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Black Rock Valley raptors-1 March

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  • Andy Stepniewski
    Yakkers, We canvassed the Black Rock Valley for raptors today. We drove it east from Yakima to SR-241, then returned to Yakima. On this roundtrip we saw: Bald
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2008
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      Yakkers,

      We canvassed the Black Rock Valley for raptors today. We drove it east from
      Yakima to SR-241, then returned to Yakima. On this roundtrip we saw:

      Bald Eagle - 1 immature
      Northern Harrier - 4
      Cooper's Hawk - 1
      Red-tailed Hawk - 7
      Rough-legged Hawk - 4 (1 dark morph)
      Golden Eagle - 1 adult
      American Kestrel - 2
      Merlin - 1
      Large falcon - 1, either Prairie or Gyr, it got away from us too quick,
      darn!

      We had hoped for Ferruginous Hawk. In the past when this species regularly
      nested hereabouts, they returned to the Black Rock Valley by early March. As
      we do not think Ferruginous Hawks nest in Yakima County anymore, perhaps we
      now only see overshoots taking advantage of the abundant squirrels available
      in early spring. I would love to be proven wrong on this and to learn we
      still have a few breeding pairs. Anybody have known recent (past couple
      years?) breeding sites?

      In the afternoon we went east again then returning via the Sunnyside
      highway.The last (at about 2-3 pm) was pretty birdless because the wind was
      howling. We saw no raptors on this final drive. We wondered where they hide?

      On our drive south to Sunnyside in late afternoon we stretched our legs by
      hiking, for a few hours, up through beautiful steppe vegetation on
      Rattlesnake Ridge to the east of the highway. The wind had abated some and
      we even saw some more raptors:

      Bald Eagle - 1 immature
      Red-tailed Hawk - 2
      Rough-legged Hawk - 1 (dark morph)


      Andy and Ellen Stepniewski
      Wapato WA
      steppie@...
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