Washington and Idaho (June 1998)

I attended a conference in Seattle and spent some time birding on Puget Sound, on the Olympic Peninsula, near Spokane, and in the Idaho Panhandle. I saw 128 species and 8 lifers. Prior to the trip, I received some suggestions from Steve Mansfield, Jeff Nystuen, and Eric Stahlfeld. Jim Acton was kind enough to show me Black-backed Woodpeckers.

On June 21, I drove around the Olympic Peninsula with Bill Siegmann and made stops at Quinalt Rain Forest, La Push, and Diamond Point. Lifers for the day were NORTHWESTERN CROW, PIGEON GUILLEMOT, and COMMON MURRE. Other nice birds were BLUE GROUSE and HARLEQUIN DUCK.

On June 22, I drove out to Spokane to see BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKERS at Riverside State Park. I was not disappointed. Jim Acton showed me two nests, one with young and one that apparently had eggs. I had great looks at two males and a female and got to hear them call and see them preen. Jim also showed me several other nice birds (including several that were drawn in by his perfect imitation of a Northern Pygmy-Owl). That afternoon, I followed Jim’s directions to a location in the Colville National Forest, where I tried unsuccessfully to find Three-toed Woodpeckers but saw a RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER’S nest and got to hear OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER.

Late in the afternoon on June 23, Dalcio Dacol and I did some birding in the Seattle area. After seeing VAUX’S SWIFT at Marymoor Park, we drove to the Mukilteo ferry and were treated to a great look at a MARBLED MURRELET that was hanging out next to the boat.

On June 24, Dalcio and I took the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor and back. We were disappointed to miss the 8:00 am boat by just a few minutes but then realized this was fortunate because we saw three BLACK SWIFTS over the upper parking lot. Although this was my only lifer of the day, we got great looks at RHINOCEROS AUKLETS and also saw COMMON MURRE, MARBLED MURRELET, and PIGEON GUILLEMOT. We rented bikes on San Juan Island and rode over to American Camp but were pressed for time and didn’t see much. On the ferry back to Anacortes, we saw several dark alcids that appeared to have white on the face. At first, we thought they might be puffins but then got a close look at one and realized they were Rhinoceros Auklets carrying fish.

Late in the afternoon of June 25, we took the ferry from Widbey Island to Port Townsend in hopes of seeing a Tufted Puffin. Although there was a lot of alcid activity, we did not find our target. We drove on to Diamond Point and pointed the scope out to Protection Island. We didn’t have much hope of seeing a puffin as we scoped a few other alcids. Dalcio was scoping a COMMON MURRE when a TUFTED PUFFIN miraculously drifted into the field of view! This was one of my luckiest birding moments. What a spectacular bird!

We began June 26 in the Idaho Panhandle with stops along Smith Creek and the road to Roman Nose Lakes. The birding was very slow apparently due to wind and cool weather (but it seems that logging activity is also a factor). I got a glimpse of an interesting looking woodpecker and we saw signs of fresh activity on some of the dead trees, but we failed to locate the desired Three-toed Woodpecker. However, it was nice to hear TOWNSEND’S WARBLER and VARIED THRUSH singing. In the afternoon, we stopped at Riverside State Park, where I showed Dalcio one of the BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKERS. We had some nice birds along I-90 on the way back to Seattle, including FERRUGINOUS HAWK and YELLOW-HEADED BLACK-BIRD.

Common Loon, Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Brandt’s Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Turkey Vulture, Canada Goose, Mallard, Gadwall, Harlequin Duck, Surf Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Ring-necked Pheasant, Blue Grouse, California Quail, American Coot, Killdeer, Heerman’s Gull, Ring-billed Gull, California Gull, Western Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Caspian Tern, *Common Murre, *Pigeon Guillemot, *Marbled Murrelet, Rhinoceros Auklet, *Tufted Puffin, Rock Dove, Band-tailed Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Great Horned Owl, Common Nighthawk, *Black Swift, *Vaux’s Swift, White-throated Swift, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, Red-naped Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, *Black-backed Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Gray Flycatcher, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Eastern Kingbird, Cassin’s Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Gray Jay, Steller’s Jay, Black-billed Magpie, American Crow, *Northwestern Crow, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Tree Swallow, Violet-green Swallow, Bank Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Mountain Chickadee, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Bushtit, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, House Wren, Winter Wren, Marsh Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Western Bluebird, Townsend’s Solitaire, Veery, Swainson’s Thrush, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, Varied Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, European Starling, Orange-crowned Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Wilson’s Warbler, Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Spotted Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Brewer’s Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Brewer’s Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Finch, Red Crossbill, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow.