[Tweeters] Young Raptors Appear in Central WA - 5/20/13

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Wed May 22 01:58:09 PDT 2013

I went over 'there' again on Mon., the last day of summer? The basics of my trip are below - details are in captions in my 2 Flickr sets, to which there are links at the end of this report. I apologize for being so brief, but I'm bushed after spending hours and hours today, trying to work with and figure out, the new Flickr photo-share system that was dumped on us hapless subscribers with nary a warning. I did notice that, during the time I was attempting to work with the system, that some of the initial tasks I was having trouble with, seemed to change back to the old ways, while other functions became clear after awhile. I hope that all those complaints I read on their blog, had some positive effect. OK, 'nuf of that - now on to my wonderful day :-)

The first raptor surprise came when I went to view the Umptanum Rd. Red-tailed Hawk nest I had only been viewing in the last minutes of daylight on my last few visits. There were 3 nestlings visible. Added bonus were the Western Kingbirds in the tree next to the nest fir.

On down Umptanum Rd. and then Wenas Rd. there were a lot of Western Bluebirds, 3 or 4 American Kestrels, 4 female elk, some Red-tailed Hawk fledglings, Western Meadowlarks singing, Brewer's Sparrows buzzing, a 2 Swainson's Hawks, an empty road and super-pleasant weather and scenery.

My 'plan' to end up for the last-of-the-evening Prairie Falcon action at the Canyon Rd. site, turned out to bring the other raptor surprise, besides the surprise that I made it on time ! 7:30 - 7:45, I soaked in the beauty of that site, while I waited to see/hear a Prairie Falcon or more. Finally, I heard a non-urgent call and an adult PRFA appeared from out of the nest cave, slowly glided over to the next cliff, perched for a few seconds, and disappeared. In looking back toward the nest hole, I saw it was no longer empty. 2 nestlings with downy tufts, stood at the opening until about 8 p.m. and then retired into the inner recesses of their nest sanctum. The female adult swung by to check on the kids but again disappeared, this time behind the outcropping.

I stayed a while longer, nibbled on some snacks and then left to head north on the Canyon Rd while the sun was setting, passing the Bald Eagle nest with its guard adult. I didn't quit when I got to the Seattle turn-off - I went on by it and went out on Umptanum Rd. again, hoping for a sighting of an owl or 2 - my luck, like the light, had run out. So, back home I went, with no time added to the trip by having to have an interaction with a traffic cop.

My birding didn't end when I left the Ellensburg area - at 12:30 a.m. at home, I twice heard a Barn Owl shriek in my neighborhood. And a rat rustled around at the sound of it. Hope the owl came back to get it :-).

Here are the links to the Flickr sets of photos that accompany this report:

http://flic.kr/s/aHsjFeQhNm - SR10, Umptanum Rd., Wenas Rd.

http://flic.kr/s/aHsjFcw2Ga - Prairie Falcon Nestlings - Canyon Rd.

By the way, both raptor nests and occupants, and possibly a parent or 2, would make good subjects for "Big Lens" photography, digiscopy and video, without doing any more than setting up in the pullouts... :-)

Barb Deihl

North Matthews Beach - NE Seattle

barbdeihl at comcast.net

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