Field Trips

Shrub-steppe to meadows to peaks

The 2022 WOS annual conference will provide an unprecedented variety of habitats and bird diversity. The Channeled Scablands Shrub-Steppe and rolling Palouse Prairie will highlight arid land species scattered with numerous wetlands vital to the Pacific Flyway. Mountain meadows characteristics of the western Rocky Mountain region will offer views of wetland and upland grasslands, cottonwood and aspen riparian zones, and hay meadows. Surrounding it all are the forests and peaks of the intermountain west filled with noteworthy coniferous diversity and delightful views.

What to bring

Remember to bring your National Parks/Forest Pass, Discover Pass, and FRS radios to use during field trips. For your safety, become familiar with possible dangers in the area and arrive prepared. Intense sun, poison oak, rattlesnakes, ticks, mosquitoes, and steep/uneven terrain area are natural hazards in some areas. Select trips that are appropriate for your fitness level, both for your safety and in consideration of your trip co-participants. Bring all your own food and plenty of water.

eBirding

Whether or not to eBird a trip is left to the preferences of leaders and participants. Leaders are not expected to eBird for their groups, as they have many other things to be concerned about, but some may choose to do so.

Playback

WOS has received comments regarding playback. Therefore, leaders were asked to indicate: “no playback allowed,” “limited playback allowed” or “playback allowed.” The latter is the least restrictive option.

Group size

Road conditions, parking space and trail conditions were considered when determining the group size for each field trip. Unless otherwise specified, field trips are limited to 12 participants (including leader). Carpooling is required on trips with frequent road stops due to safety considerations.

Departures

Full-day trips will depart at 5:30 a.m. and return by 4 p.m., except for trips with longer driving times, where departure is at 5:00 a.m. Check the trip description below or the conference schedule for the exact departure time for each trip. Half-day trips will depart at 6 a.m. and return by noon. Check the trip description below or conference schedule for the exact departure time for each trip.

All times listed for trips are departure times, so please arrive at least 10-15 minutes early to check in with your trip leader and for the carpooling arrangements. Trip leaders will have signs with the trip name in the designated meeting area.

Reimburse your driver

It is the responsibility of the participants to reimburse their driver. Remind the driver to set the odometer before departure. WOS recommends that drivers be reimbursed by a rate of $0.25 per mile divided by the number of passengers in the car (not including the driver). For example, if a trip is 100 miles in length and three passengers are in the car, each person would contribute $8.33 for mileage reimbursement to the driver.

COVID-19 guidelines

To protect the health and safety of our members and the broader community, WOS is requiring all conference attendees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. By registering, you agree that you will be fully vaccinated (2 weeks from the last vaccine dose) by June 9, 2022. You will be asked to show proof of your COVID-19 vaccination when you arrive at the conference. Information on how to get or show proof of your vaccinations is available on this Washington State Department of Health webpage.

Note: The following guidelines for COVID-safe field trips will be in place for the conference:

  • Stay up to date with your Covid-19 vaccine. Show proof of your vaccination when you arrive at the conference.
  • Stay home if you are sick or have any symptoms.
  • Carpooling is encouraged at your own risk and discretion. You may drive with others if all are vaccinated, face masks are worn, and it’s mutually agreed by the riders.
  • Driving on your own is not possible on every field trip due to road conditions and parking considerations. Read each field trip description carefully or contact the leader to determine if driving on your own is an option.

Table of Contents

On the Way Trips

On-the-way trips (Thursday, June 9, 2022) are designed to optimize your birding experience by taking advantage of routes that can be birded while taking you in the general direction of your destination (to Spokane Valley on Thursday). We would like to encourage participants to carpool both coming to and leaving from the conference! Communicate with the trip leader regarding exact meeting time and location.

Departing from the Puget Sound Region via U.S. 2 to Spokane Valley (TH01)

Distance: ~ 320 miles

START TIME: meet at 6:30 a.m. at the Ash Way Park and Ride (164th St SW exit off I-5, just north of Lynnwood, WA) and follow Route 2 for most of the way east.

Description: A trip across the northern third of Washington encompasses a remarkable range of habitats from the Puget Sound lowlands, west and east slopes of the Cascades, apple country, the Columbia River valley, the high plateau and pines of Badger Mt., the wheat country of the Waterville Plateau, the coulees of the Great Floods, and back to wheat country, transitioning into the piney plains west of Spokane. Each of these habitat types has a few characteristic birds that can be tough to find elsewhere.

What to expect: This is a long drive made quite bearable be the wide diversity of scenery and habitats we’ll pass through. We’ll stretch our legs and our eyes at a few fine birding locations along the way. Probable stops include Stevens Pass for Canada Jay and other mountain birds; Tumwater Canyon for American Dipper and possible East Slope birds; Badger Mt. for Mt. Chickadee and pine woods birds; Moses Coulee for Canyon Wren, Chukar, sage birds; and Coulee City area for eastern waterbirds. From there, time will probably force us to skip remaining hotspots that will be covered by day trips coming west from the conference. Bring food, water, bug/tick repellent, 2-way radios (if available). We plan to arrive at the conference venue around 4:30 p.m. Limit 10 in 3 cars (carpooling encouraged).

Trip No.DayLeaderPlaybackeBird
TH01ThursdayJon HoughtonLimitedYes

Departing from the Puget Sound Region via I-90 to Spokane Valley (TH02)

Distance: ~270 miles

START TIME: 6:30 a.m. from the Issaquah Tibbetts Valley P&R (across from the large Transit Center Parking Garage) off I-90.

Description: We will cover a wide variety of habitats as we progress from the Puget Sound Lowlands, across the Cascades, the Columbia River area, the agricultural areas of the Columbia Basin, Sprague, and vicinity and onto the Spokane/Spokane Valley area. Each area will have its usual birds plus specialties.

What to Expect: We’ll work our way east on I-90 on a long trip (almost 300 miles) with stops at such good birding sites as Snoqualmie Pass (maybe Canada Jay), Roslyn/Cle Elum (probable warblers, American Dipper), Vantage (sage birds/Rock/Canyon Wren), Frenchman Coulee (White-throated Swift), North Potholes Reserve (Western/Clark’s Grebe, Black-crowned Night Heron), Sprague and vicinity (waterfowl, sage birds). Depending on whether we hit really hot spots this will take us all day, finishing in the Spokane Valley at the Conference headquarters, the CenterPlace Regional Event Center, likely about 4:30 PM. Limit 8 people in three cars.

Trip No.DayLeaderPlaybackeBird
TH02ThursdayBrian BellLimitedIf participant is willing

Departing from the Central Puget Sound Region Via SR 410/U.S. 12-24-26-195 (TH03)

Distance: 300 miles

START TIME: 5 a.m. from the Safeway parking lot in Enumclaw

Description: This route follows another amazing journey through a wide range of elevations and habitats from the Puget Sound lowlands, beautiful Chinook Pass, and on through sage and agricultural areas to the Palouse. We will meet at the at 5:00 a.m. for this ambitious journey to sunny Spokane.  Carpool up, prior to departure, as there is not a convenient and safe place to park your valuable car in Pierce and south King County. 

What to expect: Our route will start heading east on 410 with stops at Tipsoo Lake and Nile Road.  In Yakima we will take 12 to the Helen Jewett Pathway if time allows, then head east on 24 towards Hanford Reach National Monument and a stop at either Saddle Mountain or White Bluff.  When we arrive in Othello, we will visit Para Ponds if time allows, then head east on 26.  A stop in Washtucna on our way to Colfax, then north on 195 towards Spokane.  If time allows a final stop at Steptoe Butte SP.  Target Species: Varied Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Fox Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Nashville Warbler, MacGillivray’s Warbler, American Redstart, Canyon Wren, Sage Thrasher, Sagebrush Sparrow, Brewer’s Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Wilson’s Phalarope, Tricolored Blackbird, Lark Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Swainson’s Hawk, and Yellow-breasted Chat. Bring food, water, bug/tick repellent, 2-way radios (if available). We plan to arrive at the conference venue around 4:30.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlaybackeBird
TH03ThursdayShep Thorp &
his mom Barbara
Thorp
YesYes

Departing from Vancouver/SW Washington Through the Columbia River Gorge (TH04)

Distance: About 340 miles

START TIME: 6:30 a.m. Meet at the Steigerwald Lake NWR trailhead parking lot. It is along SR-14 east of Washougal, just before entering the Gorge Scenic Area. Approximately 45.5712, -122.3183 (Paste these coordinates into Google Maps.)

Description: This trip crosses the Cascades at its low point through the Columbia River Gorge and will traverse east slope forest into the rain shadow before crossing the Columbia River, with irrigated agriculture on both the Yakima and Columbia Basin sides. Between specialties of the Oregon oak belt and desert oases that water provides, several short stops will provide a mix of breeding species on the way to Sprague Lake and eventually the Spokane Valley. The starting point will be the new Steigerwald Lake NWR parking area a few miles east of Washougal along SR-14.

What to expect: A long drive! Including a few diversions we might be looking at 350 miles. Stops along SR-14 might include Bonneville Dam, old Highway 8 and the Lyle-Balch cemetery (Acorn Woodpecker, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Western Bluebird), Maryhill State Park (riparian canopy), up US-97 to Toppenish NWR (Gray Catbird, Eastern Kingbird), and from there (depending on progress) a route that will go through Othello (BN Stilt, Am Avocet, Wilson’s Phalarope) and Ritzville to Sprague Lake. I don’t think we can catch up to the I-90 on-the-way-to group, but we can expect to hit traffic in Spokane getting to Conference headquarters in the valley at the Center Place Regional Event Center as late as 5:30 PM.

Trip No.DayLeaderPlaybackeBird
TH04ThursdayRandy HillLimitedYes

Departing from N. Seattle to Spokane Valley via Kittitas and Washtucna (TH05)

Distance: ~335 miles

START TIME: 5 a.m. Carpool meet-up at the Green Lake/Ravenna P&R (NE 65th St., under the bridge, north side).

Description: We will travel through the center of the state, stopping at several quality birding sites in the morning, mostly in Kittitas County which in June will be full of activity. Habitats will include coniferous woods around Cle Elum, open meadows of the Swauk Prairie and along Bettas Rd, then sage-covered hills via the Vantage Highway. After noon, we will head across the agricultural areas of the state with stops in Othello, Washtucna, and the Sprague Lake area. We will arrive at the conference center in late afternoon for registration and to meet with old, and new, friends.

Target species include Varied Thrush, Hermit Thrush and Veery. Nashville, MacGillivray’s and Yellow Warbler. Sage Thrasher, Sagebrush, Brewer’s, Vesper and Lark Sparrow. Wilson’s Snipe and Long-billed Curlew. Tricolored and Yellow-headed Blackbird. Washtucna delights! And raptors galore. We’ll monitor progress of others, before and during the day, for any rarities that warrant detouring from our route.

What to expect: This is a long day of driving that we intend to break into manageable chunks by stopping frequently. Carpool meet-up at the Green Lake/Ravenna P&R (NE 65th St, under the bridge, N side) at 5:00 am. Bring food and water, 2-way radios, enthusiasm and energy. Limit 9 in 3 cars (carpooling encouraged).

Trip No.DayLeaderPlaybackeBird
TH05ThursdayScott RamosLimitedYes

Full-day Trips

These trips will be leaving from the assigned carpooling area (CenterPlace Event Center parking area). Please note the departure time is 5:30 a.m. unless otherwise noted in the trip description. Trips with long morning drives depart at 5:00 a.m.

Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge

Distance: 200 miles.

START TIME: 5:00 a.m.

Description: Unique among the national wildlife refuge system, the Little Pend Oreille NWR offers a great variety of montane habitats, including mixed conifer and dry pine forests and streams, wetlands, and ponds with an accompanying diversity of birds and other wildlife. Target birds include Sora, Virginia Rail, Red-naped Sapsucker, White-headed Woodpecker, Black-backed Woodpecker, Vaux’s Swift, Clark’s Nutcracker, American Redstart, and Lincoln’s Sparrow.

What to expect: A long full-day trip returning to Spokane Valley by 4:30 PM. Will start with a non-stop drive north from Spokane straight to the refuge. Refuge roads are gravel, but well-maintained. Marshy areas will contain mosquitoes and other areas may have ticks so bring insect repellent. Short hikes into prime birding locations will be required as well. Please bring food and lots of drink. Limit 12 in four vehicles.

Note: It’s great birding. It involves the greatest driving distance to and from the site. Refuge roads see little travel and roadside parking should not be a problem.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlaybackeBird
FR01FridayDave KreftLimitedYes
SA01SaturdayDave KreftLimitedYes
SU01SundayDave KreftLimitedYes

Lincoln County Public Lands

Distance: 200 miles.

START TIME 5:00 a.m.

Description: The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the US Bureau of Land Management have large holdings of pristine and rehabilitated shrub-steppe in central and southern Lincoln County, much of it ravaged by the Whitney Road fire of Labor Day 2020. This trip will visit the WDFW Swanson Lakes Wildlife Area and the Telford and Lakeview Management Units of the BLM, including Twin and Coffeepot Lakes. Target birds include Lewis’s Woodpecker, Loggerhead Shrike, Mountain Bluebird, Sage Thrasher, Brewer’s Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, and Grasshopper Sparrow.

What to expect: A long full day trip with a 4:30 PM return to Spokane Valley and travel on dusty gravel roads. Come prepared for hot, dry conditions and bring plenty of water. Ticks are also possible, so insect repellant is a good idea. Spotting scopes will be helpful in picking out distant birds in this open habitat. A Discover Pass is required. Limit 12 in four vehicles.

Note: In the burn, much shrub is destroyed but the grass and forb recovery in association with the wildlife is interesting.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlaybackeBird
FR02FridayKen Brown &
Ed Pullen
YesYes
SA02SaturdayShep & Barbara ThorpYesYes

Sprague Lake and West Whitman County Hot Spots

Distance: 200 miles START TIME: 5:00 a.m.

Description: Whether birding or fishing, Sprague Lake is an eastern Washington destination with a breeding colony of California gulls and crossing 2 counties. The public lands of West Whitman County, including Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Revere Wildlife Area and US Bureau of Land Management Escure Ranch provide intact shrub-steppe habitat traversed by wildlife-rich Rock Creek. Target birds include Eared Grebe; American White Pelican; Vesper, Savannah, Brewer’s, and Grasshopper Sparrows; Lazuli Bunting; Tricolored Blackbird; and Bullock’s Oriole.

What to expect: A long full-day trip driving from site to site with return to Spokane Valley by 4:30 PM and 2 to 3 miles of moderate hiking. Ticks are possible so come prepared with insect repellent. Bring food and water. A Discover Pass is required. Limit 12 in four vehicles.

Note: The route covers 3 counties for county listers. There was a Sprague Lake trip during the Moses Lake conference.

Trip No.DayLeader(s)PlaybackeBird
FR03FridayRandy HillLimitedYes
SA03SaturdayMike & MerryLynn DennyLimitedYes

Lincoln/Southern Stevens Counties Hot Spots

Distance: 150 miles. START TIME: 5 a.m.

Description: Where mountains abut the plains, great river tributaries flow through meadows and wetlands providing habitats of mixed conifer forests, open grasslands, riparian coulees, and open water on reservoirs and lakes. Northwest of Spokane, good birding areas include Spring Creek Canyon, Avista Park (Long Lake Dam), the towns of Springdale and Valley, and Deer Lake. Target birds include Blue-winged Teal, Wilson’s Phalarope, Black Tern, Pileated Woodpecker, White-throated Swift, Red-eyed Vireo, Veery, and Yellow-breasted Chat.

What to expect: A full day trip on paved and gravel roads. Driving from site to site with limited walking involved. Spotting scopes will be helpful especially when viewing open water. Come prepared with drink and food. Limit 12 in four vehicles.

Note: A lot of the parking is pulling off on roadsides.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlaybackeBird
FR04FridayJon IsacoffYesYes
SU02SundayMike & MerryLynn DennyLimitedYes

Lincoln County Hotspots

Distance: 130 miles START TIME: 5:30 a.m.

Description: Lincoln County with its northern border of the Spokane River and Lake Roosevelt sports habitats left behind by the Great Floods of the last Ice Age modeled by coulees and scablands. From shrub-steppe to riparian drainages and potholes to forested canyons descending to the great rivers, there is a variety of wildlife, including broad avian diversity. Traversing Reardan Audubon Lake, Mill Canyon, Hawk Creek Canyon, Seven Bays, Fort Spokane, Old Kuck’s Road, Davenport Cemetery takes in the diversity. Target birds include Blue-winged Teal, Eared Grebe, Ruffed Grouse, Swainson’s Hawk, Wilson’s Phalarope, Gray Flycatcher, Clark’s Nutcracker, Sage Thrasher, Yellow-breasted Chat, Veery, Lazuli Bunting Lark Sparrow, Yellow-headed Blackbird, and much more. In early June, this trip can easily surpass a total of 100 species.

What to expect: A full day trip. We will be primarily driving from site to site with some walking at the specific sites. Come prepared with drink and food. Spotting scopes will be very useful. A Discover Pass will be required for each vehicle. Limit 12 in four vehicles.

Note: A lot of the parking is pulling off to the side of country roads, none too heavily traveled but some more than others.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlaybackeBird
FR05FridayOpen
SA05SaturdayBob FloresLimitedNo
SU03SundayBob FloresLimitedNo

Southern Pend Oreille County Hot Spots

Distance: 130 miles

START TIME: 5:30 a.m.

Description: The graben formations of great Columbia tributaries like the north-flowing Pend Oreille River yield varied intermontane habitats like meadows, lakes, wetlands, and temperate rain forests. These will be seen traversing the villages of Elk and Camden, along Calispel Lake and the Pend Oreille River, and the riverside towns of Cusick and Kalispel reservation headquarters in Usk. Target birds include Wood Duck, Canvasback, American Bittern, Sora, Virginia Rail, Black Tern, American Redstart, Northern Waterthrush, and Bobolink.

What to expect: A full-day trip with driving from site to site. Very little walking. Spotting scopes required for long distance viewing. Come prepared with food and drink. Limit 12 in four vehicles.

Note: There is moderate traffic on some of the roads to be parked.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlaybackeBird
FR06FridayBruce LaBarYesYes
SA06SaturdayScott & Sierra DownesLimitedYes
SU04SundayMichael WoodruffYesYes

Southern Spokane County Hot Spots

Distance: 100 miles driving, 2-3 miles hiking

START TIME: 5:30 a.m.

Description: Before the terrain trends south into the hills of the Palouse Prairie, the more rugged scabland landscape is full of lakes, potholes, and wetlands among the dry pine forest. Walk Slavin Ranch Conservation Area and visit the farm town of Spangle and Philleo, Williams, Hog, and Fishtrap Lakes to see the multitude of birds and other wildlife that inhabit these features. Target birds include Sora, Wilson’s Phalarope, Black Tern, Red-naped Sapsucker, Bank Swallow, all three nuthatches, Western Bluebird, and many more.

What to expect: A full day of driving and hiking. Slavin Ranch in early June is prime habitat for ticks so please be prepared with insect repellant. Bring food and drink. Low clearance vehicles not recommended for the Fishtrap area. A Discover Pass is required. Limit 12 in four vehicles.

Note: This trip offers an alternative to Turnbull NWR. There’s parking at Slavin Ranch. Some road pull-off parking may involve moderate traffic.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback eBird
FR07FridayAlan McCoyLimitedYes
SA07SaturdayTim O’BrienYesYes

Peone Foothills and Mt. Spokane State Park

Distance: 60 miles

START TIME: 5:30 a.m.

Description: At nearly 6,000 feet, Mt. Spokane is a southern foot of the Selkirk Mountains with streams and creeks that feed the region’s rivers and lakes and the Peone wetlands at its southern base. Various forests abound from dry pine to mixed conifer and even Engelmann spruce to support boreal species. Target birds include Dusky Grouse, Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Virginia Rail, Sora, Pileated Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Vaux’s Swift, Red-eyed Vireo, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Nashville Warbler, MacGillivray’s Warbler, American Redstart, Fox Sparrow, Pine Grosbeak, and Cassin’s Finch.

What to expect: A full-day trip including 2-3 miles of hiking on moderate trails. Spotting scopes are helpful at Peone wetlands. Come prepared with food and lots of drink. A Discover Pass is required. Limit 12 in four vehicles.

Note: Parking is not a problem but requires a Discover Pass. It’s mountain hiking on good trails.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlaybackeBird
FR08FridayBob FloresLimitedNo
SA08SaturdayMichael HobbsYesYes
SU05SundayJason FidorraMaybeYes

Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge

Distance: 60 miles START TIME: 5:30 a.m.

Description: A jumble of potholes and lakes in dry pine forest, much of Turnbull NWR has been restored to its historic native state. Wildlife abounds, including elk and moose alongside the avian diversity the various habitats support. Target birds include Trumpeter Swan, American Bittern, Sora, Virginia Rail, Black Tern, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Wren, Western Bluebird, Bullock’s Oriole, and Yellow-headed Blackbird.

What to expect: A full day driving the auto-loop tour and walking portions of the refuge. Hiking could be up to four miles depending on access. Bring food and water. Ticks are present during this time of year so plan for insect repellent. An entrance fee will be required at the refuge. Limit 12 in four vehicles.

Note: There is ample parking. A line of 4 cars on the auto-loop should work OK.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlaybackeBird
FR09FridayPenny Rose & Scott HoskinNoYes
SA09SaturdayCindy McCormack & Brian BellNoYes
SU06SundayBruce LaBarYesYes

Spokane Valley Hot Spots

Distance: 30 miles

START TIME: 5:30 a.m.

Description: After the Spokane River tumbles out of Lake Coeur d’Alene, it flows through the wide valley of the Rathdrum Prairie in Idaho and Spokane Valley. Newman and Liberty Lakes and Saltese Flats impound water off the surrounding mountains as it flows to the great river’s drainage and the trails of Liberty Lake Regional Park course along the forested stream feeding the lake and around the surrounding hills. Target birds include Sora; Spotted Sandpiper; Black-necked Stilt; Red-naped Sapsucker; Dusky, Willow, and Pacific-slope Flycatchers; Red-eyed Vireo; all three nuthatches; and Bullock’s Oriole.

What to expect: A full day trip with short walks at each site. Bring food, drink, and mosquito repellent. There is a $2 fee to enter Liberty Lake Regional Park. Limit 12 in four vehicles.

Note: It will be the closest to the hotel and conference center. There are parks with parking.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlayback (Y/N)eBird (Y/N)
FR10FridayCindy McCormackNoYes
SU07SundayTim O’BrienYesYes

Whitman County Hot Spots

Distance: 140 miles

START TIME: 5 a.m.

Description: Lacunar remains of the great ice age floods, the rolling Palouse hills pierced by ancient rock formations, Steptoe Butte State Park and Kamiak Butte County Park, remnants of the great mountains that once stood in the area. These towers provide a variety of habitats and accompanying birds. In contrast, Rock Lake is the deepest of the scabland lakes left by the great floods. Target birds include Red-necked Grebe; American White Pelican; Prairie Falcon; Hammond’s, Dusky, and Pacific-slope Flycatchers; Horned Lark; all 3 nuthatches, Pacific Wren; Nashville, MacGillivray’s, and Wilson’s Warblers; Western Tanager; and Red Crossbill.

What to expect: A full-day trip driving from site to site with up to three miles of moderate hiking. Come prepared with food and drink. A Discover Pass is required. Limit 12 in four vehicles.

Note: There is parking at each site but is limited on the lower reach of Steptoe.

Trip No.DayLeaderPlaybackeBird
SA04SaturdayScott RamosLimitedYes

Half-day Trips

These trips will be leaving from the assigned carpooling area (CenterPlace Event Center parking area). Please note the departure time is 6 a.m.

North Spokane County Hotspots

Distance: 60 miles

START TIME: 6:00 a.m.

Description: The great river that defines Spokane has much natural area protected by Riverside State Park and other public lands. The Spokane River and its Little Spokane River tributary flow through dry pine forest and the multiple habitats: north slope Douglas-fir, shrubby scree, meadows, and wetlands-contained in that landscape. These will be found at Waikiki Natural Area, Little Spokane Natural Area and Knothead Valley, Spokane Rivers confluence, Carlson Rd. trailhead (Nine-Mile dam), and Bowl and Pitcher. Target birds include White-throated Swift, Pileated Woodpecker, Gray Flycatcher, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Canyon Wren, Pygmy Nuthatch, Townsend’s Solitaire, Gray Catbird, Western Tanager, Lazuli Bunting, and Lark Sparrow.

What to expect: A half-day trip with short walks at each site. Bring food, drink, and mosquito repellent. A Discover Pass is required. Limit 12 in four vehicles.

Note: There’s great birding variety. The stops have parking areas that require a Discover Pass.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlaybackeBird
FR11FridayLindell HagginMaybeYes
SA11SaturdayLindell HagginMaybeYes
SU08SundayScott & Sierra DownesLimitedYes

Iller Creek

Distance: 30 miles

START TIME: 6:00 a.m.

Description: Iller Creek is one of Spokane’s birding gems that is part of a growing area of public lands managed by Spokane County and the area’s oldest land conservancy, Dishman Hills Land Conservancy. The Creek drops steeply off the hills in a forested canyon and nearby shrubby slopes. Target species include Ruffed Grouse; Calliope and Black-chinned Hummingbirds; Red-naped Sapsucker; Hammond’s, Dusky, Willow, and Pacific-slope Flycatcher; Cassin’s and Warbling Vireo; three nuthatch species; Nashville and McGillivray’s Warbler; and Veery.

What to expect: A half-day trip. A rigorous walking ascent up a forested trail for about four hours. Each trip can accommodate no more than 10 people because of a narrow multi-use trail. Ticks are possible in this area. Limit is 10 people in 4 vehicles.

Note: The trailhead is hard to find, driving through neighborhoods and parking can be limited but not with an early start.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlaybackeBird
FR12FridayGary LeeMaybeMaybe
SA12SaturdayGary LeeMaybeMaybe
Su09SundayMichael HobbsYesYes

West Plains/Medical Lake

Distance: 60 miles

START TIME: 6 a.m.

Description: Lakes and wetlands left behind by the great floods of the last Ice Age dot the scablands providing essential stopovers of the Pacific Flyway. The western Spokane County cluster of lakes, including Medical Lake, West Medical Lake, Silver Lake, Granite Lake, and Meadow Lake, is a prime example. Target species include American White Pelican, Spotted Sandpiper, Pygmy Nuthatch, Gray Catbird, Common Yellowthroat, a variety of grassland sparrows, Yellow-headed Blackbird, and Bullock’s Oriole.

What to expect: A half-day trip. Driving from site to site and using spotting scopes to find the birds. Dusty gravel roads will be encountered on the West Plains. We will spend 4-5 hours exploring these areas. Limit 12 in four vehicles.

Note: Some of the lakes have county park space with parking. There will also be need for roadside parking on roads with moderate traffic.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlaybackeBird
SA10SaturdayAlan McCoyLimitedYes
SU10SundayAlan McCoyLimitedYes

Evening Owling Trips

Owling Mt. Spokane and Foothills

Distance: 60 miles START TIME: 9 p.m.

Description: Mount Spokane and its surrounding foothills are home to owls of the forest. The trip visits Madison Road, Holcomb Road, and Mount Spokane State Park in search of Western Screech-Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Great Horned Owl, and Barred Owl. A Discover Pass will be required.

What to expect: Driving and walking. Bring headlamps. Return late!

Limit 8 people in three vehicles.

Trip No.DayLeadersPlaybackeBird
FO01FridayMike & MerryLynn DennyLimitedYes
SO01SaturdayShep & Barbara ThorpYesYes

Owling Stevens Creek

Distance: 30 miles of driving to trailhead.

START TIME: 9 p.m.

Description: This owling excursion is night hiking on an ascending trail through dry pine forest with Common Poorwill; Flammulated, Great Horned, and Northern Saw-whet Owls as possibilities.

Note: This trip was suggested by Spokane Audubon.

What to expect: Parking and walking. Bring headlamps. Return late!

Limit 8 people in three vehicles.

Trip No.DayLeaderPlaybackeBird
FO02FridayJason FidorraYesYes
SO02SaturdayJason FidorraYesYes

Breakdown by Days

SCHEDULEStart timeTrip No.Trip NameTrip type
THURSDAY FIELD TRIPS
On The Way Trips
6:30 a.m.TH01Departing from Puget Sound Region via Rt. 2On The Way
6:30 a.m.TH02Departing from Puget Sound Region via I-90On The Way
5:00 a.m.TH03Departing from Puget Sound Region via SR 410/U.S. . 12On The Way
6:30
a.m.
TH04Departing Via Vancouver/SW WA via Columbia GorgeOn The Way
5:00 a.m.TH05Departing from N. Seattle via Kittitas and WashtucnaOn The Way
FRIDAY FIELD TRIPS
Full Day Trips
5:00 a.m.FR01Little Pend Oreille NWRFull Day
5:00 a.m.FR02Lincoln County Public LandsFull Day
5:00 a.m.FR03Sprague Lake/West Whitman County Hot SpotsFull Day
5:00 a.m.FR04Lincoln/Southern Stevens County Hot SpotsFull Day
5:30 a.m.FR05Lincoln County Hot SpotsFull Day
5:30 a.m.FR06Southern Pend Oreille County Hot SpotsFull Day
5:30 a.m.FR07Southern Spokane County Hot SpotsFull Day
5:30 a.m.FR08Peone Foothills/Mt Spokane State ParkFull Day
5:30 a.m.FR09Turnbull NWRFull Day
5:30 a.m.FR10Spokane Valley Hot SpotsFull Day
Half Day Trips
6:00 a.m.FR11North Spokane County Hot SpotsHalf Day
6:00 a.m.FR12Iller CreekHalf Day
Owling Trips
9 p.m.FO01Owling Mt Spokane and FoothillsOwling
9 p.m.FO02Owling Stevens CreekOwling
SATURDAY FIELD TRIPS
Full Day Trips
5:00 a.m.SA01Little Pend Oreille NWRFull Day
5:00 a.m.SA02Lincoln County Public LandsFull Day
5:00 a.m.SA03Sprague Lake/West Whitman County Hot SpotsFull Day
5:00 a.m.SA04Whitman County Hot SpotsFull Day
5:30 a.m.SA05Lincoln County Hot SpotsFull Day
5:30 a.m.SA06Southern Pend Oreille County Hot SpotsFull Day
5:30 a.m.SA07Southern Spokane County Hot SpotsFull Day
5:30 a.m.SA08Peone Foothills/Mt Spokane State ParkFull Day
5:30 a.m.SA09Turnbull NWRFull Day
Half Day Trips
6:00 a.m.SA10West Plains/Medical LakeHalf Day
6:00 a.m.SA11North Spokane County Hot SpotsHalf Day
6:00 a.m.SA12Iller CreekHalf Day
Owling Trips
9 p.m.SO01Owling Mt Spokane and FoothillsOwling
9 p.m.SO02Owling Stevens CreekOwling
SUNDAY FIELD TRIPS
Full Day Trips
5:00 a.m.SU01Little Pend Oreille NWRFull Day
5:00 a.m.SU02Lincoln/Southern Stevens County Hot SpotsFull Day
5:30 a.m.SU03Lincoln County Hot SpotsFull Day
5:30 a.m.SU04Southern Pend Oreille County Hot SpotsFull Day
5:30 a.m.SU05Peone Foothills/Mt Spokane State ParkFull Day
5:30 a.m.SU06Turnbull NWRFull Day
5:30 a.m.SU07Spokane Valley Hot SpotsFull Day
Half Day Trips
6:00 a.m.SU08North Spokane County Hot SpotsHalf Day
6:00 a.m.SU09Iller CreekHalf Day
6:00 a.m.SU10West Plains/Medical LakeHalf Day

Comments are closed.