Friday, October 15, 2010

Greater White-Fronted Geese - Mann Lake, Idaho

Greater White-Fronted Geese -
Mann Lake, Idaho - The Big Sit
Sunday October 10th

I had great expectations on my visit to Mann Lake, which is near to Lewiston, Idaho, as a potential for several more lifer birds such as the eared, western, horned and clark's grebes, common merganser and more.
Had followed Terry Gray from Palouse Audubon on his regular trip reports here and had contacted Terry and Charles Swift about birding Sunday the 10th at Mann Lake. Terry is leading weekly trips each Saturday during October. But my daughter's wedding was on Saturday.  So I contacted Charles Swift who was heading a "Big Sit' event there on Sunday. Perfect.

The wedding went well in Moscow on Saturday. The only birding I did was to observe a very busy flock of Cedar Waxwings working the bushes as the photographer was arranging her shots on the campus at the University of Idaho.

Cedar Waxwing on the campus of U of I, Moscow, Idaho
Rose early Sunday morning to make the two hour plus drive from our hotel in Spokane to the Lewiston, Idaho community on the Snake River. The terrain in eastern Washington is a rolling hill topography called palouse and is dominated by wheat farming. Few cattle are seen grazing, but around the small communities several llama farms are operating instead of cattle.  On the return trip I did catch sight of a coyote traveling across a hill.
California Quail seen in a Lewiston neighborhood
Observed several Red-tailed Hawks and a single Northern Harrier along the route. More Black-billed Magpies were seen, plus  large flocks of European Starling and lots of Red-winged Blackbirds. A lone American Robin was seen in a an urban area and some Rock Pigeons were seen around  grain silos. When passing through Lewiston, I came upon a flock of California Quail, which were  LIFERS for me, but are a very common bird here, even in urban areas.
A view of Mann Lake - The scrub here was full of sparrows

Mann Lake is an impoundment lake used for agricultural  irrigation. It is situated southeast of Lewiston and is a good place for seeking migrating waterfowl and other birds. First stopped at a site at the eastern end were the brush was very birdy with sparrows. I'm not good with sparrow id, but I did manage to find White-crowned and Chipping Sparrows. Canada Geese were flying in overhead and one flock I suspected maybe Greater White-fronted Geese. From this point I could make out a couple more LIFERs in several Common Mergansers and Western Grebes. Other waterfowl witnessed at this point were American Coots, Mallards and Buffleheads. Checked out the muddy shore for any sandpipers or plovers. Was interested in the possible sighting of an american golden plover or baird's sandpiper.  They are seen here, but not today.  Shorebirds were limited to Long-billed Dowitchers and Killdeers. Came on a flock of American Robins resting in a bare tree, but as I was attempting to get a photo they flew off in a hurry and was replaced in the tree with a Sharp-shinned Hawk.

California Gull
  I moved from this spot to find Charles who had set-up near the model airplane field. When I arrived at the parking lot I did find that that flock of geese were indeed Greater White-fronted Geese as they were grazing in an adjacent field.  LIFER!! You won't find these in Florida.

THE BIG SIT - Charles Swift and Joseph Brown
Caught up with Charles and Joseph Brown as they were conducting the "Big Sit' census. Just missing a bewick's wren. Did hear it a couple of times, but did not a viewing.  So I did not count it as a lifer. Same with some lesser goldfinches that Charles identified by call but did not see today. But we did find a Bonaparte's Gull, several Ring-billed Gulls and a LIFER in a California Gull. Other waterfowl seen included Lesser Scaups, Ring-necked Ducks, American Wigeon and Double Crested Cormorants. Had a Common Raven fly over head. Had wanted American Pipits, which had been active in the area earlier and were kind enough for a flock of about a dozen to fly in next to us. They too were LIFERS for me. They can be found in Florida in the winter, but not usually as far south as Ft Myers.
Long-billed Dowitchers
As we were heading back to the cars a flock of five Ring-necked Pheasants flushed for cover.  I had not seen any pheasant since leaving my home in Illinois in the early 1980's
Missed today were eared and horned grebes.  Some were sighted the day before but not today.  No clark's grebes among the many western grebes today either.

Ring-billed Gull

Common Merganser

Long-billed Dowitchers, Common Merganser and Ring-billed Gull
About 10:30 the 'Big Sit' survey was over and I joined Charles and Joseph in birding another sight in town known as Idaho Fish & Game Habitat area in Lewiston Orchards. It was very birdy and I was able to add another California Quail, a Black-capped Chickadee, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrows and a Chipping Sparrow. Got to see my first Dark-eyed Juncos since leaving Illinois as well. These here were the Oregon subspecies though.  Beautiful bird. A very large flock American Pipits appeared across the road from the parking lot as we were leaving for the day. Missed was a possible spotted towhee, thought only offer a very brief glimpse. If it had called or showed itself I could of had another lifer.  Just leaves a reason to return someday.

Again a special thanks to Terry Gray, Charles Swift and Joseph Brown for all of there help and sharing of knowledge.
Charles Swift's report on the Mann Lake Big Sit 10/10/2010 on "Inland NW Birders" message board
Terry Gray's report on the Mann Lake visit 10/9/2020 on "Inland NW Birders" message board

My Mann Lake List - (37) 
Greater White-fronted Goose, Canada Goose, American Wigeon, Mallard, Canvasback, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Merganser, Ruddy Duck, Ring-necked Pheasant, Western Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Coot, Killdeer, Long-billed Dowitcher, Bonaparte's Gull, Ring-billed Gull, California Gull, Mourning Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, Say's Phoebe, Black-billed Magpie, Common Raven, American Robin, European Starling, American Pipit, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, American Goldfinch

My List at Idaho Fish and Game Habitat Area, Lewiston, Idaho -(12)

California Quail, Northern Flicker, Black-capped Chickadee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Robin, American Pipit, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Chipping Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, American Goldfinch

1 comment:

  1. Ah congrats on the lifer! I guess I take those geese for granted!