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APRIL ARRIVED AND THEN IT DEPARTED. AND THEN MAY CAME ALONG. And now it’s June! We managed to get to central Washington and the Potholes/Columbia NWR/Seep Lakes area the first part of April to see the last of the Sandhill Cranes before they flew to parts north. And boy did we see them!

Sandhills on a dike at the edge of Crab Creek

Sandhills on a dike at the edge of Crab Creek

I don’ have a telephoto lens that is large enough to get in really close, but you can see the numbers. Just multiply by ten and you get the idea. They were spread out over a very large area. We figured there were 2,000-3,000 birds.

 

300 maybe? Multiply by 10.

300 maybe? Multiply by 10.

Sandhillcranes_1The central part of Washington is so different from the west side of the Cascade mountains. It is considered Shrub Steppe. Towering basalt cliffs and potholes scoured out by the Great Missoula flood of the last ice age.It is an arid, desert like environment with cactus and cattails alike.

Crab Creek basalt cliffs

Crab Creek basalt cliffs

There is a lot of agriculture in this area too; a benefit of the federal government’s reclamation project in the wake of building the Grand Coulee Dam. There are acres upon acres of potatoes, wheat, corn, alfalfa, apples, cherries and vineyards for winemaking. All of this intermingled with bird habitat. It is a real jewel.

Lower Goose Lake

Lower Goose Lake

This is a great migratory stopover for the Sandhill Cranes as well as many varieties of waterfowl and songbirds.

Fritallaria pudica

Wildflowers like this Fritallaria pudica ,were just beginning to bloom

Beaver lodge at Lower Crab Creek

Beaver lodge at Lower Crab Creek

It is a great area to hike, camp and watch wildlife. And this trip was a nice four day break from a renovation project that began last month.

Zigadenus; also known as Death Camas. It's quite .lovely

Zigadenus; also known as Death Camas. It’s quite .lovely

 

 

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