Made the rounds of the nest boxes along the paved portion of North Wenas Road
and in Hardy Canyon this morning. To date, 71 Western Bluebirds have fledged
from the 38 boxes along the pavement and another 55 from the 25 boxes in
Hardy Canyon. House Sparrows and House Wrens have wreaked havoc at 8 of the
nest boxes on N. Wenas Rd. Unless the bluebirds rally with second nest
efforts, this year will fall far short of last year's fledged total.
The best bluebird news I've heard came from Mary and Gus Pooler. They
maintain 18 boxes on Durr Road...it intersects the Vredenburg Bluebird Trail
where the pavement begins at the Ellensburg (north) end of the trail. As of
June 22, 50 Mountain Bluebirds had fledged from these boxes. At one box,
they discovered a nest had been destroyed and nestlings missing. On a
subsequent visit to the same box, they observed a weasel surveying the
terrain from inside the box with his head sticking out the entrance hole. My
only experience with weasels has been defending myself from accusations that
I was trying to "weasel" out of a commitment (tight spot) of one kind or
another. I'm surprised that they are able to fit through such a small hole.
I need to hone my techniques to be considered worthy of such comparisons in
At the bridge of the drive in entrance to Hardy Canyon, I found a Yellow
Warbler and two possible Gray Catbirds. One of the Catbirds was eating
berries from a bush on the east side of the bridge. On the way out, I
observed Robins in the same area. Although I only had a quick look at the
possible Catbirds, I was confident I wouldn't mistake Robins for Catbirds.
Or would I? Go ahead...I couldn't contain my laughter either.
At the Ponderosa Pine, a short search failed to turn up the Blue-gray
Gnatcatcher but a Tweeter's post indicates he was there yesterday. I did
find several Eastern Kingbirds, Cedar Waxwings and loads of Vesper Sparrows.
Down by the bridge at the walk in entrance, I had a backlit view of a Lazuli
Bunting. Later towards the end of the pavement on N. Wenas Rd., I had
another Lazuli in perfect lighting. In the aspen, I scoped a flycatcher
sitting briefly on a nest...three small heads thrust up sending the parent
scurrying for snacks. There were numerous flycatchers popping up throughout
the day. Both kinds. The light ones and the dark ones.
At the far end of the boxes on N. Wenas Road, I noticed either a female or
young Brewer's Blackbird on the telephone wire above a nest box. As I
approached, it was joined by two more Brewer's who were "cacking" anxiously.
Within a few seconds, there were 30 blackbirds on the wire bombarding me with
their harsh chorus. Talk about an effective neighborhood watch system!