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Horse Heaven Hills-January 2

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  • Andy Stepniewski
    Hi All, We took a short trip up into the Horse Heaven Hills south of Mabton, hoping to find John s Gyrfalcon. We didn t find the Gyr, but had a good time and
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2005
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      Hi All,

      We took a short trip up into the Horse Heaven Hills south of Mabton, hoping to find John's Gyrfalcon. We didn't find the Gyr, but had a good time and even saw some birds.

      We began by surveying the marshes along the Yakima River from the SR-241 bridge. There were a ton of sparrows here in the weeds below the highway plus a good number of other birds. From the highway we tallied:

      Great Blue Heron - 1
      Green-winged Teal - 2
      Mallard - 4
      Northern Shoveler - 2
      Gadwall - 1
      Red-tailed Hawk - 1
      American Kestrel - 1
      Merlin - 1, in Mabton
      American Coot - 1
      Rock Pigeon - 20
      Mourning Dove - 300, vineyard in Mabton
      Downy Woodpecker - 1
      Northern Flicker - 2
      Black-billed Magpie - 2
      American Robin - 10
      European Starling - 50
      Marsh Wren - 2
      Song Sparrow - 10
      Golden-crowned Sparrow - 2
      White-crowned Sparrow - 250
      House Finch - 10
      House Sparrow - 50

      The snowy Horse Heaven Hills were beautiful, mantled in a winter coat of snow. Fog was a problem for us in high spots. Bird diversity was low; larks accounted for the great bulk of the individual counts:

      Canada Goose - 20, flying south overhead
      Northern Harrier - 3
      Red-tailed Hawk- 10
      Rough-legged Hawk - 3, much lower than John's count a week ago
      American Kestrel - 10, seemed top be too much snow for this species
      Ring-necked Pheasant - 1, brushy draw
      Rock Dove - 10
      Horned Lark - 3,000, ~ 20% arctic or alpine forms
      Black-billed Magpie - 8
      Common Raven - 40, attracted to a sheep carcass by the roadside on the way up to the Alderdale junction
      Northern Shrike - 1
      LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE - 1, seemed out of place amidst so much snow. In brush beside Glade Creek
      Snow Bunting - 4, Bickleton Road just west of Naught Road, nice views!
      Western Meadowlark - 30

      Andy and Ellen Stepniewski
      Wapato WA
      steppie@...


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