I spent the first day of last week's Eastern Washington trip at the Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge and the Sunnyside Wildlife Recreation Area. It had rained a half-inch earlier in the day and the ground was at times nearly impassible, as the clay soil turned to a gumbo-like texture.
The birding wasn’t much better, though I did manage to see many of the same birds I’d seen three weeks earlier when I was further east. There were still lots of flickers,
and Red-Tailed Hawks,
which, unlike this one, were usually flying by as I flew down a narrow highway.
I also managed to spot these two pheasant on a dirt road, but they quickly ducked into the brush as I approached,
not surprising considering it was Upland Bird Hunting Season.
The highlight of the day came when I spotted several River Otter swimming in the canal that fed the large pond.
I haven’t managed to see any River Otter since Nisqually shut down the five-mile loop so it was a treat to see them again even though I wasn’t able to get nearly as good of shots as I’ve gotten at Nisqually.
Overall, I was a little disappointed in the area but perhaps it was to be expected since several locals told me that the weather had been frigid the entire week before and many of the birds had left the area.