[Tweeters] Sunrise, Mt. Rainier Seattle Audubon field trip 8/17/2013 - re-try WITH LINKS!

Evan Houston evanghouston at yahoo.com
Sat Aug 17 22:37:43 PDT 2013

Hi Tweeters, 

Scott Ramos and I led a field trip to Sunrise, Mt. Rainier today.  The weather was mostly cloudy, somewhat foggy, and cool, and we also got an extra-early start time (well, at least for me), meeting in Seattle at 5am.  A couple of opportunistic pictures from the trip are here, and a few video links are below:

The start time and weather likely contributed to our top highlight of the day:  About 1/3 of the way on our hike up the Mt. Fremont Lookout spur, a male Sooty Grouse (at about 7,000 feet, close to the tree line) caught my eye on the lower side of the trail.  As we stopped to admire the bird, we noticed chickens on high side of the trail, only these turned out to be a family group of White-tailed Ptarmigans!  In addition to the adult female and male, we noticed 4 almost fully grown chicks.  

We eventually continued up the trail to the Lookout itself, and near there we saw another adult female Ptarmigan calling to unseen chicks, as well as a 3rd adult female Ptarmigan escorting a chick that was much smaller than the first set we saw.  Our group collectively tallied 11 Ptarmigans!  Video of this last pair here:

Additional bird sightings consisted of:

- A few breeding species giving nice looks: American Pipit, Clark's Nutcracker, Mountain Bluebird, and Horned Lark (no luck w/ Rosy-finches), video of juvenile lark foraging on grouseberries here:

- Some energetic migrant flocks that included Yellow-rumped + Townsend's + Orange-crowned Warblers, and Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Chipping Sparrow, among others.

- The weather likely kept the raptors down, and we only tallied 1 each of the smaller accipiters.

Also, lots of the characteristic mammals, including Mountain Goat, Pika, Hoary Marmot, and the expected hominids.

Good birding,
Evan Houston
Seattle, WA

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