[Tweeters] From Hiway 10 to Umptanum Rd - Fri. 4/8/16

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Mon Apr 11 22:50:38 PDT 2016

It was nice to read what others saw and heard last week (and today) in Kittitas Co. and compare the reports to my experiences. For most, a similar dearth of spring species, which I guess was to be expected, because many migrants have yet to arrive for their CWA shows. It IS, afterall, early spring, and earlier over on the east side of the Cascades, than here on the west side.
I particularly appreciated a couple of photos and reports I saw on the Western Washington Birders site (a public Facebook Group that is really turning out to be a fine sharing group, for a great variety of birders and photographers, in case you haven't yet checked it out...)
I was lucky to have gone over on another almost windless and sunny day, similar to my visit last week. My trip, however, was shorter and less bird-oriented than last week's. I would have been satisfied just to have gone for a drive, felt the sun and to have stopped for a loaf of cinnamon/raisin bread at the Cle Elum Bakery. Old Highway 10, at the MP 94 cliffs, I had my first good bird sighting(s) - a trio of Turkey Vultures playing on the backsides and then a bit in front of the cliffs, occasionally wandering across the road and along the Yakima River, and then being surrounded by some mosquitoes - no, those were small swallows (Violet-green, I believe - not Cliff Swallows, which often nest there, later). I was surprised to see that one of my photos shows a few swallows in the face of one of the vultures.
The Umptanum Rd. finale was intriguing and a smooth transition into my drive back to Seattle, during which I followed the sunset to its final moments. Before my departure, I followed bluebirds, one male kestrel, many Mourning Doves on wires, the calls of Western Meadowlarks, Vesper and Brewers Sparrows. Then I started noticing a larger, thrush-size bird that would flit from air to sagebrush to ground and back again. I was seeing more than one of them, but was unable to catch a decent shot of it with my camera - so, when Christy Jobe, a WWA Birder told her Ump Rd. tale and posted a nice pic she took of the Sage Thrasher on that FB site, I included it in my Flickr album (with credits, of course). Thanks, Christy ! Yes, that was a very nice find, for both of us and likely for others in the area in the next week or two or ...? Christy also saw a SATH (?) catch a ground beetle, a favorite food.
On my way back down Ump Rd, I saw Momma Great Horned on her nest, a beautiful redtail in a tree down in the farmland, and a clan of mule deer lounging in the grass in the shade of a group of skinny trees, near a farmhouse.

Flickr photos of the trip: https://flic.kr/s/aHsky7XQW4

Barb Deihl
Matthews Beach Neighborhood - NE Seattle
barbdeihl at comcast.net

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