The Bucket List Bird, by Angie DeLozier, Wake Audubon Secretary.
My husband and I just came back from a 3-week trip through the northwest, which was a lifetime goal for him. As birdwatchers, we were filled with hopes of seeing some of the many pacific birds missing in our life list. I will not describe most of the regular birds we saw since we learned quickly that riding the Amtrak from Chicago, IL to Portland, OR and from Sacramento, CA to Chicago, was not an ideal way to bird watch. We did get to see some Pronghorn Antelopes, Red Tailed Hawks, Common Crows and many ULB’s (Unidentified Little Bird). All this looking out the windows of our sleeper car at 80/90 miles an hour.
The birding fun began at our stay in Glacier National Park with the presence of 3 Black Billed Magpies that were common daily, in front of the lodge. White Crowned Sparrows were seed picking the lengthy flowerbed from the lodge to the train station. Cedar Waxwings were plentiful in the area and seeing several Cassin’s Finch was a first for us. Then the Grey Jays and Colombian Squirrels appeared on our drive through the Road To The Sun. Now that is the 2nd most spectacular scenic road we’ve ever driven. Waterfalls galore in sizes, shapes and force. The few remaining Glaciers, the peaks and depths are breathtaking plus add the wildflowers! At Lake McDonald we took the boat tour and saw a pair of Bufflehead Ducks and some Tree Swallows. Sitting to rest on the porch of its lodge we saw our first Red-naped Sapsucker and his tree hole. While visiting the Logan’s Pass Visitor Center we also saw two Mountain Goats and a doe which standing about 10 feet from my husband decided to urinate (See picture).
We saw the Black Terns for the first time too.
At Crater Lake we admired Red Mantled Squirrels, Clarks Nutcrackers, Mountain Bluebirds, Mountain Chickadees, Oregon Juncos, Pine Siskins, Pine Warblers, Brown Creeper, Red Breasted Nuthatches, Townsend’s Solitaire and our first Bushtit happened at the Pinnacles trail. Seeing Western Tanagers at the Wildflower Garden was a delight again. Stellar Jays were common.
While driving the CA coast highway, we got our Western Gulls. Saw bulls/females seals sunning. A magnificent “Unknown” Red Sea Star on a pier support (See picture). Wild turkeys, Tricolored Blackbirds, Osprey, Glossy Ibis, hundreds of Cowbirds (with cow herd), Killdeers, and Marbled Godwits. We will not forget the sight in Clear Lake of hundreds of Western Grebes with their chicks (see picture). And last but not least, we spotted two Chestnut Backed Chickadees, which my husband had wanted to add to his list before we left Raleigh, NC. And to top that, our first California Towhee, with a large whitish moth/butterfly in his beak, paraded in front of our car and from side to side in the bushes for about 10 mins.