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No ducks at Toppenish!

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  • Andy Stepniewski
    Yakkers, I completed a bird survey at Toppenish NWR, all in the headquarters unit1. I spent 5 minutes at each of the 18 point count stops. The big news was
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 28, 2013
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      Yakkers,

      I completed a bird survey at Toppenish NWR, all in the headquarters unit1. I
      spent 5 minutes at each of the 18 point count stops. The big news was there
      was nary a duck to be seen! What a difference from the springtime bonanza of
      waterfowl we see each spring. In talking with refuge manager Rich Albers, it
      seems the refuge is at the "end of the line" in terms of water availability.
      As the flow of Toppenish Creek diminishes in late spring, over-allocation of
      the creeks's water in recent years to farmers means there has not been much
      (or any) water for refuge wetlands until fall arrives. I find this a little
      strange each time I come across agricultural fields near Toppenish where
      old-fashioned flood irrigation is still practised. This method of irrigation
      wastes water on an enormous scale.

      Anyways, despite the lack of water I did see 68 pelicans soaring lazily over
      the refuge skies. These birds are finding water and food someplace nearby. A
      couple bitterns, too, suggests wetland-dependent birds are able to scratch
      out an existence.


      California Quail X
      Ring-necked Pheasant X
      Double-crested Cormorant 1
      American White Pelican 68 At one time in the air!
      American Bittern 2
      Great Blue Heron 1
      Northern Harrier 2
      Red-tailed Hawk 2
      Killdeer 7
      Black-necked Stilt 3
      Spotted Sandpiper 3
      Wilson's Snipe 2
      Rock Pigeon 15
      Mourning Dove 20
      Downy Woodpecker 1
      Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) 1
      Western Wood-Pewee 2
      Willow Flycatcher 20
      Western Kingbird 3
      Eastern Kingbird 10
      Black-billed Magpie 4
      American Crow 1
      Common Raven 5
      Tree Swallow 1
      Barn Swallow 3
      Cliff Swallow 25
      House Wren 1
      Marsh Wren 6
      American Robin 10
      Gray Catbird 2
      European Starling 4
      Common Yellowthroat 10
      Yellow Warbler 5
      Yellow-breasted Chat 1
      Savannah Sparrow 4
      Song Sparrow 15
      Black-headed Grosbeak 6
      Red-winged Blackbird 40
      Yellow-headed Blackbird 5
      Brewer's Blackbird 10
      Brown-headed Cowbird 8
      American Goldfinch 5


      Andy Stepniewski
      Wapato WA
      steppie@...
    • Michael Roper
      Hi Andy I ve never paid much attention to flycatchers but this year I m trying to see if I can list 200 species. You list 20 Willow Flycatchers so I suppose
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 28, 2013
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        Hi Andy
        I've never paid much attention to flycatchers but this year I'm trying to see if I can list 200 species.

        You list 20 Willow Flycatchers so I suppose finding them in the refuge is pretty doable.
        1.) I suppose the best way to identify them is by call?
        2.) Am I correct in assuming the best place to find them is in willows along the waters edge?
        Thanks,
        Mike Roper

        On Jun 28, 2013, at 10:29 AM, "Andy Stepniewski" <steppie@...> wrote:

        >
        >
        > Yakkers,
        >
        > I completed a bird survey at Toppenish NWR, all in the headquarters unit1. I
        > spent 5 minutes at each of the 18 point count stops. The big news was there
        > was nary a duck to be seen! What a difference from the springtime bonanza of
        > waterfowl we see each spring. In talking with refuge manager Rich Albers, it
        > seems the refuge is at the "end of the line" in terms of water availability.
        > As the flow of Toppenish Creek diminishes in late spring, over-allocation of
        > the creeks's water in recent years to farmers means there has not been much
        > (or any) water for refuge wetlands until fall arrives. I find this a little
        > strange each time I come across agricultural fields near Toppenish where
        > old-fashioned flood irrigation is still practised. This method of irrigation
        > wastes water on an enormous scale.
        >
        > Anyways, despite the lack of water I did see 68 pelicans soaring lazily over
        > the refuge skies. These birds are finding water and food someplace nearby. A
        > couple bitterns, too, suggests wetland-dependent birds are able to scratch
        > out an existence.
        >
        > California Quail X
        > Ring-necked Pheasant X
        > Double-crested Cormorant 1
        > American White Pelican 68 At one time in the air!
        > American Bittern 2
        > Great Blue Heron 1
        > Northern Harrier 2
        > Red-tailed Hawk 2
        > Killdeer 7
        > Black-necked Stilt 3
        > Spotted Sandpiper 3
        > Wilson's Snipe 2
        > Rock Pigeon 15
        > Mourning Dove 20
        > Downy Woodpecker 1
        > Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) 1
        > Western Wood-Pewee 2
        > Willow Flycatcher 20
        > Western Kingbird 3
        > Eastern Kingbird 10
        > Black-billed Magpie 4
        > American Crow 1
        > Common Raven 5
        > Tree Swallow 1
        > Barn Swallow 3
        > Cliff Swallow 25
        > House Wren 1
        > Marsh Wren 6
        > American Robin 10
        > Gray Catbird 2
        > European Starling 4
        > Common Yellowthroat 10
        > Yellow Warbler 5
        > Yellow-breasted Chat 1
        > Savannah Sparrow 4
        > Song Sparrow 15
        > Black-headed Grosbeak 6
        > Red-winged Blackbird 40
        > Yellow-headed Blackbird 5
        > Brewer's Blackbird 10
        > Brown-headed Cowbird 8
        > American Goldfinch 5
        >
        > Andy Stepniewski
        > Wapato WA
        > steppie@...
        >
        >


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