25 May 2009

Wenas, Part 1 of ?

On my way to the Wenas Campout for People Who Hate ORVs, near the top of Umptanum Ridge is a set of abandoned buildings, recently used as (1) target practice, (2) a party place for the under-aged crowd, and (3) much less socially-sanctioned activities.

As I approached, I noticed a decent-sized bird perched on a snag just above the roof of the main house. Took a few photos for later IDing, then decided to get closer as it was difficult to discern who was there.

The percher was an American Kestrel, but he never waited around for his de Mille screen shot. "I coulda made you a star!" What s/he did, though, was get me out of the car and wandering the complex for the first time.

I'm really surprised someone hasn't torn them all down, or at least made it difficult to enter. Carefully walking through, I hear a bit of chirping that calls me toward the inside of the front porch. As I get closer, the chirping stops, but I still can't figure out where it came from.

Rounding a corner, I almost physically intersect with what I believe is a Says Phoebe, one of the possible parents to my haunted and still-hidden sounds, who immediately leaves the window area to land on a snag about 25 feet away. It's then I notice what is probably the other parent on a branch about 15 feet distant. They both are unsure what to do with me, and bounce between branches and snag, taking a look, moving back, moving forward, rinse and repeat.

They allow me a few Kodak moments, when it finally dawns on me they want in, and I walk back to the road.

Getting out of the car turns out to be the catalyst that turned the average 30-minute bumpy and dusty drive from Ellensburg to Wenas into a 90-minute field trip. Along the way: Northern Mockingbirds, Mourning Doves, Red-winged Blackbirds, Western Meadowlarks, Brewer's Blackbirds, Common Ravens, Bar and Tree Swallows, Western and Mountain Bluebirds, a Western Kingbird, more Says, Black-billed Magpies, a possible Golden Eagle (too far for my photography to be definitive, near the same ridgeline), several gorgeous Turkey Vultures, and Red-tailed Hawks. I'm sure others were missed, but not a bad start to the weekend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your post. My wife and I visited the Wenas area a week ago and saw many of the same species, except for the Says Phoebe. We had hoped to see a White-headed Woodpecker, but it didn't appear. Last year at about the same time we saw a Western Rattlesnake just off the Umptanum Road.

Lee Rentz