BIRDING -- Snow buntings and a late-lingering osprey were in the birder buzz this weekend.
One person in the Inland Northwest Birders group reported counting 160 snow buntings during a cruise through Lincoln County. These are the small birds -- grey-brown backs, white fronts and black wing tips -- that are commonly seen in flock on plowed gravel roads in Lincoln County during winter.
Meantime, an osprey was photographed near Rook's Park in Walla Walla on Thanksgiving Day - "which makes it our latest date ever here in Walla Walla County, said MerryLynn Denny.
The ospreys that are so common in the Spokane region depart in late summer or fall for far flung warmer destinations.
Indeed, an osprey hatched along the lower Coeur d'Alene River was tracked by GPS to where it wintered basking in the tropical warmth of Cuba in 2005.
Of the four chicks with transmitters, one wintered in the New Orleans area and one got to the coast and then made a beeline for Cuba. Idaho Fish and Game Department researchers lost track of the other two.