[Tweeters] Yakima County Migration Totals for May 14, 2016

Scott Downes downess at charter.net
Sat May 21 19:37:50 PDT 2016

Last Saturday, May 14th 20 birders in 10 teams scoured Yakima County to look at the diversity that this county offers. The weather was a mix of mostly cloudy conditions coupled with afternoon rain (some areas heavier and longer than others) and blustery winds in some routes. The total count was 189 species, right about on average for the last few years; 190 in 2015, 192 in 2014, 189 in 2013, 190 in 2012 but a few species short of the record 195 species recorded in 2011. Obviously with 189 species, diversity is high, but the diversity in some key categories are noteworthy: 11 species of woodpecker were recorded, only missing Acorn Woodpecker (not regulars in the county) for a complete sweep of Washington’s woodpeckers. All 11 species were recorded on the White Pass Route, signaling that this area has a truly impressive variety of woodpeckers. Nine species of owls were recorded and the count missed Short-eared Owl, which is often found on the count.

Additional highlights were a Clark’s Grebe found on the Columbia River, Bonaparte’s Gull found on two routes-Columbia River and Toppenish NWR and a Merlin in Oak Creek Wildlife Area.

Misses including a general lack of migrant shorebirds- only Long-billed Dowitcher was noted for non-breeding shorebirds. Wilson’s Phalarope is generally seen but was missed on that day. A couple of regular breeding raptors were missed, Prairie Falcon and Ferruginous Hawk. Northern Goshawk seems to be a hard species to get as it has been missed several times in the last five years. As noted above Shore-eared Owl was also missed. A couple of chickens were missed in Gray Partridge and Greater Sage-grouse and while some migrants seemed to be a tad early and had arrived in multiple routes such as Yellow-breasted Chat, a few other species may have been just a tad too early for such as Eastern Kingbird and Red-eyed Vireo.

A couple of other interesting notes are that the five most common species on the count were: Cliff Swallow-671, Bank Swallow-427, Red-winged Blackbird-388, European Starling-368 and Mallard 346. Eleven species were seen on all 10 routes; Mourning Dove, Western Kingbird, Barn Swallow, Black-billed Magpie, Common Raven, European Starling, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Brewer’s Blackbird and House Finch.

A huge thank you to everybody who participated in the count. While the count is used as a Birdathon fundraiser for Yakima Valley Audubon Society, it is open to all for participation. If you would like to join in on the fun for next year, drop me a note and I’ll be sure to contact you when we decide on a date for next year’s count.

Scott Downes
downess at charter.net
Yakima WA
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