Great Gray Owls near LaGrange and More

On Day 2 of our ABC trip we headed first to Spring Creek out of LaGrange to look for Great-gray Owl nest boxes managed by Walawa-Whitman National Forest. Our first stop was to look for two nest boxes off FR-21 where the anticipated polka-dotted tape marking a tree from which to look for the boxes did not materialize.  Still we were in the general area, and managed to get two brief in-flight looks at GGOWs, one a fairly good look as Pat Dameron spotted the bird flying and it flew across the trail we were walking on.  The second was seen just by Ken and me as we bushwhacked through thicker forest looking and got a very brief fly-by look. We found Mountain bluebird, and a few other birds of interest at the first place, but mostly walked around and birded.  Here is the checklist.

Next stop was for a more frequently visited box just off FR-21 onto FR-2251- then onto FR-050 where we stopped by the described tall stump and quickly found the next box with three young owls.  We enjoyed nice looks at the downy young, and a brief look at the suspected male adult bringing a rodent for them to eat.  While there we spotted and got good looks at a male Williamson’s sapsucker.   Checklist  Photos of each were taken.

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From here we headed back to LaGrange and the Ladd Marsh.  This area was wonderful, a real hawk alley with large fields of some sort of ground squirrels making great hawk food apparently, as we had many Swainson’s, Red-tailed and Harriers.

Yellow-headed blackbirds, lots of species of waterfowl, Am. White Pelicans, and more rounded out the day, and we got back to Pendleton early for a really nice dinner at The Prodigal Son Pub and Brewery.  I had a good portabella burger and fries and a Righteous Indignation Red amber microbrew.

Tomorrow back to WA where we will have to decide on which good birds to target. A White-rumped sandpiper was reported at the Tyson Blood Ponds near Walla Walla today!

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