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Hardy & Black Canyons, Wenas Wildlife Area
September 2016


Synopsis

With great relief for the time to get away, we were able to enjoy a sunny fall weekend up at Hardy Canyon in the Wenas Wildlife Area. The area was a wash of golden fields of drying grass, yellow blossoms of rabbitbush and great sage, and just the start of yellowing aspens. Red rose hips, serviceberries, wax currants, and chokecherries were drying on the bush making the perfect snacks to accompany some trail mix. Definitely no fields of shooting stars or bitterroot to admire, but the fall palate held its own distinct subdue beauty.

We camped near the mouth of Hardy Canyon, next to the large elk (or maybe zombie) fence that now surrounded the area. At night we admired the Milky Way, perhaps the best viewing I've seen in a long while - despite the searchlight from Yakima that would occassionally sweep the sky. The lack of moon, mild weather, and brief shooting stars made an enjoyable evening of star gazing.

Instead of hiking up Hardy Canyon, which from the reports still is overgrown after the DNR closed the road to vehicles, we crossed the street to hike up Black Canyon during the day. Birding was slower in the fall, but the canyon was full of flocks of Yellow-rumped Warblers punctuated with a Hermit Thursh or Golden-crowned Sparrows. Large flocks of Western Meadowlarks gathered at the mouth of the canyon and a covey of Chuckars climbed the canyon wall.

The solitary camping, mild dry weather and fall hiking made for a perfect getaway to mark the beginning of autumn.

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Pictures (click on the pictures to enlarge)














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Bird List
California Quail
2
Chukar
20
Golden Eagle
1
juvenile
Northern Harrier
1
Red-tailed Hawk
1
Barn Owl
1
heard
Downy Woodpecker
2
Northern Flicker
3
American Kestrel
4
Steller's Jay
2
Black-billed Magpie
5
American Crow
25
Common Raven
4
Horned Lark
5
small flock on top of ridge
Violet-green Swallow
2
Black-capped Chickadee
5
Mountain Chickadee
5
Bushtit
10
Red-breasted Nuthatch
4
Golden-crowned Kinglet
5
heard only
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
6
Mountain Bluebird
5
on ridge
Townsend's Solitaire
1
Hermit Thrush
3
American Robin
18
Varied Thrush
1
European Starling
10
Yellow-rumped Warbler
30
Dark-eyed Junco
20
White-crowned Sparrow
10
Golden-crowned Sparrow
7
Song Sparrow
1
Lincoln's Sparrow
2
Spotted Towhee
8
Western Meadowlark
14
flocks in sagebrush
House Finch
3
Critters
Elk
heard
Mule deer
Coyote
heard
California ground squirrel
Chimpunk
Western fence lizard
Shadow darner
Woodland skipper
Western branded skipper
Ochre ringlet
Checkerspot sp.
Fritillary sp.
Flowers
Autumn willowherb
Gray rabbitbush
Big sage
Curly-leafed gumweed
Blanketflower
few

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Information

Wenas Wildlife Area

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page updated: 10/5/16