Barred owl. (Photo by Mike Roper)

Burn restrictions added

Written burn permits will be suspended and small debris fires will be prohibited throughout Yakima County starting Friday, according to a release from the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

Both the upper and lower Yakima regions are included in the changes that also apply to several other areas throughout eastern Washington. Fire danger remains high in the Lower Basin area that includes Yakima and much of the lower valley, extending east past Walla Walla, and fire danger is moderate in Yakima County’s Cascade foothills.

Campfires may be allowed in certain campgrounds and as always, fireworks and other explosives are illegal on DNR lands.


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Last week I mentioned birding the Pine Side Sno-Park near the Mt. Adams Wilderness. This area is a mature and varied forest setting interspersed with mountain meadows and geographic features and some of the most spectacular country found anywhere.

Birders there this week proved the birding is excellent as well with over 40 species reported. Highlights included a calling barred owl with it’s “Who cooks for you” call. Larger than our native spotted owls, barred owls are native to the eastern U.S. have expanded their population to the west coast — probably as a result of changes people have made to the old growth landscape — and first appeared in Washington in 1965.

Other birds of note from the area included ruffed grouse, common nighthawk, Williamson’s sapsucker, red-breasted sapsucker, hairy woodpecker pileated woodpecker, five flycatchers with olive-sided, western wood-pewee, gray, dusky and pacific-slope flycatchers all making themselves known, warbling vireo, red-eyed vireo, three chickadee species — black-capped, mountain and Chestnut-backed — the always gorgeous mountain bluebird, hermit thrush, Cassin’s finch, pine siskin, Nashville warbler, MacGillivray’s warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, the elusive black-throated gray warbler, Townsend’s warbler, hermit warbler, Townsend’s x hermit warbler (hybrid) and my favorite, the western tanager, a colorful bird that breeds as far north as the Northwest Territories in the summer before migrating to Mexico and Central America for the winter.

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Reach Luke Thompson at and on Twitter: @luketscribe