"After the Common Grackle"

Andy Stepniewski steppie at nwinfo.net
Sun Mar 10 23:24:41 PST 2002

Yakkers and Tweeters,

Most birders coming to Yakima are having no trouble finding the Common
Grackle. It is reached by taking SR-24 east from I-82 (Exit 34). Cross the
Yakima River, make a right at the 1st light (Birchfield Road). Go south 1.1
mile to the beginning of an area of pasture and corrals. Check these first,
then the fields to the west.

What to do next? A profitable stop can be made at the Moxee Bog, a small
tract of wetland owned by The Nature Conservancy of Washington, managed
primarily for the a small, disjunct population of Silver-bordered
Fritillary. To get there, continue south on Birchfield Road about 1 mile to
a stop sign. Turn right and wind along Thorp Road another mile to the
overlook of the bog. Fields, marsh, and riparian vegetation are the habitats
here. In 30 minutes this morning, Ellen, Debie Brown and I were pleased with
the number and variety of birds in this area.

Great Blue Heron - 25+ nests noted in the still leafless cottonwoods to the
west along the Yakima River, many occupied
Canada Geese
Bald Eagle - 1
Northern Harrier - a pair present with the male performing his striking
courtship flight on two occasions. He was calling while flying with
exaggerated wingbeats, sumersaulting and even flying upside down, flashing
all those whites, blacks, and grays in his dress. The female flew around but
didn't seem to respond like one would expect (from the male point of
view).Pretty cool!
Red-tailed Hawk - 4
American Kestrel - 2
Merlin - 1, a male dashed by
Ring-necked Pheasant - 1
California Quail
Killdeer - 3
Common Snipe - calling but not winnowing yet
Tree Swallow - 2
Violet-green Swallow - 15
Marsh Wren - 2
Song Sparrow - 5
Golden-crowned Sparrow - 1
White-crowned Sparrow - 5
Dark-eyed Junco - 5
Red-winged Blackbird - 25
American Goldfinch - 5

Oh, also, Debie pointed out a big black cow in the midst of giving birth.
Not having been raised on a farm with animals, this was a new experience for
me. Pretty amazing...

Andy Stepniewski
Wapato WA
steppie at nwinfo.net

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