Bonaparte Lake/Lost Lake/Toroda Creek

By Brenda Senturia

The Site

The northern portion of Washington State is home to many species not usually found elsewhere in the state. The Bonaparte Lake/Lost Lake/Toroda Creek area of Okanogan National Forest offers superb birding. At an elevation of 3,000-3,600 feet, there is ample precipitation producing forests of Engelmann spruce and Douglas fir. Numerous lakes and marshes provide feeding and nesting sites for waterbirds. Beaver activity in watercourses continually alters the landscape. There is an abundance of riparian thickets of cottonwood and groves of aspen. The Toroda and Beaver Creek valleys are characterized by a variety of habitats, including dry Ponderosa hillsides, cliffs, thick riparian shrubbery and trees, and irrigated farmlands.

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The Birds

Some of Washington's most sought-after species occur here in spring and summer. The lakes are home to many nesting waterbirds, including Common Loons, Hooded Mergansers, Barrow's Goldeneyes, and Red-necked Grebes. Courtship and nesting behavior and groups of juveniles are common sights on the lakes. Soras and Virginia Rails are found in the marshes. Black Terns can be seen flying low over the lakes. Owls are often heard, including Great Horned, Flammulated, and Barred. Yellow Warblers and Warbling Vireos are common in the brushy thickets and riparian corridors. Uncommon but regular species include Northern Waterthrush, Least Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, American Redstart, and Gray Catbird.

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Directions and Suggestions

From Tonasket (junction of SR-20 and US-97), go east on SR-20 for 21+ miles, bearing left at a turnoff signed ''Bonaparte Recreation Area''. Watch for Bonaparte Lake on the left in about five miles after you leave SR-20. Lost Lake is reached by turning left on Meyers Creek Road, about three miles past the end of Bonaparte Lake. To reach Beaver and Toroda Creeks, continue on the Bonaparte Lake Road to a ''T'' and go right along Beaver Creek. After about four miles, turn left at another ''T'' intersection and follow Toroda Creek. Numerous campgrounds with facilities are available at the lakes.

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References

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