Friday, November 27, 2009

Birding Idaho: Cascade Reservoir

Few things are more beautiful than Heaven sent snow...the large puffy flakes against the forest green...the peace and tranquility of a pine forest quieted with a quilt of whiteness.

That's how I enjoyed Black Friday. How about you?

Lynn Davenport and I, along with my four little hoodlums made a trek to bird the Cascade Reservoir area today with the hopes of seeing Loons and Scoters. We saw just one Common Loon, but hordes of other ducks including American Wigeons, Northern Shovelers, Mallards, Ring-necked Ducks, Bufflehead, Common Mergansers, Horned and Earned Grebes, and Lesser Scaup. Throw in a few Gadwall and a lone Green-winged Teal and we had a very ducky day.

Surprisingly there was a late American White Pelican on the west side of the lake. There were a couple of Northern Pintail, Redheads, bothspecies of Goldeneye, Tundra Swan, Bald Eagles, and lots of Red-tailed andRough-legged Hawks. Mountain and Black-capped Chickadees checked in on us along with Red-breasted Nuthatches.

Around the Tamarack Area we saw two separate adult Northern Shrikes. Only my second time ever seeing them! I got to see Clark's Nutcrackers up close, only my third time ever seeing them and this opportunity affording me the best views.The main highlight for me was my life bird #315 a Gray Jay, actually a couple of them flitted over us while we watched an American Dipper diving off the ice into the creek along Gold Fork Rd. Awesome!

We concluded the birding day by relaxing in the Gold Fork Hot Springs where we happened to bump into a few friends. The Gray and Stellar's Jays could be seen flying over the pool caching away whatever it was they were finding. All this while the snow fell gently on us in the wonderful woods of the Cascade area. Then home to watch BSU win the WAC Title.

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