BIRDING -- Most people visiting Mount Spokane this month are focused on frolicking in the snow, whether it's on skis, snowshoes, inner tubes or snowmobiles.
But there's a lot more life in the winter mountain forest than most visitors realize -- unless you head up with a serious birdwatcher, such as Terry Little.
"I took my wife cross-country skiing this morning on Mount Spokane," he reported a few minutes ago by e-mail. "She skied; I drove. But I did have a little time to do some high-mountain birding.
"As usual, one has to be patient and persistent when birding in the mountains, especially in the winter. But here is what I found (mostly about 1/2 mile past the parking lot for the snowmobilers on the way to ski lodges):
Sharp-shinned hawk, northern pygmy owl, hairy woodpecker, common raven, gray jay (2), chestnut-backed chickadee, Mountain chickadee, red-breasted nuthatch, pine grosbeak (15), Cassin's finch (1), red crossbill (2), pine siskins (10).
Little also reported seeing bald eagles, northern rough-legged hawks and American kestrels in the fields at the Peone Wetland as he traveled from the mountain.