Palouse Falls

Without a doubt, my favorite part of my recent Eastern Washington trip was my visit to Palouse Falls even though I didn’t manage to get a single bird picture there. The cliffs surrounding the falls were absolutely awe-inspiring.

Palouse Falls

And the view of the cliffs further down the river were equally impressive, though this 620 pixel wide photograph doesn’t do them justice.

Palouse River

On the road to Lyon’s Ferry I also captured my best shot of this small variety of sunflower which was widespread in this area where flowers are rare.

Sun Flower

My favorite bird shot of the trip is this one of a Hairy Woodpecker taken at Lyons Ferry, a bird I actually saw in several different areas.

Hairy Woodpecker


We spent most of our trip last week in Washtucna a small, friendly town that is a birding hotspot during spring and fall migration because of a nearby spring. I was attracted to the small display of old farm equipment.

Antique Plow

It’s pretty typical Eastern Washington country, with rocky outcroppings holding the high ground, while grass covers most of the rest.

Outcrop of Rocks

What makes Washtucna different, though, is the spring-fed trees that provide cover for migrating birds.

The trees and spring seem to provide adequate food and cover for a flock of wild turkeys that roost in the trees at night and walk the local streets and park in the morning and evening.

Turkey Roost

We saw hundreds of Yellow-rumped Warblers, a large number of Flickers, and, the last evening, a flock of Golden-Crowned Kinglets, which proved incredibly difficult to photograph as they flitted about overhead in the tree.

Golden-Crowned Kinglet

Vantage Washington

This week’s trip to Eastern Washington was light on birds, heavy on scenery. Although I used to travel to Eastern Washington often, I haven’t been there much in recent years, which probably explains why I was so struck by this view of the Columbia River from Vantage. I’d forgotten what a contrast this vast body of water makes against the rocky cliffs and arid land.

Columbia River From Vantage

When we reached the boat launch shown in the lower left-hand side of this photo I looked up to see an Osprey fly over head. If I were superstitious I would wonder if this bird has become my animal talisman, as it seems to appear magically wherever I go this year,

Osprey Overhead

although I can’t remember ever seeing it before last year.

However, since Ospreys have become so commonplace, I was even more excited when it elicited a warning cry from this family of Common Loons floating down the river:

Loon Family

I love the call of a loon floating over the water, and without the cry I doubt I would have noticed them since they were so far away.

Mariners Defeat Yankees

I was a little bummed out Friday morning after returning a day early from a less than successful birding trip to Eastern Washington when Leslie called and said that Margaret and Cory had tickets to Friday night’s game

Safeco Sign

and asked if I wanted to go. I wasn’t going to let a lack of sleep keep me from going, and I’m certainly glad I didn’t because it might well have been the most exciting game of the year.

Felix Hernandez, Seattle’s ace, pitched an outstanding game, allowing only two Yankee runs,

Felix Hernandez

which for quite awhile looked like all the runs they’d need. The score was 2-1 Yankees after two outs in the 9th with arguably the best closer in baseball ready to clinch another win. Luckily pinch hitter Mike Sweeney hit a double, bringing Ichiro to the plate, and, for the second night in a row, he won the game, this time with a homer.

Ichiro's Hits a Home Run

Needless to say, the game ended in a major celebration with first Ichiro being greeted by the whole team,

Mariners Greet Ichiro

which quickly also congratulated Felix on his 17th win.

Hernandez Congratulated

If that wasn’t enough to make me forget that I was down, the Washington Huskies’ victory over 3rd ranked USC today certainly did. I know sports shouldn’t have that kind of effect on me, but, for better or worst, they do.