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  • Writer's pictureEdward Leonard

Palouse Falls State Park - Washington - 27 April 2024

Nestled within the rugged terrain of eastern Washington lies a natural wonder waiting to be discovered: Palouse Falls State Park. While this park is renowned for its majestic waterfall and breathtaking vistas, it also offers a unique opportunity for birdwatchers seeking a glimpse of the elusive White-throated Swift.

As I embarked on the journey from Seattle to Palouse Falls State Park, the landscape gradually transformed from the urban bustle to rolling hills and expansive wheat fields. Along the way, my excitement grew as I anticipated the chance to witness the aerial acrobatics of the White-throated Swift, a bird known for its swift flight and remarkable agility.

Arriving at the park, I was immediately struck by the sheer grandeur of Palouse Falls. Towering cliffs loomed overhead as the thunderous roar of the waterfall echoed through the canyon below. But amidst the dramatic scenery, my attention was drawn to the skies above, where I hoped to catch a glimpse of the elusive swifts in action.

Setting out along the park's trails, I kept my eyes glued to the sky, scanning for any sign of movement. Suddenly, a flash of white caught my eye as a group of White-throated Swifts darted effortlessly through the air, their wings slicing through the wind with incredible speed. It was a mesmerizing sight, watching these birds twist and turn with unparalleled grace as they chased insects on the wing.

As I continued my exploration of the park, I was struck by the diversity of wildlife that called this place home. From the elegant great blue heron stalking fish in the river to the majestic golden eagle soaring high above the canyon walls, Palouse Falls State Park was a haven for nature lovers of all kinds.

But it was the White-throated Swifts that truly stole the show. Their swift flight and remarkable aerial maneuvers were a testament to the incredible adaptability of these birds, perfectly suited to the rugged terrain of the canyon. For birdwatchers like myself, witnessing their beauty and agility in person was an experience I will never forget.

As the day drew to a close and the sun began to dip below the horizon, I reluctantly tore myself away from the spectacle unfolding above and made my way back to the park entrance. Though my time at Palouse Falls State Park had come to an end, the memory of watching the White-throated Swifts in flight would stay with me forever, a reminder of the natural wonders that await those willing to explore the great outdoors.


ChatGPT really likes to use "nestled" in the travel essays it writes. I read somewhere in the last two weeks how Peter Theil said ChatGPT and Artificial Intelligence will come for Math and Computer Programming jobs first. As I experiment with ChatGPT, that sentiment resonates with me. Creative acts do follow patterns, but often in unexpected ways because otherwise the reader will be bored.

ChatGPT also cannot substitute being there. You can't fake it with ChatGPT.

For our trip, I had woken up Fiona at 5am. She did amazing getting going because she tends to be a late riser. We had a 2.45 hour drive ahead and I wanted us to get going early. It is calming to pass through the habitats and see the shifting landscape from forest to shrub-steppe.

Upon arrival I accidentally blocked other drivers as I saw my first Rock Wren of the year. As we pulled into the parking lot I was delighted to see Yellow-bellied Marmots throughout the picnic areas. The falls was AWE-some. I also was able to get another life bird the White-throated Swift. It was a fantastic day. Next time I would love to camp (camping was closed and so were the hike to the bottom of falls). Well worth a visit.

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