[Tweeters] Red-eyed Vireos in Yakima County

Andy Stepniewski steppie at nwinfo.net
Fri Jun 19 07:28:58 PDT 2015


Yakkers and Tweeters,

Scott raises good points to my post. As I write this, there are only two sightings of this species this year in Yakima County in eBird. These are my sightings from Satus Creek and a report from Bethel Ridge Road (?) which would not appear to offer habitat for this species. I admit I have not been to the sites Scott mentions during June and July so I welcome his observations. I also agree with Scott that our area may be underbirded in June after the late-May period so it’s great to hear I am overlooking some good sites for Red-eyed Vireo in Yakima County.

So, here's a plea and challenge. All birders who encounter Red-eyed Vireos through the remainder of the breeding season in Yakima County, please submit your sightings to eBird or report these to Tweeters or BirdYak so we might gain a clearer picture of the current status of this species here.

Thanks!

Andy Stepniewski
Wapato WA
steppie at nwinfo.net

Begin forwarded message:


From: "Scott Downes" <downess at charter.net>
Date: June 18, 2015, 4:53:16 PM PDT
To: "Andy Stepniewski" <steppie at nwinfo.net>
Subject: Re: [BirdYak] Red-eyed Vireos along Satus Creek-18 June


Andy,
I would argue that Red-eyed Vireos are more than “on occasion” in other parts of Yakima County. In fact, I would argue that they are probably as common, Satus might be slightly more regular. I would argue that it is much of an artifact of observer coverage. Once these are reported each year, many observers just “chase” the sightings. Other places they are observed, many are NOT birded heavily in June and July when this species is more regular than in May: All of these are in cottonwood galleries.

Yakima River below Eric’s house
I’ve had them 2 out of 2 times I’ve hiked way back in Bear Creek Canyon in July (mile or two up the canyon where traverse is difficult). Few people travel up there.
Multiple years of reports from Oak Creek Canyon and Tieton Nature Trail, neither is covered well in June or July.
Most of the Yakima River is not well birded. They occur in places in Kittitas County along the Yakima River.

My two cents.

Scott

From: mailto:BirdYak-noreply at yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, June 18, 2015 1:47 PM
To: BirdYak at yahoogroups.com
Cc: TWEETERS
Subject: [BirdYak] Red-eyed Vireos along Satus Creek-18 June


RED-EYED VIREOS ALONG SATUS CREEK

18 JUNE 2015



I spent an hour this morning along Satus Creek by US-97, south of Toppenish, between Mileposts 36 and 43, targeting RED-EYED VIREOS. Why is this specific stretch of highway so important for this species, the only reliable area I know of for Red-eyed Vireo in Yakima County? From my past experience, I detect this vireo reliably only where White Alder (Alnus rhombifolia) is densest along the creek and within my earshot from a highway stop. Many sites that appear suitable have no safe pullouts so that is a big limiting factor in finding this bird. Pullouts where I heard RED-EYED VIREOS singing this morning were:



MP 37

MP 38.3

MP 40.4

MP 41



Why White Alder is so important to this species here would make a wonderful study. I sense the same close association between Red-eyed Vireos and White Alder in southeastern Washington in the Grande Ronde and Asotin areas.



As a caveat, Red-eyed Vireos can be found in Yakima County, on occasion, in mature Black Cottonwood-dominated riparian habitat. Their presence in this habitat seems only occasional hereabouts, though, in contrast to northwards in eastern Washington, especially in the state’s northeast corner.



Andy Stepniewski Wapato WA steppie at nwinfo.net


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