

It was nice to get away from home and the ever-present electronic world.

Here is our bird list from Lost Lake.

Canada Goose

Wood Duck

Mallard

Green-winged Teal

Ring-necked Duck

Common Loon

Turkey Vulture

Bald Eagle

Red-tailed Hawk

Virginia Rail

Sora

American Coot

Spotted Sandpiper

Great Horned Owl

Barred Owl

Common Poorwill

hummingbird sp.

Williamson’s Sapsucker

Downy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker

Northern Flicker

Pileated Woodpecker

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Hammond’s Flycatcher

Empidonax sp.

Gray Jay

Steller’s Jay

Common Raven

Tree Swallow

Violet-green Swallow

Black-capped Chickadee

Mountain Chickadee

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Marsh Wren

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Western Bluebird

Townsend’s Solitaire

Swainson’s Thrush

American Robin

Orange-crowned Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Chipping Sparrow

Dark-eyed Junco

Song Sparrow

Red-winged Blackbird

Red Crossbill

Pine Siskin

Evening Grosbeak

 

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