ABC Great Gray Owl Trip Day #1

14 ABCers led by Ken Brown left the I-5/Hwy 512 Park and Ride at 7 AM today headed south for a few SW WA specialties enroute to La Grande, OR where we are hoping for Great Gray Owl at a nest box site tomorrow morning.  We drove straight to Balsh Rd, Lyle, WA where a bout 11 AM we first birded the cemetery area.  There we got nice looks at Ash-throated flycatcher, Western Wood-pewee, Lesser Goldfinch, Western Bluebird, White-breasted nuthatch, Purple Finch (male and female), Chipping Sparrow, and a huge female Cooper’s hawk flew right overhead as we got out of the cars.  Cemetery Checklist

Next we continued on Balsh Rd past Balsh Pond, where we saw the locally endangerd Western Pond Turtle, before getting to the area of the Acorn Woodpecker Granary tree (we did not find either the granary tree or see any ACWO)  We did get good looks at a Western Tanager male singing overhead.  Checklist

From here we continued on Hwy 14 to Rock Creek where we found ourselves in Lazuli Bunting and Yellow-breasted Chat heaven.  We had an excellent look at a chat, and had buntings singing everywhere it seemed. We also saw my WA FOY Willow Flycatcher and a nice variety of birds.  Rock Creek Checklist.

From there we  drove to Hwy 82, crossed the Columbia River and then came east on Hwy 84 in Oregon to Pendleton.  There we had dinner at Joe’s Fiesta, a nice Mexican Food place in the middle of a street fair on Main St.  From there we were off to LaGrange where we are staying at Super 8.  A nice day.

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