Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

New Years Eve in the Yakima Canyon

Expand Messages
  • Andy Stepniewski
    Yakkers, Ellen and I spent a very enjoyable hour at Maia s celebrating Charleys life through conversation and good food with many of his friends. Thanks Maia
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 31, 2000
      Yakkers,

      Ellen and I spent a very enjoyable hour at Maia's celebrating Charleys life
      through conversation and good food with many of his friends. Thanks Maia for
      hosting this event; our thoughts are with you at this time.

      Afterwards, we made a quick dash into the southern Yakima Canyon and spent
      from 3:30 to 4: 30 pm at the pullout at the base of the big cliffs across
      the Yakima River 0.25 mile south of the Kittitas County line. Common
      Mergansers were flying steadily south in parties of from about five to 25,
      perhaps 100 birds in all and all male birds. Questions: where have all these
      mergansers been feeding; where are the females and where are these birds
      going to spend the night?

      At about 4 pm we noticed four or five finch-sized birds flying restlessly
      about the northern part of the cliff face about 1,000' above us. Training
      our scopes on the basalt turrets across the river, I excitedly called out
      "Gray-crowned Rosy Finches." Although the light was only mediocre, I clearly
      saw their characteristic finch flight - undulating and very contrasty
      flight feathers (due to the transclucence of their primaries and secondaries
      contrasting with theirdark underwing coverts). I also watched one bird enter
      a small cleft high on the cliff, its roosting site? This was my first
      sighting of rosy finches in the Yakima Canyon in Yakima County; most or all
      prior sightings that I know of come from the roadsides a few miles north in
      Kittitas County.

      As we were about to leave, Ellen caught movement on the ledges across the
      river... Bighorn Sheep! There were several adult ewes, two pint-sized
      "yearlings," and three adult animals with pretty impressive curls to their
      horns. If males, aren't they supposed to keep apart from females and young?
      We shifted our scopes to these beautiful creatures, and watched them
      effortlessly make their way along grassy ledges fairly high on the lower
      half of the cliffs.

      Moments later, a Canyon Wren burst into song, again across the river; I
      thought this was midwinter, what's he doing singing?

      We left, fairly thrilled with our wonderful sightings, however brief, in the
      Yakima Canyon, truly an inspiring spot. And...how lucky the people of Yakima
      are to have this area only minutes from the city.

      Andy Stepniewski
      Wapato WA
      steppie@...
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.