[Tweeters] Eurasian Green-winged Teal
vikingcove at gmail.com
Tue Jan 16 11:46:22 PST 2018
Friday I found what looks to me like a Eurasian Green-winged Teal, the
first I've ever seen. It was pretty exciting, but I couldn't share the find
immediately, because I found it near a place where two prominent local bird
listers have told me they trespass. I tried Friday, and over the holiday
weekend, but this morning was finally able to reach the Grant County PUD
head of security to alert him that birders with scopes and binoculars and
such might be around, and that some might try to stop and bird on the dam.
He was very polite and helpful. He made it clear that doing so continues to
be prohibited. It is National Critical Infrastructure. Across the dam on
the Yakima County side is the Wanapum Village, Simon Martinez Cattle
Company private land, and Yakima Training Center military site. Visiting
without express prior permission continues to be prohibited. Security at
Priest Rapids Dam, and the security camera monitor crew have been alerted.
There are plenty of good reasons to not trespass including simple decency,
avoiding scaring or angering residents and property owners, avoiding
hindering heavy construction and endangering the workers, respecting Yakama
Nation sovereignty, and being able to "count" the birds you "get" if you're
a lister. From ABA Listing Central -- Code of Birding Ethics
http://listing.aba.org/ethics/ : "Do not enter private property without the
owner’s explicit permission. Follow all laws, rules, and regulations
governing use of roads and public areas, both at home and abroad."
Another good reason is bird watcher access -- for the rest of us. I was
working on getting birders access permission to viewing from the dam
embankement a couple of years ago. I stupidly told a local prominent lister
that birders are not allowed to stop on the dam and are not allowed to go
into the Wanapum Village without consent of local residents, and that
similarly the Simon Martinez Cattle Company land is private and requires
permission from the landowner. Despite reiterating that to him and getting
him to acknowledge it, he proceded to bird on the dam and got kicked off --
politely. The person at Grant PUD with whom I was working on birder access
ended the discussion. I'm not a birding expert, but I don't think that
listing a Common Tern flitting back and forth across the Yakima / Grant
County line, or any other sighting, was worth that. Birding ethics are not
defined by what you can get away with.
I once again am working on getting birders access to a viewing location on
the dam. It's a dream of mine that I'd value greater than any rare bird
find. Please, please, do not muck that up.
If you witness any trespassing or security concerns near Priest Rapids Dam
or Wanapum Dam, they ask you call (509) 766-2538 any day at any hour. In
the ABA Code of Birding Ethics: "If you witness unethical birding behavior,
assess the situation and intervene if you think it prudent. When
interceding, inform the person(s) of the inappropriate action and attempt,
within reason, to have it stopped. If the behavior continues, document it
and notify appropriate individuals or organizations."
My wife Mary Giovanini, Nori dog, and I returned Saturday and relocated the
Eurasian Green-winged Teal. This time there were pintails and Mallards, but
no American GWTE with it as there'd been on Friday. It was tucked close to
shore on the Yakima/Benton side of the Columbia River below Priest Rapids
Dam dam. I saw it from the Jackson Creek Fish Camp, at the junction of
Grant, Yakima, and Benton Counties, clearly venturing well into each. For
county listers, if you look across from the day use area, at mid-river
you're looking into Benton County. Looking across and upstream a bit to the
rocks jutting into the river, Yakima County is to the right, and Benton
County is to the left. The Yakima/Benton county line goes from shore there,
north upstream at an angle to mid river, where it meets Grant county. The
Yakima/Grant line continues mid-river up to the dam. The Priest Rapids Dam
spillways are in Yakima. The generators are in Grant. Google Earth shows
county lines quite well.
I apologize for not being able to share the find sooner. I hope you can
understand and respect my concerns.
I wish I could share this post on BirdYak, a Yakima County bird-related
list-serve, but am blocked by Denny Granstrand. Just the same, I'll keep up
my efforts to discourage unethical birding. Please don't share a censored
or edited version of this on BirdYak.
I'll post digiscoped photos and maybe a rough digiscoped video on my
photostream on Flickr:
Red-breasted Mergansers, both Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, and plenty of others
were there to see too.
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