Pelican roost in the Yakima River
This evening at about 8:45 pm, I arrived at the crest of the Rattlesnake Hills behind our home in Parker Heights. With my binos I scanned up and down the Yakima River over the tops of the Black Cottonwood gallery forest far below, not really expecting to see anything. At an opening in the trees, about a half-mile below the Sunnyside Dam, I spied on a tight cluster of American White Pelicans completely covering a tiny island in midriver. They were so tightly packed they appeared a white blob from my vantage. Even closely scrutinizing them, I still couldn't fathom how many pelicans there were in this group. I'd say 30, if I had to guess. After the sun set, the blob took on surprising clarity and became very obvious, even to the naked eye.
This location of this roost surprised me. Up to now, I'd supposed the pelicans fishing by day along the Yakima River below the Sunnyside Dam flew off to the Satus Wildlife Area or Toppenish NWR for the night. It gave me pleasure to think there's a secure spot for these great birds to roost right in view from our "backyard." Well, almost our backyard; it's only a 700 foot uphill hike to a grand viewpoint of their hideaway.
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