Spokane Audubon Society
Field Trips

We are in the process of creating our field trips for 2019. As we get leaders and trips arranged we will add them to the list below. We plan to introduce new and varied trips each year. The following are our “official” field trips for 2019. Trips may be added with short notice so check the website often. Trips may be canceled at any time due to bad weather, too few participants, or the lack of a leader. Contact the leader for more information and to reserve a spot.

Our Leaders and Field Trip Cost

Field trips are free and are open to anyone. You don’t have to be an Audubon member to participate in our field trips. Our leaders are club volunteers and are not compensated. If you carpool with somebody, it is common courtesy to compensate the driver for your share of gas and vehicle use. You are also responsible for any park entry fees, camping fees, or motel bills.

What to Bring

Participants need to provide their own binoculars, food and drink, adequate clothing, and transportation unless you find somebody with whom to carpool. Drivers bring your Discover Pass and any other pass you may have.

Skill Level

We provide a variety of trips that accommodate many birding skill levels. Birders of all levels are welcome on all trips. However, please bear in mind that some beginners may get frustrated or bored on trips designed for advanced birders, where much of the birding is done by ear and the pace is very fast. Some advanced birders might find the trips geared toward beginning birders too basic and slow-paced. The skill level for each trip will be posted.

Trip Length and Starting Time

To meet varied goals, some trips are five or six hours while some are 12 hours or longer. Published starting times are when we leave so arrive earlier than the posted hour.

Families, Children and Dogs

Dogs are disruptive to the birding experience; therefore we do not allow any dogs on our trips. While we very much want families to participate, very young children are not appropriate for our field trips. When in doubt about the appropriateness of bringing your child, ask the leader before the trip so you can make plans for child care.

First Come, First Served

We have received feedback from past field trip participants as well as our leaders and concluded that to enhance the birding experience we need to limit the number of participants on our trips. The number allowed for each trip will be posted. Call or email early to reserve your place on a trip. But also call ASAP if you are not able to make the trip so the leader can contact folks on the wait list to fill your place.

Be sure to check back here or call the trip leader for last minute changes. Check the Pygmy Owl for field trips too. 

2019 Field Trips at a Glance

April 27, 2019, Saturday Owens Lake-Bear Lake
Leader: Curtis Mahon

May 4, 2019 Saturday Cheney Wetlands Tour
Leaders: Buck and Sandy Domitrovich

May 11, 2019, Saturday Slavin Ranch Wetland Trip
Leader: Alan McCoy

May 18, 2019, Saturday Peone Prairie Wetlands
Leaders: Ann Brinly and Jenny Michaels

May 25, 2019, Saturday Turnbull Wildlife Refuge Family Trip
Leaders: Sandy & Richard Sollie

May 26, 2019, Sunday Iller Creek (Dishman Hills Natural Area) Trip
Leader: Michael Woodruff

June 7-8, Friday-Saturday Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge
Leaders: Mike Munts and Alan McCoy

June 8, 2019 Saturday Liberty Lake
Leader: Sandy and Richard Sollie

October 26, 2019 Saturday Grant County Late Fall Migrants Trip
Leader: Gary Blevins

2019 Field Trip Descriptions

April 27, 2019, Saturday Owens Lake-Bear Lake
Leader: Curtis Mahon
Limit: 12 Birders

This field trip is made possible by the Inland NW Land Conservancy. We will be birding Bear Lake Regional Park as well as the private property of Vicki Hershey that contains nearby Owens Lake.

Contact leader Curtis Mahon by texting to (509) 710-3409 or c9r0m0@gmail.com by April 25th to reserve your place. We will meet at the upper parking lot of Bear Lake at 8am. Bear Lake is about 25 miles north of downtown Spokane off of Highway 2. This is a mostly easy 3 mile hike round trip with a couple steep sections. The trip should last 3-4 hours.

Target Species: A variety of waterfowl and raptors, Common Loon, Ruffed Grouse, Bewick’s, Marsh, and Pacific Wrens, Virginia Rail, Sora, Red-necked Grebe, Wilson’s Snipe, Townsend's Solitaire, Yellow-rumped and Yellow Warblers, Calliope Hummingbird, Say's Phoebe, Western and Mountain Bluebirds, Chipping, Song and White-crowned Sparrows.

May 4, 2019 Saturday Cheney Wetlands Tour
Leaders: Buck and Sandy Domitrovich

Contact: bnsdomit@gmail.com or (509) 209-1391(text or call)

Registration date (no later than): Wednesday May 1, 2019

Anyone is welcome to join this family-friendly ½-day trip. We will walk at least 2.5 miles on level trails observing what is on several large ponds and in the surrounding habitat. Meet at Mitchell's Grocery Store in Cheney at the east end of the parking lot at 8:00 am. Be prepared for possible inclement weather. Bring snacks, water, binoculars (scope and camera, if you have them).

Target Species: Tundra Swan and assorted waterfowl, possible American Bittern, Virginia Rail, Sora, assorted songbirds

May 11, 2019, Saturday Slavin Ranch Wetland Trip
Leader: Alan McCoy
Limit: 10 birders

This is an annual trip to Slavin Ranch for Spokane Audubon. It is a half-day walking trip (about 5 miles) along a primitive trail through open Ponderosa pine scab rock country with many views of seasonal wetlands. All levels of birders are welcome. The Slavin Ranch is a Conservation Futures acquisition located about 10 miles south of downtown Spokane and a mile west of Hwy 195. We will start at the Slavin Ranch parking lot at 7:00 AM and end about 1:00 PM. Please call or text Alan at (509) 999-9512, or email at ahm2352@gmail.com by May 8 if you plan to attend. Remember to bring water, snacks and your optics.

Target Species: Breeding ducks and geese, raptors, Sora, Killdeer, Wilson's Snipe, Black Tern, woodpeckers, swallows, Eastern and Western Kingbird, House Wren, Song and Savannah Sparrow, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Orange-crowned Warbler.

May 18, 2019, Saturday Peone Prairie Wetland and surrounding area
Leaders: Ann Brinly and Jenny Michaels
Limit: 3 cars and 12 birders

Contact: Ann at agbmaelstrom@gmail.com and she will send a confirmation email. Please include your cell phone number in case we have to cancel the trip at the last moment.

Registration date: Please reserve your place no later than Tuesday May 14th

Level of Birder: Everyone over 10 years old welcome

Length of Trip: ½ day trip

Trip Description: Mostly birding along the road. One short walk may be muddy if we have had a lot of rain.

Meet-up time and location: Meet at 7 a.m. at the NW corner of the Yoke’s located at the corner of Highway 2 and Highway 206 (E Mt Spokane Park Dr.)

What to bring: Bring your binoculars and some water and snack if desired; rain gear if forecast indicates it will be needed. Jenny and I will both have a scope; bring yours along if you like. The trip will be completed by noon at the latest. There will be no bathroom facilities on this trip (except at the Yoke’s).

Description of Habitat and Target Species: We will walk up the rise to overlook Peone Prairie Wetlands where we should find several species of waterfowl as well as both red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbirds – often a raptor will soar overhead. At Deadman’s Creek we will see if our faithful Calliope Humming has returned again. Here we often see Bullock’s Oriole, Eastern Kingbird, swallows and raptors. Then we will head toward Mt Spokane in search of Lazuli Bunting, Gray Catbird, Ring-necked Pheasant, Wild Turkey, Cedar Waxwing, woodpeckers and finches.

May 25, 2019, Saturday Turnbull Wildlife Refuge Family Trip
Leaders: Sandy & Richard Sollie

This outing is billed as “kid friendly” with the emphasis on fun, some exercise and an introduction into birding. We’ll have our grandkids Aaden & Kolton who are 9 & 8 years with us, who have been birding with us for the past couple of years.

We will meet at the Turnbull Wildlife Refuge HQ parking lot at 8:30 AM. Plan on being out for about 2 hours. We’ll be walking the Pine Loop Lakes route and around the hiking trails by the Wildlife HQ.

Please bring binoculars, cameras, etc. If you don’t have this equipment, we’ll have scopes and a couple extra pairs of binoculars available for those who need to borrow some. Our goal is to identify birds and educate the kids & their families about birding and the rich experience it provides.

Contact Richard at contactme@richardsollie.com or 509-981-9003 to register or if you have questions.

Target species: A variety of ducks and geese, and possibly some swan. In addition, a variety of songbirds, such as bluebirds, swallows, chickadees, nuthatches, and blackbirds.

May 26, 2019, Sunday Iller Creek (Dishman Hills Natural Area)

Leader: Michael Woodruff
Meeting time: 6:30am
Limit: 10 birders

Contact: Michael Woodruff - text 509-496-7973 or email mkd.woodruff@gmail.com by Saturday, May 25 to confirm your place. We will meet at the parking lot at the base of Iller Creek.
Directions: From I-90, take the Argonne Road exit 287. Drive south on Argonne Road. Continue past Sprague Avenue onto Dishman-Mica Road, driving approximately 2.8 miles. Turn right at the Schafer Road stoplight and then right again at stop sign on 44th Avenue for another 0.2 miles. Turn left on Farr Road, continue to stop sign. Turn right on Holman Road, drive 0.75 miles to switchback (Holman becomes Rockcrest). Park on right before the switchback at the entrance to the Conservation Area. The Iller Creek Conservation Area is on both the right and left of the creek (coordinates: 47.5977135,-117.281971)

Description: This will be a slow hike on moderate terrain covering up to 4 miles round trip and will require some level of physical fitness. The hike will likely last 3-4 hours. We will search for an impressive assortment of spring and summer woodland and riparian species. This is prime time for maximum species as many migrants are still moving through, and most breeders are back.

Target Species: Ruffed Grouse, Calliope Hummingbird, Red-naped Sapsucker, Dusky and Hammond's Flycatchers, Cassin's and Warbling Vireo, 3 species of chickadees, Veery, Swainson's Thrush, finches, sparrows, Lazuli Bunting, and a chance at all of the breeding and spring migrant warblers

June 7-8, 2019, Friday-Saturday Little Pend Oreille NWR
Leaders: Mike Munts/Alan McCoy
Limit: 10 birders

Description: This is an overnight trip. Meet at the LPO NWR Ranger station between 5-6 pm Friday June 7. We will set up camp and bird a bit in the afternoon and then that evening we will try to find some owls – Flammulated, Western Screech and Northern Saw-whet. Saturday morning we will bird until it’s time to head back home. For those who don’t want to camp there is lodging in nearby Colville. The walking we do will be on mostly flat terrain.

Contact: Alan McCoy (999-9512, ahm2352@gmail.com) or Mike Munts (509-684-8384, michael_munts@fws.gov) by June 3rd if you plan to participate. For information about the refuge: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Little_Pend_Oreille/

Target Species: Wood Duck and an assortment of waterfowl; Western Screech, Northern Saw-whet and Flammulated Owl; Common Loon; Red-necked Grebe; Ruffed Grouse; Sora and Virginia Rail; Wilson's Snipe; Common Nighthawk; All 3 hummingbirds; Red-naped Sapsucker; Black-backed and White-headed Woodpeckers; a nice variety of flycatchers, thrushes, warblers and sparrows.

June 8, 2019, Saturday Liberty Lake Trip
Leaders: Sandy & Richard Sollie

This is a mostly easy walking half-day trip. Liberty Lake hosts some of the best habitat diversity in Spokane County, extensive wetlands and prairie, old second-growth Ponderosa pine, and some of the best wet-belt mixed conifer forest in the area.

Contact: Richard at contactme@richardsollie.com or 509-981-9003 by June 3rd if you plan to attend and for time, place and carpool details.

Target Species: Wilson's Snipe; Virginia and Sora Rails; woodpeckers; Hammond’s, Dusky, and Willow Flycatchers; Cassin’s, Warbling, and Red-eyed Vireos; Marsh Wren; Yellow, MacGillvray’s, Orange-crowned, Townsend’s, and Nashville Warblers, Common Yellowthroat and possible American Redstart.

October 26, 2019, Saturday
Grant County Late Fall Migrant Trip

Leader: Gary Blevins

This is a beginning, intermediate and advanced birder-oriented trip to look for specialty birds, such as Arctic Gulls, Lapland Longspurs, and other hard to find and see northern visitors. There may be some down time with little action in between bird sightings but potential for rarities is high. It is a full-day trip from sunrise to sunset. The trip takes a Loop drive from Spokane to Soap Lake and back to Spokane usually after dark. Contact Gary Blevins (863-2659 or blevins@spocom.com) by October 16 if you plan to attend.

Target Birds: Loons and grebes; scoters and rare wintering waterfowl; wintering raptors; Glaucous, Thayers, and Glaucous-winged Gulls; Northern Shrike; Snow Bunting; Lapland Longspur; Gray-crowned Rosy Finch

Field Trip Reports