[Tweeters] Central WA - new raptor families - 5/2/1013

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Mon May 6 19:27:56 PDT 2013

Starting with a quick stop at Snoqualmie Falls with my brother, Dick, we found the falls to be beautiful, but the mist and lack of light on the "Peregrine Cliffs" resulted in a "no-find" - thanks to Dave T and Scott D for keeping us up on the progress of the chicks and for the fine videos.

Our next stop was at the Teanaway "Dipper Bridge" on SR 10 - river was up a bit from last week, and we missed the dippers, but enjoyed the rocks and nearby photographic opportunities that included the Stuart Range.

On down the road to see how the Great Horned Owlets were doing - despite an increase in cottonwood leaf and branch blockage of the nest and the youngins', those fuzzy, big-eyed kids stared out at us for a minute or 2, before the shades came down (up?) and they nodded off on their feet - some feather bars were starting to become evident in the light gray down that was most prevalent a week ago.

A drive down Canyon Rd. with increasingly overcast skies put a slight damper on Dick's photographic efforts (less contrasting shadowplay), but didn't diminish our Bald Eagle and Prairie Falcon finds. A beautiful ponderosa pine held 2 adult Bald Eagles, and a nest with 2 dinosaurian chicks. After pulling off the road and walking along the shoulder edges, we watched the male do a bit of fishing in the Yakima R. He brought a fish up to the nest and both adults seemed to help deliver morsels to visibly hungry eaglets. The fish was medium-sized - I caught a photo of it - maybe one of you can tell the kind of fish it was?

After waiting awhile to see or hear some Prairie Falcon action, we were finally rewarded with begging calls from at least one immature (recently fledged). A parent called and flew in to the area - one of the fledglings flew off to meet the falcon that received the prey hand-off from another adult. All 3 (possibly 4) of the falcons flew from cliff-to-cliff, and one entered a possible nest site that I recalled seeing PRFA fledglings in a few years ago! Following the falcons was a challenge, so we missed all the details of their actions. But exciting it was, to see them, 2 months after having seen some courtship action in the same area. Sorry, no photos of the PRFA, just the cliffs.

A pair of Red-tailed Hawks in a tree at the very top of the highest cliffs made for a nice view (but not the best photo) and spotting a Golden Eagle soaring added to the raptorous magic.

Back down the road and into Ellensburg, we chose to drive up Umptanum Rd. rather than to stop at the Umtanum Rec. Site and hike up the creek a bit - too late, too cloudy. Did see the Red-tailed Hawk nest with an adult lying in it, so it is being used again.

The first sunset colors took to the sky on our way back down Ump Rd. We pulled over for some photos, our last before heading to The Palace for a little dinner and heading back to Seattle.

A Flickr link to some of our photos: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjEYCLqi

Note: the 1201 3rd Ave Peregrine Falcon chicks are starting to hatch - see the 1201 3rd falcon cam

Barb Deihl

North Matthews Beach - NE Seattle

barbdeihl at comcast.net

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