In the past two weeks, the year-to-date fledge total for bluebirds on the
Vredenburgh Bluebird Trail (N. Wenas/Umtanum Roads) has climbed
to 450. Despite the cool spring and slow start, 2008 will certainly rank
as one of the more successful years.
There were also 108 nestlings in the boxes; if the parents persevere
against the elements of nature, most could fledge in the next ten
I did stop at Wenas Lake, driving down the old resort road where just
a bit of mud is beginning to show. The lake remains high with water
right up to the willows that stretch from the concrete boat ramp to the
old resort road. Other than a handful of Killdeer, the only shorebirds
were a Spotted Sandpiper and a lone Long-billed Dowitcher in a small
pond created by the slowly* receding lake. *By slow, my hairline seems
to be receding faster.
Also at the lake were four Double-crested Cormorants and at least
two Eastern Kingbirds.
Hinting that 2008 may be one of the more successful breeding years
for valley birds were the multitude of birds that flushed from the road-
side and fields as I drove along. I didn't make a big effort to identify
most but did see Western Bluebirds, Vesper Sparrows and House
My biggest chuckle of the day came when I was exiting Hardy Canyon
at the western drive through gates. In the willows inside the inner
gate, a small covey caught my eye. Appeared larger than quail and
turned out to be Chukar...nine in all. They scampered in front of the
vehicle sticking to the road like an elementary school field trip under
strict adult supervision. At both gates, most of the birds elected to
fly over the widely spaced bars but immediately came down on the
far side. Great looks (orange-red bills with matching hose) as they
crossed the paved roadway and started hiking up the steep shrub
steppe slope. I reckon hunters could tell us for sure, but I suspect
these birds have mighty tough drumsticks. Flying up that hillside
surely would have been easier than legging it out..or is that just
my age showing?.
Birding the Blue,
R. A. Repp
Rich the Bluebird Snitch
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