Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches in the Yakima Canyon - Juanuary 1, 2002!
Between 3:15 and 4 pm this afternoon, Ellen and I observed at least one,
perhaps several flocks of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches in the Yakima Canyon. In
one flock, we counted about 20 birds. This is the third winter I've observed
this finch at this location. Park off SR-821 at the pullout just north of
Milepost 4 (4 miles north of I-82). Scan the highest cliffs across the
river. These birds are quitedistinctive in flight, even from afar, due to
their contrasty-hued wings, which flash silvery as they whirl about high in
the air. The finches probably roost in this cliff and begin arriving from
their daytime feeding (presumably snow-free south slopes of Umptanum or the
other high ridges ofthe "Yakima Fold Belt") areas at about 3 pm. You'll need
a scope. These birds move about quite a bit on the cliffs. We also noted 1
adult Bald Eagle, and calling Chukars.
Local sightings: Last weekend, a WDFW employee saw a gyrfalcon in the
upper reaches of Cottonwood Creek on the L.T. Murray Wildlife area, just
north of Selah. He described it accurately, and said that the bird sat on
a rocky point for a long time, allowing him to approach "within 50 feet".
I saw a goshawk on the Sunnyside wildlife area last Saturday. Bald eagles
all along the Yakima River today and yesterday, from here to Ellensburg.
Kauai: Mid December my wife and I spent 10 wonderful days on Kauai. I
recommend it to all. Warm breezes, blueblue ocean, coconut palms, fresh
fruit, didn't wear socks for 9 days, shorts, lots of tropical vegetation,
unreal and somewhat unbelievable. Very pleasant. Bird watching was fun,
with a bunch of odd species, and a few known thrown in for shock value.
Most of the lowland terrestrial birds are non-native, with a few native
water and sea birds. Here is my nearly complete bird list:
(* = native species)
*Laysan albatross - nesting on ground and quite tame
Japanese White eye - common
Myna - everywhere and loud
Zebra dove - tame and common
English sparrow - in town of course
Red-crested cardinal - striking
Cattle egret - they walk funny
Jungle fowl - (wild chickens) that stood all over lawns and the roads!
*Black crowned night heron
*Black necked (Hawaiian stilt)
*Frigate bird - Kilauea light house - great fliers
*Red footed booby - nesting on cliff trees
*Nene geese - Stately goose found only in National Wildlife Refuges and
doing ok on Kauai b/c there are no mongoose on this island. This also
explains the chickens.
*White tailed tropic bird - graceful cliff nesters, my favorite
Northern cardinal - just like back east
White rumped shama - from Indonesia, like a big towhee
*Brown booby - at sea
Mockingbird - just like in the deep south
Barn owl - brought in to control rats
Ring necked pheasant - brought in to hunt
*Koloa, Hawaiian duck - looked just like a hen mallard
*Pacific golden plover - winter resident, standing all over the place
Nutmeg mannikin - tiny bird, flying in swarms like bugs on sugar cane
peacock - (wild)
Chinese Melodius Laughing Thrush - my nominee for the best name
Rock dove (pigeons)
House finch - seen in the high rainforest
Java sparrow - cool facial markings
* Apapane - bright red native forest bird flying from treetop to treetop
* Anianiau - sickle billed native forest bird observed poking through the
bases of 14" pendant white flowers and sucking nectar.
About 20 new life list birds for me, and I didn't really try very hard.
> From: Andy Stepniewski <steppie@...>Juanuary 1, 2002!
> To: BirdYak@yahoogroups.com
> Subject: [BirdYak] Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches in the Yakima Canyon -
> Date: Tuesday, January 01, 2002 5:12 PMIn
> Between 3:15 and 4 pm this afternoon, Ellen and I observed at least one,
> perhaps several flocks of Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches in the Yakima Canyon.
> one flock, we counted about 20 birds. This is the third winter I'veobserved
> this finch at this location. Park off SR-821 at the pullout just north ofin
> Milepost 4 (4 miles north of I-82). Scan the highest cliffs across the
> river. These birds are quitedistinctive in flight, even from afar, due to
> their contrasty-hued wings, which flash silvery as they whirl about high
> the air. The finches probably roost in this cliff and begin arriving fromthe
> their daytime feeding (presumably snow-free south slopes of Umptanum or
> other high ridges ofthe "Yakima Fold Belt") areas at about 3 pm. You'llneed
> a scope. These birds move about quite a bit on the cliffs. We also noted1
> adult Bald Eagle, and calling Chukars.
> Andy Stepniewski
> Wapato WA
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