[Tweeters] re: Priest Rapids Dam (was Eurasian Green-winged Teal)

Scott Downes downess at charter.net
Tue Jan 16 17:20:35 PST 2018

Kevin Lucas’s post was mostly accurate regarding access issues, but deserves some clarification on a couple of issues. The first is that I’m outing myself as the bad birder who apparently messed everything up. That’s not quite accurate, but it is accurate that I did stop on the dam. I had a nice chat with the security guard about 4 years ago and he politely asked me to move on because there isn’t any stopping on dams, we all know this, it isn’t particular to Priest Rapids. So, why did I do it if we all know it?? Some background, I had been given some advice that is was ok to travel across Priest Rapids Dam and park in the parking area on the west end of the dam and view the birds in the western forebay there. That particular winter there was a discussion going around of a loon that I first observed in Kittitas County and later in the winter moved down to Priest Rapids Dam that potentially could have been an Arctic Loon. So upon the knowledge from my fellow locals, that it was ok to stop in the west end parking area and scope, I did that to try and obtain photos of this loon for ID discussion. When I was scoping, I saw the loon was actually very close to the dam at mid-channel and drove to the loon, stopped for a few minutes and took notes and pictures (that determined it wasn’t a ARLO by the way). The guard came out, we talked and he reminded me that it wasn’t ok to stop on the dam and I’ll need to move along. He also reminded me that the birders he had seen parked on the western parking lot were also within the dam no stopping area and that is not allowed. So, the further clarification to Kevin’s post is there is no public access (unless you take a boat on the water) for any part of the dam, including the western parking area. As Kevin mentioned, there is some limited viewing below the dam from Jackson’s fish camp and of course on calm days you can kayak or canoe from Desert Aire marina in Grant Co. Given that when the guard and I left we were saying pleasantries and wished each other a good day, I’d be hard pressed to believe that encounter alone “messed up long efforts”. Facts are always better that veiled assumptions.

Great find of an unusual bird.

Scott Downes
downess at charter.net
Yakima WA
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