Chelan Ridge Update

23 August 2013

The Chelan Ridge team was thrilled to begin the fall raptor migration count today! The day started out rainy and overcast, but quickly turned into a bright and sunny day by mid-morning. Last night's weather disturbance was exactly what the birds needed as a little push into migration. The raptor flight was small but mighty, with 6 of the 7 birds observed occurring during the 12 o'clock hour. The first bird of the season was a beautifully colored male American Kestrel, who obligingly cruised past our lookout at eye level before continuing south. Three sharpies put on a show for us as they harassed a migrating Cooper's Hawk. The last bird of the day was a late-afternoon immature Red-tailed Hawk. We thought at first that it might be one of the local birds we had been seeing throughout the day, but it proved us wrong as it disappeared over the southern horizon. We are excited to see the beginnings of migration in this small early-season flight. In addition to raptors, a number of warbler species were observed staging for migration on the ridge, including Yellow-rumped Warblers, Nashville Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers, and a MacGillivray's Warbler. Dark-eyed Juncos were in abundance on the ridge today, along with the usual Stellar's Jays and Clark's Nutcrackers. Also detected were a Western Bluebird and a Red Crossbill. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the day was of the non-avian variety, when a young female moose was spotted ambling down the road below our lookout. Moose are a regular but seldom-seen resident of the Wenatchee/Okanagan National Forests, so we like to think of her appearance on our first day as a good omen of a great season to come!