[Tweeters] Wahluke Slope & Jerusalem Crickets

Marcus Roening marcus at rainierconnect.com
Sun May 24 20:40:06 PDT 2015




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> Hi Tweets,

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> Heather and I explored the Wahluke Slope today, just north of the white bluffs on the Columbia River. Our goal was to find some singing Sagebrush Sparrows, which we found in abundance in the big sage on the lower flanks of Saddle Mountain. But the real reward was sitting on the top of Saddle Mountain looking both north and south - over the Columbia River, as far as the eye can see.

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> We arrived around 10:30am and watched Red-tailed Hawks and a FERRUGINOUS HAWK fly past us on the up drafts. We rounded out our list while enjoying lunch on the point with White-throated Swift, Rock Wrens and Chukars calling from below.

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> But the real highlight of the day was non-avian - Jerusalem Crickets. A extra big red-headed, flightless, not really a cricket creature. Reading up on the natural history tonight, it appears that there was a huge hatch in the area. I counted 130 CA & Ring-billed Gulls in one small area chomping down the crickets. When we drove down the access road to the Wahluke Boat launch, the road was a moving mass of their brown striped bodies. It was quite a natural history spectacle. I could imagine a Burrowing Owl parent feeding a whole lot of babies with them. The boat launch had a small group of Am. White Pelicans, Forster's & Caspian Terns, plus some Great Egrets to round out the white bird contingent.

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> Good Birding,

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> Marcus Roening

> Tacoma




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