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Crossbill-apalooza including Type 10 ("Sitka Spruce") Red Crossbill


Carl Lundblad
 

Birders,

North Idaho has been experiencing a veritable "Crossbill-apalooza" in recent weeks, with crossbills of various types in just about every wooded habitat from residential areas on the prairie to subalpine fir and every forest type in between. Red Crossbills of "call types" 2-4 have been commonly detected, and we are also hosting more White-winged Crossbills (and not just in the northernmost mountains of Boundary and Bonner Counties) than I have ever seen, here.  Abundant cone crops are ripening on many of our conifers and perhaps especially the hemlocks but also among other species. Birders in southern Idaho (and maybe places like the Ruby Mountains of northern Nevada) should also be alert for White-winged and various Red Crossbill types.

This past week I spent some time in the St. Joe Mountains, between the St. Joe and CDA Rivers and northeast of St. Maries Idaho.  Crossbills were everywhere, and the BLM Sheep Springs Trailhead, Overlook, and "Campground" was a particularly good location for observing and recording crossbills.  Among my many recordings, crossbill expert Tim Spahr picked out a recording of a Type 10 ("Sitka Spruce") Red Crossbill: https://ebird.org/checklist/S72406027.  This same location also hosted Red Crossbill types 2,3, 4, and a couple of flyby White-wings. Tim believes this is probably the first-documented Type 10 Red Crossbill for Idaho, and indeed it is the only eBird record between the Washington Cascades and the prairie of eastern North Dakota.

The area around nearby Crystal Lake was also full of crossbills, and as one leaves the lake (heading south and west towards the Pearson Peak trail) White-winged Crossbill became the most common crossbill: https://ebird.org/checklist/S72405939.

The Crystal Lake and Sheep Springs area is all part of the Crystal Lake Wilderness Study Area and provides delightful high-elevation hiking and birding in Benewah County, accessed by long rough approach roads from either the St. Joe. or CDA Rivers.  Other interesting birds in the general area included a Rock Wren near Pearson Peak, a couple of fly-by Clark's Nutcrackers, and a Northern Goshawk.  

Nearby in the CDA River Valley and Chain of Lakes region, I checked out the shorebirds at Schlepp Ranch, recently reported on by Doug Ward.  Present on Thursday afternoon were numerous mostly-distant shorebirds including a Pectoral Sandpiper, 4 Black-necked Stilts, 3 Baird's Sandpipers, Western, Least, and both Yellowlegs.  A few more Least Sandpipers were at the Canyon Rd. Marsh, north of I-90 at Rose Lake (see eBird hotspot).  Earlier in the day, 3 juvenile Franklin's Gulls were at Sandpoint City Beach with the first adult Herring Gull of the season.  Two Solitary Sandpipers were where Edgemere Cutoff Road crosses Hoodoo Creek in the Hoodoo Valley of SW Bonner County.  It was nice to wake up to the calls ("skiews") of a Northern Saw-whet Owl and then the toots of a Northern Pygmy Owl, at my random campsite on Hoodoo Mountain, Thursday morning.

Good Birding,

Carl Lundblad
Moscow, ID


Larry Arnold
 


Hey Carl, thank you 10^6 for this informative and fun read about crossbills!!  Missy and I are now packing to move back to N Idaho…  ;-)   We esp love that Hoodoo area, almost any day at o’dark-thirty… camping thereabouts has got to be incredible!  I’m getting homesick just thinking about all the places you mention.  And since you mention it, I’ve also been longing to return to the Rubies this year, first place our daughter did a seriously long hike with us.

 

Congrats on that Type 10 RECR... =)   WOW !!!

 

Larry

 

 



From: "Carl Lundblad" <carl.lundblad@...>
To: "IBLE" <ible@groups.io>
Sent: Sunday, August 16, 2020 11:08:21 AM
Subject: [IBLE] Crossbill-apalooza including Type 10 ("Sitka Spruce") Red Crossbill

Birders,
North Idaho has been experiencing a veritable "Crossbill-apalooza" in recent weeks, with crossbills of various types in just about every wooded habitat from residential areas on the prairie to subalpine fir and every forest type in between. Red Crossbills of "call types" 2-4 have been commonly detected, and we are also hosting more White-winged Crossbills (and not just in the northernmost mountains of Boundary and Bonner Counties) than I have ever seen, here.  Abundant cone crops are ripening on many of our conifers and perhaps especially the hemlocks but also among other species. Birders in southern Idaho (and maybe places like the Ruby Mountains of northern Nevada) should also be alert for White-winged and various Red Crossbill types.

This past week I spent some time in the St. Joe Mountains, between the St. Joe and CDA Rivers and northeast of St. Maries Idaho.  Crossbills were everywhere, and the BLM Sheep Springs Trailhead, Overlook, and "Campground" was a particularly good location for observing and recording crossbills.  Among my many recordings, crossbill expert Tim Spahr picked out a recording of a Type 10 ("Sitka Spruce") Red Crossbill: https://ebird.org/checklist/S72406027.  This same location also hosted Red Crossbill types 2,3, 4, and a couple of flyby White-wings. Tim believes this is probably the first-documented Type 10 Red Crossbill for Idaho, and indeed it is the only eBird record between the Washington Cascades and the prairie of eastern North Dakota.

The area around nearby Crystal Lake was also full of crossbills, and as one leaves the lake (heading south and west towards the Pearson Peak trail) White-winged Crossbill became the most common crossbill: https://ebird.org/checklist/S72405939.

The Crystal Lake and Sheep Springs area is all part of the Crystal Lake Wilderness Study Area and provides delightful high-elevation hiking and birding in Benewah County, accessed by long rough approach roads from either the St. Joe. or CDA Rivers.  Other interesting birds in the general area included a Rock Wren near Pearson Peak, a couple of fly-by Clark's Nutcrackers, and a Northern Goshawk.  

Nearby in the CDA River Valley and Chain of Lakes region, I checked out the shorebirds at Schlepp Ranch, recently reported on by Doug Ward.  Present on Thursday afternoon were numerous mostly-distant shorebirds including a Pectoral Sandpiper, 4 Black-necked Stilts, 3 Baird's Sandpipers, Western, Least, and both Yellowlegs.  A few more Least Sandpipers were at the Canyon Rd. Marsh, north of I-90 at Rose Lake (see eBird hotspot).  Earlier in the day, 3 juvenile Franklin's Gulls were at Sandpoint City Beach with the first adult Herring Gull of the season.  Two Solitary Sandpipers were where Edgemere Cutoff Road crosses Hoodoo Creek in the Hoodoo Valley of SW Bonner County.  It was nice to wake up to the calls ("skiews") of a Northern Saw-whet Owl and then the toots of a Northern Pygmy Owl, at my random campsite on Hoodoo Mountain, Thursday morning.

Good Birding,

Carl Lundblad
Moscow, ID