Sunday, June 07, 2009

eastern Whitman Co., Little Butte area, 6/7/09

Acting on a tip from Dick Johnson I explored an area a few miles south of Moscow and just a bit into Whitman Co. In an uncultivated shrubby draw and hillside I found a nice variety of typical upland Palouse songbirds (complete list below) with a Veery singing away in their midst. It was also nice to find several Gray Catbirds here. The draw had quite nice shrub growth with running water and was mostly on a north or northeast aspect slope which I'm sure helps keep it lush. The Veery was singing a bit up the hill from the draw in an area that had some scattered pines. (This is my second recent Whitman Co. Veery w/ another on 5/29 on a float trip along the Palouse R. west of Palouse, WA - report to come.)

I didn't get very far up hill (hard to do w/ a 3 year old in tow!) but it looks very interesting higher up and from the satellite images on google maps. I thought I was near the base of Bald Butte but it actually appears to be an eastward extension of the Bald Butte ridge line. I ran into the tenant farmer on the way out and he called it "Little Butte" or something like that. The area is currently unposted and at the end of a public road (Woods Rd.) but the farmer told me it is soon to be posted and gated due to off-roading but will be accessible w/ permission (he didn't have any problem w/ people hiking around and birding). Contact me for information on how to get permission if you're interested.

It looks like Bald Butte may be accessible over land from here but may be better accessed from the west (although there may may be access issues from the west according to Dick Johnson). This whole area looks very interesting and Bald Butte in particular is mentioned frequently in Weber and Larrison ("Birds of Southeastern WA") for among other things Clay-colored and Brewer's Sparrows. (Burleigh also mentioned Paradise Ridge for Clay-colored Sparrows and both of these publications are now ~30 years old.)

Hopefully more exploration to come. It's always nice to discover (or in this case rediscover) a nearby location w/ birding potential and natural features.

thanks, Charles.

Location: Little Butte
Observation date: 6/7/09
Notes: A nice discovery of a shrubby draw (w/ audible flowing water) at the end of Woods Rd. south of Moscow (although actually in Whitman Co.). It is visible from Paradise Ridge to the east and may provide access overland to Bald Butte.
Number of species: 22

Red-tailed Hawk 1
Mourning Dove 2
Great Horned Owl 1
Northern Flicker 1
Western Wood-Pewee 1
Horned Lark 1
Black-capped Chickadee 2
House Wren 10
Veery 1
American Robin 6
Gray Catbird 2
European Starling 1
Yellow Warbler 6
Spotted Towhee 2
Chipping Sparrow 2
Savannah Sparrow 3
Song Sparrow 4
Black-headed Grosbeak 5
Lazuli Bunting 2
Western Meadowlark 3
Brown-headed Cowbird 10
American Goldfinch 5

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

Charles Swift
Moscow, ID

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