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9624Priest Rapids by canoe-13 October

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  • Andy Stepniewski
    Oct 18, 2013

      13 OCTOBER 2013

      Before Kevin and Mary arrived for a Priest Rapids Lake canoe expedition we
      scoped Goose Island from Orchard Lane in Desert Aire. Our most interesting
      sighting was a flock of 25 CACKLING GEESE, most with distinct white neck
      collars. Rafts of other waterfowl and coots around Goose Island reveal the
      numbers of winter birds are increasing.

      At the wildlife area at west end of Road 26 while we were putting in our
      canoes, two PRAIRIE FALCONS strafed the mudflats on this arm of Priest
      Rapids Lake. There was lots of dickey bird activity in the willows and
      Russian Olives here: flickers, robins, starlings, and sparrows.

      Cackling Goose 25
      Canada Goose 60
      American Wigeon 20
      Mallard 50
      Northern Pintail 1
      Redhead 3
      Greater/Lesser Scaup 500
      California Quail 5
      Common Loon 2
      Horned Grebe 5
      Western Grebe 3
      Double-crested Cormorant 1
      American White Pelican 2
      Great Blue Heron 1
      American Coot 3000
      Killdeer 3
      Ring-billed Gull 5
      California Gull 10
      Herring Gull 2
      Rock Pigeon 5
      Eurasian Collared-Dove 3
      Belted Kingfisher 2
      Northern Flicker 5
      American Kestrel 1
      Prairie Falcon 2
      Black-billed Magpie 3
      American Crow 2
      Common Raven 2
      American Robin 20
      European Starling 20
      American Pipit 5
      Cedar Waxwing 8
      Yellow-rumped Warbler 3
      Spotted Towhee 2
      Fox Sparrow 3
      Song Sparrow 5
      White-crowned Sparrow 20
      Golden-crowned Sparrow 1
      Dark-eyed Junco 2
      House Finch 10
      American Goldfinch 1
      House Sparrow 15

      It was a gorgeous day to canoe on Priest Rapids Lake, a bit cool at the
      start but very pleasant and warm by midday with only the slightest breeze.
      First we paddled west, heading straight to Yakima County where we spent from
      10 AM - 6:00 PM in "our" county. Then we paddled north to the Kittitas
      County line. Just south of Borden Springs on the basalt cliffs that tower
      above the lake, a swarm of ravens caught our attention. Among the ravens, we
      viewed several GOLDEN EAGLES one a ringtail immature, the other more or less
      an adult. A Red-tailed Hawk soared, then a Sharp-shinned Hawk flapped by
      southbound. All these ravens and raptors suggest a major source of food,
      perhaps a carcass from a deer or elk hunter.

      On the lake, we took time to count Horned Grebes, certainly a conspicuous
      and common bird all day long. Our final tally was 180 and both Kevin and I
      agreed this was a conservative count.

      We lost direct sunlight as we reached a big flock of ducks just north of the
      dam. It appeared to be mostly scaup. It was getting dark as we reached our
      take out on the Grant County shore.

      Canada Goose 20
      Gadwall 2
      Eurasian Wigeon 1
      American Wigeon 300
      Mallard 100
      Green-winged Teal 20
      Redhead 3
      Greater Scaup 2
      Greater/Lesser Scaup 1000
      Common Merganser 1
      Ruddy Duck 5
      Pacific Loon 1
      Common Loon 20
      Pied-billed Grebe 2
      Horned Grebe 180
      Red-necked Grebe 6
      Western Grebe 30
      Double-crested Cormorant 3
      American White Pelican 4
      Great Blue Heron 3
      Great Egret 1
      Golden Eagle 2
      Northern Harrier 3
      Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
      Red-tailed Hawk 2
      Virginia Rail 1
      American Coot 1000
      Killdeer 1
      Ring-billed Gull 3
      California Gull 25
      Herring Gull 2
      Belted Kingfisher 2
      Northern Flicker 6
      American Kestrel 4
      Black-billed Magpie 3
      Common Raven 35
      Rock Wren 15
      Canyon Wren 4
      Marsh Wren 1
      Golden-crowned Kinglet 6
      Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3
      American Pipit 1
      Yellow-rumped Warbler 3
      Song Sparrow 3
      Lincoln's Sparrow 1
      White-crowned Sparrow 15
      Dark-eyed Junco 2
      House Finch 3
      American Goldfinch 1

      Andy Stepniewski

      Wapato WA