Shoshone County Century Count
Scroll down for chart of total birds
June 8, 2002
After broadcasting my opinion that we would be doing well to get 85 species, the Century Team turned in an amazing performance for a total of 99 species. This was despite the fact that it rained, sleeted or snowed on us all day except for an hour at the beginning and an hour at dusk.
is difficult to know where to begin describing the highlights of the count. We racked up quite a few highlights in our 16 hour day, and, of course, each team member has their own favorite highlight. For some it was the Rock Dove stakeout in downtown Kellogg, for others, the sight of the slow falling pristine white snow above Mullan, and yet others probably experienced a highlight each time they climbed back in the car and the driver started the motor and cranked up the heater blower.
The Coeur d’Alene contingent arrived at my house in an anticipatory mood, having driven through a spot of rain on the pass, and having "left it behind". Our first bird was a Western Tanager flying over our heads as we stood in the driveway. For the next several hours, we steadily knocked down the typical riparian species found along the North Fork (5 flycatchers, 3 vireos, 5 warblers, etc.), plus a few surprises (American Redstart, Bank Swallow). After the first hour, it began to rain.
For the statistically-inclined, we identified 57 species in the first 4.5 hours of birding, all within a 4 mile stretch of river between the Bumblebee cutoff bridge and Kingston. (In the evening, we picked up an additional 2 species on this stretch.)
We headed to Page ponds after a coffee stop. At the sewage ponds and adjacent wetlands, we found Ruddy Duck, Gadwall, Redhead and Wilson’s Phalarope – species difficult to find anywhere else in the county. Next, downtown Smelterville turned up a surprise flock of Red Crossbills, plus a hummingbird feeder with 3 species present. Cindi and Kathryn heard a Savannah Sparrow at the airport. Altogether, we picked up an additional 19 species in the Page-Smelterville area. The rain continued.
From there we proceeded to a stakeout of the condemned YMCA building in downtown Kellogg, peering through the rain at holes in the eaves, searching for a glimpse of the rump, leg or beady-eyed face of a Rock Dove. Several minutes passed, and then a mostly white dove popped out to flutter above us.
It was now noon, and we had 77 species under our belts. We drove in the rain to Mullan, and birded the open pastures to the east towards the pass. Here we found Mountain Bluebird, and then both kinglets at Shoshone Park. The pastures were full of Chipping Sparrows popping up and down, while an unexpected Osprey perched in a tree above a pond. And we started to see Townsend’s Solitaires about every 5 minutes. The rain became mixed with sleet and snow.
Our total as we left Mullan stood at 85 species, and we drove back to Wallace, and then over Dobson Pass, where the rain turned to snow. Several team members did not appear to fully appreciate the beauty of the snow-dappled landscape. Dropping down into the Beaver Creek drainage, the snow turned back to rain, and we picked up 3 more species – Common Snipe, Red-naped Sapsucker and Evening Grosbeak.
A cruise through Murray (in the rain) yielded Cassin’s Finch, then we turned up Eagle Creek (in the rain) to pick up Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers. On a tip, we traveled up the East Fork Eagle Creek on a Forest Service road where we found 2 more species, each represented by a single wet, bedraggled specimen – Turkey Vulture and Gray Jay.
Now a little after 7 PM, we had been birding for over 14 hours, and the effects were beginning to show. I see no need to record for posterity the remarks being bandied about; let it suffice to say that we were all a bit, well, punchy. Our total stood at 93 species. Behind schedule, we raced down the new side river road in the rain, backing up once to confirm a Common Merganser (94). Below Bumblebee cutoff, we stopped on the old side road at the site where the Veery had eluded us that morning. As soon as we rolled down the windows and cut the engine, the Veery performed on cue (95), and we dashed off down the river once more.
Next, Shirley spotted 2 adult Bald Eagles in a snag at Kingston (96). Now the light was fading although the rain had miraculously stopped, and after discussing our options, we opted for a return visit to the Page ponds. Here Kris found a singing Common Yellowthroat (97) which had perhaps been silent in the morning because of the rain. Then a Common Nighthawk (98) appeared just as the words left my lips, "There ought to be a nighthawk here." Finally Shirley, fed up with being skunked by the Spotted Towhees all day, started to hike up the hill with Nancy, making provocative owl noises as she went, until a towhee began to mew and was counted as our 99th, and final, species.
What a day! The precipitation dampened the bird activity, but may also have acted to maintain it throughout the day at a low level. Who knows what we would have found if we had spent less time huddled in the cars shivering or trying to defog our binoculars? There were several fairly common species that were missed, namely Red-tailed Hawk, Wild Turkey, Pileated Woodpecker, Mountain Chickadee and American Goldfinch. Suggestions for next year’s Century Count ranged from Florida to Arizona and Hawaii. But we do know that next time we "do" Shoshone County, we will bring our snowshoes and foul-weather gear.
Thanks to Jan for the official records-keeping! Trip participants: Kris Buchler, Janet Callen, Roland Craft, Dick Cripe, Lisa Hardy, Cindi Langlitz, Kathryn ?, Nancy Mertz, Jan Severtson, Shirley Sturts and Judy Waring.
May, 26, 2007 - no write-up
Well, we picked about the most dismal day in June for the Century Count, and had our worst total ever - 88 species, even counting the Rock Pigeon seen by Janet Callen and "probably seen" by Carrie Hugo. Of course, we know that the world is going to end in December according to the Mayan calendar, so perhaps the results from our Shoshone County "big day" were not unexpected. The cold temperatures, and rain from mid-day on, kept most birds hunkered down and silent.
Things started out well enough in cool, cloudy conditions as we walked the trail both downstream and upstream of Enaville. Next we birded the Page swamps and sewage ponds, and by the time we headed up the North Fork to look for the Tennessee Warbler at about 10:30 AM we had a respectable 60 species under our belts. But then the rain started, and we had to work hard for every addition to our list. The Tennessee Warbler remained unresponsive, but we finally found a dipper after some searching.
Returning to the valley of the South Fork, we lost participants at a steady rate, while eking out a few more hard-won additions to our checklists. Century Count - Continued from page 4 A few urban species, such as crow, Eurasian Collared-Dove and starling, seemed unfazed by the rain, but we searched in vain for a humble House Sparrow, even infiltrating the Wal-Mart garden center, attired in our binocs and foul-weather gear.
Nancy and Sally called it quits after we raised an irritated response from a bedraggled Savannah Sparrow west of Kellogg, which fortunately approached closely enough for us to distinguish through our rain-fogged optics. Janet finally bailed about 6:30 PM after she, Carrie and I broadcast calls for Sora, Virginia Rail and American Bittern over the east Page swamp. raising only a feeble response from a lone, chilled Sora. Carrie and I stuck it out for another hour, scraping out another 3 species, the last being a bittern doing its oddball but thoroughly welcome gulping at west Page swamp in a steady rain.
What is interesting about the day is that we picked up a number of species that are difficult to find in the county, such as Bewick's Wren, Rock Wren, Ruddy Duck and Ring-billed Gull. But in Shoshone County, a successful big day requires tallying ALL of the usual suspects, plus some of the more elusive species, and we fell short on the usual suspects.
Participants: Kris Buchler, Janet Callen, Ken Fisher, Lisa Hardy, Carrie Hugo, Sally Jones, Nancy Mertz, Jan Severtson, Shirley Sturts, Jaquith Travis.
Species - 139 Total 2002 2007 2012 Canada Goose 1 x x x Wood Duck 2 x x x Gadwall 3 x x x American Wigeon 4 Mallard 5 x x x Blue-winged Teal 6 x x Cinnamon Teal 7 x x x Northern Shoveler 8 x x x Green-winged Teal 9 x x x Redhead 10 x x x Ring-necked Duck 11 x x x Lesser scaup 12 x Bufflehead 13 x Common Goldeneye 14 Hooded Merganser 15 x x Common Merganser 16 x x x Ruddy Duck 17 x x x Ring-necked Pheasant 18 Ruffed Grouse 19 x Wild Turkey 20 x California Quail 21 Common Loon 22 Pied-billed Grebe 23 x Red-neckded Grebe 24 Western Grebe 25 American Bittern 26 x American White Pelican 27 Double-crested Cormorant 28 Great Blue Heron 29 x x x Turkey Vulture 30 x Osprey 31 x Bald Eagle 32 x x x Northern Harrier 33 x x x Cooper'sHawk 34 x Sharp-shinned Hawk 35 x Red-tailed Hawk 36 x American Kestrel 37 Virginia Rail 38 x Sora 39 x x American Coot 40 x x x Killdeer 41 x x x Spotted Sandpiper 42 x x x Wilson's Snipe 43 x x Wilson's Phalarope 44 x Ring-billed Gull 45 x x Rock Pigeon 46 x x x Mourning Dove 47 x Eurasian-collared Dove 48 x Common Nighthawk 49 x Great Horned Owl 50 Northern Pygmy-Owl 51 Vaux's Swift 52 x Black-chinned Hummingbird 53 x x Calliope Hummingbird 54 x x Rufous Hummingbird 55 x x Belted Kingfisher 56 x x x Red-naped Sapsuker 57 x x x Downy Woodpecker 58 x Hairy Woodpecker 59 x x Northern Flicker 60 x x x Pileated Woodpecker 61 x Olive-sided Flycatcher 62 x x Western Wood-Pewee 63 x x x Willow Flycatcher 64 x x Least Flcatcher 65 Hammond's Flycatcher 66 x x x Dusky Flycatcher 67 Western Flycatcher 68 x x x Eastern Kingbird 69 x x x Cassin's Vireo 70 x x x Warbling Vireo 71 x x x Red-eyed Vireo 73 x x Gray Jay 74 x Steller's Jay 75 x x Black-billed Magpie 76 x x x American Crow 77 x Common Raven 78 x x x Tree Swallow 79 x x x Violet-green Swallow 80 x x x N-Rough-winged Swallow 81 x x x Bank Swalloew 82 x Cliff Swallow 83 x x x Barn Swallow 84 x x x Black-capped Chickadee 85 x x x Mountain Chickadee 86 Chestnut-b Chickadee 87 x x x Red-breasted Nuthatch 88 x x x Pygmy Nuthatch 89 Brown Creeper 90 x Rock Wren 91 x Bewick's Wren 92 x House Wren 93 x x x Pacific Wren 94 x x American Dipper 95 x x x Golden-crowned Kinglet 96 x x x Ruby-crowned Kinglet 97 x x Western Bluebird 98 x Mountain Bluebird 99 x x x Townsend's Solitaire 100 x x Veery 101 x x x Swainson's Thrush 102 x x x American Robin 103 x x x Varied Thrush 104 x x Gray Catbird 105 x x x European Starling 106 x x x Cedar Waxing 107 x x Orange-crowned Warbler 108 x x x Nashville Warbler 109 x x Yellow Warbler 110 x x x Yellow-rumped Warbler 111 x x x Townsend's Warbler 112 x x x American Redstart 113 x x x Northern Waterthrush 114 x x x MacGillivray's Warbler 115 x x x Common Yellowthroat 116 x x x Wilson's Warbler 117 x Western Tanager 118 x x x Spotted Towhee 119 x x x Chipping Sparrow 120 x x x Savannah Sparrow 121 x x x Song Sparrow 122 x x x Dark-eyed Junco 123 x Black-headed Grosbeak 124 x x x Lazuli Bunting 125 x Red-winged Blackbird 126 x x x Western Meadowlark 128 x Yellow-headed Blackbird 129 x x x Brewer's Blackbird 130 x x x Brown-headed Cowbird 131 x x x Bullock's Oriolle 132 x x Cassin's Finch 133 x House Finch 134 x x x Red Crossbill 135 x x Pine Siskin 136 x x x Ameican Goldfinch 137 Evening Grosbeak 138 x x House Sparrow 139 x x TOTAL SPECIES 99 88 88