Saturday, April 03, 2010

Latah Co. Long-billed Curlew, etc. 4/3/2010

This afternoon I found a Long-billed Curlew out along Little Bear Ridge Rd. southeast of Troy (which is east of Moscow). It was in a seasonally wet field depression just before the farm at 1550 Little Bear Ridge which is about 6.5 miles from Troy and .5 mile north of the cemetery. It was foraging at the back of the wet area in a fairly tall grass and I watched it eat several large earthworms. At times it was hard to see in the grass especially while resting. 

This is a species that I had wondered about occurring in Latah Co. (probably nested formerly) but wasn't really on my radar until several were seen around this time last year (just north of Moscow and near Genesee). I presume these are migrants heading northeast to w. MT or Alberta from the west coast. It was kind of a fluke that I was out birding this afternoon, I had a small person (my daughter) who would not settle down for a nap at home so I was forced to take her for a drive and do some birding! 

I've attached an out of focus digiscoped image of the curlew.

At the bottom of Little Bear Ridge Rd. at the confluence of Little and Big Bear Rd. near Kendrick there was a nice collection of birds that had either retreated or were just backed up down at lower elevations w/ the unsettled weather up higher (low 40's and very windy up on the Palouse; Kendrick at ~1200 ft. lower was calm and about 49 F). I've seen this happen at this locale several times in the past couple of years. This group included ~50 Mountain Bluebirds, ~20 Western Bluebirds, a couple each Townsend's Solitaires and Say's Phoebes, and a Spotted Towhee. The bluebirds (especially Mountains) were very flighty. There was also a nice flock of Lesser Goldfinches here (20+) and a bunch of Violet-green Swallows (50+). 

Elsewhere I found a couple Ruddy Ducks at a pond near the curlew spot, and a number of Turkey Vultures both east and west of Troy. All told I picked up 4 year birds and the LB Curlew is a new county bird. A nice few hours out in the field on this chilly Easter weekend!


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--
Charles Swift
Moscow, ID
chaetura@gmail.com

2 comments:

Gunnar Engblom said...

Hi Charles,
Checking in after having seen your post on I and the Bird.
One record only of Long-billed Curlew in Peru. I have only seen it in Texas

Charles Swift said...

Thanks for the feedback Gunnar. They are locally common elsewhere in the west but hard to come by here. They may have nested on the Palouse formerly which almost all been converted to cropland in the last 100 years so not much prairie left. Wish I had time to keep the blog up to date - one of these days perhaps I will!! Charles.