[Tweeters] Snowy Owls south of Kennewick, WA

Carol & Lynn Schulz carol.schulz50 at gmail.com
Thu Jan 16 18:15:03 PST 2014

Hi Tweets:
My sister who lives in Kennewick saw 2 Snowy Owls today, Jan 16, south of Kennewick, up in the Horse Heaven Hills. The site is near S Nine Canyon Rd, zip code 99337.
Take I-82 to Exit 114 south of Kennewick. Turn east onto hwy 397. It is a new highway and it goes to Finley, WA. Drive east 7 miles. Just past milepost 7, turn right onto Nine Canyon Rd, a paved county road. Drive south 3.7 miles. You will climb up to approx 2000 ft elevation. (Kennewick on the Columbia River is about 300 ft elev.) Near the crest of the fallow wheat farmlands the road starts turning right. There are signs.
Turn left onto Mills Rd, a gravel rd. There is a big red stop sign there, visible when you leave. Stop there and look around. Remain in the car. Snowy owls are shy. Use your car as a blind. Do not approach closer than 200-300 ft. Drive slowly on Mills Rd approx 0.1 mile to where it makes a sharp right. There are markers there, including a survey marker for the Dept of Natl. Resources. Marilyn has seen Snowy Owls (SNOWs) up there a number of times. The other day, after seeing a juv SNOW in a field near that spot, she saw an adult owl perched on the survey marker. She remained in the car. She drives as far as some grasslands, and then does a U-turn and drives slowly back.
She has usually seen SNOW's on the horizon of the barren wheatfields, not necessarily the grasslands. Scan the horizon for anything that looks white... "Somethimes you'll just see a small dome-shape that moves its head." She looks out of the car window using her bins, but suggests using a spotting scope on a window pod would be a good idea too.
Marilyn says the new updated DeLorme Atlas, which says 2013 on the bottom of title pg 1, is necessary for Benton County. It's the only one that shows the new hwy 397 that goes over to Finley from I-82. The 2010 edition doesn't show it. Today here in Des Moines, I was able to find all the areas using Bing Maps, S Nine Canyon Rd (not Nine MILE Canyon Rd), 99337.
Marilyn has seen SNOW's up there in Jan, 2013, Dec, 2013, and now in Jan, 2014. She says going back downhill on Nine Canyon Rd is quite scenic.
Yours, Carol Schulz
Des Moines

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