OK, it wasn’t a Nighthawk but WOS (Washington Ornithological Society) Conference 2014 in Yakima, WA. But to me, it kinda was. Seeing that cool bird four days in a row could alone make any trip special.
I had my first nighthawk sighting at Selah Rest Stop on I-82.
I was driving for more than two hours in late Thursday afternoon. Yakima, and my hotel, and the night’s rest before three days of birding were within a sone’s throw and I didn’t really needed a stop. But I new I’d see White-throated Swifts and probably Prairie Falcon.
Plus, the setting sun lit everything with such a warm light that it made me crave for it touching my skin.
Of course, when I got out of the car I was almost blown down to the canyon, so strong the wind was. Still, the birds didn’t seem to care. White-throated Swifts and Cliff Swallows were swooping and gliding.
Prairie Falcon didn’t disappoint me either. He came out of nowhere and brought his mate along.
And then the sun set and that gorgeous moon rose:
Next day I went on the field trip to White Pass East, lead by Michael Hobbs. Great day, tons of interesting birds. But I’m trying to stick to the subject now… Yes. Joe Sweeney spotted perched nighthawk. Woo-hoo!
Saturday, field trip to Colockum led by Jon Isacoff.
We had a bonanza of nighthawks – at least five of them!
All my photos are cropped as if the birds were far away. But they actually were right next to us. I just had no chance to focus on those darting bullets. One of them whizzed by so close I felt the wind on the top of my head.
Somehow, I had no doubts I’d see some nighthawks on Sunday too :)
Eric Heisey lead the field trip to Black Rock Valley. Great closure for my trip full of cool sightings.
Yes, terrible picture. But look at this mouth! Did you know that nightjars had a tiny bill but a huge mouth? Someday I’ll take a better photo :)
Common Nighthawk, Chordeiles minor