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  • Kerry Turley
    Andy asked me to forward this to birdyak, he s still battleing internet gremlins. YAKIMA TRAINING CENTER 30 OCTOBER 2005 We enjoyed a brisk and breezy day on
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2005
      Andy asked me to forward this to birdyak, he's still battleing internet

      30 OCTOBER 2005

      We enjoyed a brisk and breezy day on the Yakima Training Center. We started
      late (for us)and spent the day along the Cold Creek Road. Small land birds
      were not numerous, but raptors were; we saw eight diurnal species and two
      owls. Our major miss were chickens, not a one! I think this is a first for
      me out here. Not even California Quail showed itself.

      Heading east on Cold Creek Road, I was saddened to see that yet another fire
      in prime grouse habitat (Range 10 and 10Z) this year. This large burn has
      diminished and fragmented habitat for the threatened Greater Sage-Grouse
      even more. This is the third year in a row that significant habitat
      destruction has occurred in habitat important for grouse due to fires along
      this valley on the installation.

      We walked about both Taylor and Greely Ponds, though not yielding much
      diversity birdwise, we did enjoy superb views of a number of harriers and a
      Golden Eagle. Then we headed east over the divide into upper Cold Creek and
      walked along the riparian-lined creek, which was pretty quiet, too. Our
      major excitement here was an intimate study of a Porcupine. I first noted
      this beast lumbering only a few feet from us. It retreated down a steep
      slope whereupon it began clambering ever so slowly up a hefty, leaning
      willow trunk, only a couple yards away!

      After clawing its way up the trunk, appearing to use only the tips of its
      nails, it must have sensed we were no longer any threat. Soon it buried its
      cute face into deep fissures in the bark and seemed to doze off. Ellen, who
      hadn't lugged her camera on this walk, rushed back to the car and returned
      to find the critter in the same spot, obliging, huh? She shot some pretty
      nice photos!

      A hike was in order, so we walked the steep road up to Hog Ranch Buttes from
      the bottom of the sage-mantled ravine (2 miles north of the Cold Creek Road)
      to the summit towers.. Raptors were everywhere! We really enjoyed this
      jaunt, our enthusiasm tempered only by the cold wind and later, by a solid
      band of dark clouds, evidently an approaching storm.

      Our last wildlife observation was in darkness both east and west of Taylor
      Pond. At bout 10 Black-tailed Jackrabbits bounded across the road or
      retreated into the sagebrush as we passed. Oddly, we saw none on the six or
      seven mile stretch of road east from the cantonment (built-up) area, a zone
      where they were numerous in 1997 and 1998.

      Birds noted:
      Green-winged Teal - 9, Taylor Pond
      Hooded Merganser - 1, Taylor Pond
      Northern Harrier - 10
      Sharp-shinned Hawk - 2
      Northern Goshawk - 1, atop a fencepost out in the sage
      Red-tailed Hawk - 7
      Rough-legged Hawk - 12
      Golden Eagle - 3
      American Kestrel - 2
      Prairie Falcon - 2
      Rock Pigeon - 1
      Great Horned Owl - 2
      Long-eared Owl - 1
      Northern Flicker - 1
      Horned Lark - 1, yep only one
      Black-billed Magpie - 15
      Common Raven - 15
      Marsh Wren - 1
      Golden-crowned Kinglet - 10
      Ruby-crowned Kinglet - 5
      Hermit Thrush - 3
      American Robin - 20
      Varied Thrush - 5
      Northern Shrike - 3
      Yellow-rumped Warbler - 1
      Song Sparrow - 2
      Golden-crowned Sparrow - 1
      White-crowned Sparrow - 20
      Dark-eyed Junco - 5
      House Finch - 10
      American Goldfinch - 15
      House Sparrow - 10

      Andy and Ellen Stepniewski
      Wapato WA

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