[Tweeters] Escape to "Eastern"

David Hutchinson florafaunabooks at hotmail.com
Tue May 4 09:44:40 PDT 2021

After 18 months of being pinned down, pulling weeds in Discovery Park,
Kris Baker and I decided to escape over the mountains for the May Day weekend.
It was refreshing, after the negative political press
to find every body in offices and businesses firmly wearing masks
and being most friendly. The bad news was that the Umtanum
Ridge road was devasted by fire. All the way to Umtanum Falls was
much blackened or just plain not there. Only the Quaking Aspen were
regenerating from the roots. And several pretty lithosol plants were blooming.
Only Mountain Bluebirds , not Western were present and many other species had
not yet arrived.
The Potholes area also had some fire damage and quite a few important
bird species were not back yet. No phalaropes seemingly, but the Avocets and
Black-necked Stilts were in several watery locations. Heading up Hwy 17, between
Moses Lake and Soap Lake there was still a Burrowing Owl to be found, perched
on a white-washed rock.
The highlight of the trip, was using our navigation device & getting lost in the rocky
prairies north of HWY 2. It was thrilling to see Sage Thrasher breeding display,
they perched on rocks and rapidly vibrating their wing tips. Eventually we staggered
out of the back country to find the lodge at Jameson Lake burned down. But as we
had hoped, many red-colored duck species were there, with male Ruddy Ducks a
fiery red.
With a lovely, tranquil exit through Moses Coulee and only a bried assault by ticks,
we headed back to the park and our weeding and watering. Oh and the apples
in Ellensburg were great.
David Hutchinson, 206-499 7305
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