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Sooty/Dusky(?) Grouse in the Wenas-23 March

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  • Andy Stepniewski
    BLACK CANYON IN THE WENAS 23 MARCH 2013 Ellen and I hiked up into Black Canyon, accessed opposite Hardy Canyon, in the lower Wenas region. We started from the
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 23, 2013
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      BLACK CANYON IN THE WENAS
      23 MARCH 2013

      Ellen and I hiked up into Black Canyon, accessed opposite Hardy Canyon, in
      the lower Wenas region. We started from the trailhead at mouth of canyon to
      and trekked up to the ridgetop on south side of canyon at 4,300 feet
      elevation. The day started out cloudy and cold, but the skies cleared by
      late morning, making for it a beautiful early spring day. A few wildflowers
      dappled the lithosols, mostly Canby's Biscuitroot, but also some patches of
      Sagebrush Buttercup, and a handful of Yellowbells.

      Birds were pretty sparse. Our most interesting observation was hearing a
      call note, from the shrub-steppe, exactly like that of a Dusky Grouse. GPS
      46.52.158 120.41.163. We heard this grouse utter a a single hoot, at an
      interval of perhaps 5 seconds, seeming, to both of us, slightly higher
      pitched than the Sooty Grouse calling at the same time, from nearby slopes.
      The habitat at this site was 90%+ cover of shrub-steppe of Big and Threetip
      Sagebrush and scattered Ponderosa Pine. Dusky Grouse are not known to occur
      this far south on the Cascade east slopes but some observers speculate
      grouse in this area of Umtanum and Manashtash Ridges exhibit traits
      intermediate between Sooty and Dusky Grouse. Regardless, if I had heard this
      call in Okanogan County, there would be no question in my mind it was a
      Dusky.

      Species list:

      Gray Partridge 2 Dense sagebrush and grassland (Bluebunch Wheatgrass
      and Idaho Fescue) at 3,800 feet elevation on north-facing slopes south of
      upper basin.
      Sooty Grouse 5
      Northern Harrier 1
      Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
      Red-tailed Hawk 1
      Northern Flicker 4
      Say's Phoebe 1
      Steller's Jay 2
      Black-billed Magpie 1
      Common Raven 3
      Horned Lark 1
      Black-capped Chickadee 6
      Mountain Chickadee 2
      Pacific Wren 1
      Mountain Bluebird 2
      American Robin 3
      Spotted Towhee 6
      Song Sparrow 2
      Dark-eyed Junco 20


      Andy and Ellen Stepniewski
      Wapato WA
      steppie@...
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