[Tweeters] Some Yakima County birding

Somer, Lonnie lsomer at highline.edu
Sun Apr 19 12:44:36 PDT 2015


Hi Tweeters,


Yesterday (Saturday), Dave and Sherry Hayden and I birded a number of sites in Yakima County. Here's what we found:


Hwy 12 pull-out by cliffs around MP 182.5 (or so): 100+ WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS (I love the way a large number of them sound; kind of like a roomful of deranged imps), 3 LEWIS'S WOODPECKERS, 1 NORTHERN FLICKER, 1 GOLDEN EAGLE, 1 BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE, 1 SONG SPARROW, 3 ROCK PIGEONS, 1 E. STARLING, 20 OR SO VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS


Oak Creek Visitor Center (mostly for the bathrooms, but there were still some birds about): 30+ BREWER'S BLACKBIRDS, 2 STELLER'S JAYS, 2 A. ROBINS, 3 HOUSE FINCHES, 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS, 1 PINE SISKIN, 40+ E. STARLINGS, 2 W. KINGBIRDS (we saw a few more throughout the day), 3 RED-TAILED HAWKS, 1 TURKEY VULTURE, 1 COMMON RAVEN


Oak Creek Bighorn Sheep Viewing Area: We counted over 30 bighorn sheep on Cleman Mountain, including 1 herd that had 22 ewes and 1 ram. The coolest thing was another small group in which a ewe was being followed by a kid that couldn't have been more than a day or two old. It was trying to keep up with her, but kept getting tripped up by the rocky terrain. Very cute. The bird species consisted of 1 SAY'S PHOEBE, 1 WESTERN MEADOWLARK, 1 PRAIRIE FALCON, 3 TURKEY VULTURES, 1 HOUSE FINCH, 1 COMMON RAVEN, and a distantly calling CALIFORNIA QUAIL


S. Wenas Rd: 2 SWAINSON'S HAWKS, 1 of which was a beautiful dark morph that was perched on a telephone pole; 1 MOURNING DOVE


N. Wenas Rd: 1 EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, 1 SWAINSON'S HAWK, 1 A. KESTREL


SHEEP COUNTRY RD & L.T. MURRAY WILDLIFE AREA: We were told by a local policeman (who was very friendly and helpful) that there is normally shooting allowed here, but a volunteer crew was cleaning up trash in the area, so shooting was suspended, so a lucky break for us. We tried for Burrowing Owls, but no luck. We drove and walked for a few miles up this road, which was a new area for us. The most common species was HORNED LARK (we saw 30+ and there were undoubtedly many more). We also spotted 1 SWAINSON'S HAWK, 1 NORTHERN HARRIER, 1 PRAIRIE FALCON, 2 CALIFORNIA QUAILS, 2 W. MEADOWLARKS, 3 A. KESTRELS, 10 WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, plus a very small species of ground squirrel, maybe Townsend's? If anyone knows for certain, can you let me know?


Cowiche Canyon: We only hiked up to about Bridge 6. We were mostly looking for Lucia's Blue (a fairly newly described species of butterfly), and it was too early in the season for some of the species that we would have seen a few weeks later. We did spot 1 W. KINGBIRD, 3 BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, (heard) CALIFORNIA QUAIL, 5 A. ROBIN, LOTS OF VIOLET GREEN & CLIFF SWALLOWS, LOTS OF E. STARLINGS, 3 HOUSE FINCHES, 4 EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVES, 5 TURKEY VULTURES, 1 DUSKY FLYCATCHER (seems a bit early but we had a very good look at it in excellent lighting), 1 HERMIT THRUSH, 3 BEWICK'S WRENS, 1 ROCK WREN, 2 DARK-EYED JUNCOS, 10 RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS (probably more, very common), 3 BLACK-BILLED MAGPIES, 6 GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS, 2 SONG SPARROW, 6 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS (AUDUBON'S), 2 MALLARDS, 2 C. RAVENS, 3 RED-TAILED HAWKS, 1 DOWNY WOODPECKER, 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS. We did spot several Lucia's Blues in the red-osier dogwood, plus Checkered Skipper, at least 2 species of Whites, Mourning Cloaks, and Ocher Ringlet.


Snow Mountain Ranch (just the short Garry Oak Trail): 2 WESTERN SCRUB-JAYS, 8 WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, 1 E. STARLING, 1 A. KESTREL, 15 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS (AUDUBON'S), 21 RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, 2 N. FLICKERS, 2 RED-TAILED HAWKS, 1 TURKEY VULTURE, 2 A. GOLDFINSHES


House Creek campground (very brief stop): 1 RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD


Bethel Ridge Rd, FR 1304: 1 very, very vocal NORTHERN PYGMY OWL (sat in the open tooting the whole time), 1 SOOTY GROUSE (heard drumming call), 2 WILLIAMSON'S SAPSUCKERS (a pair), 1 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH, 2 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, 2 N. FLICKERS, 3 VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS, 15 MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES, 2 STELLER'S JAYS, 5 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, 1 TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE. Also seen were Pine Elfin and Satyr Anglewing butterflies. Several elk were out and about as well.


Bethel Ridge Rd, 1st aspen grove near the meadow: 1 RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER, 1 HAIRY WOODPECKER, 1 SOOTY GROUSE (heard only), 2 TURKEY VULTURES. On the drive out we found a small flock of 5 CASSIN'S FINCHES.


Good birding,


Lonnie Somer

Seattle

mombiwheeler at gmail.com





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