[Tweeters] WFO field trip to Sunrise on Thursday

Gary Wiles wilesharkey at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 23 22:34:49 PDT 2013

Jan Sharkey and I led a WFO field trip to Sunrise at Mt. Rainier yesterday (Thursday).  The trip started with 3 Chestnut-backed Chickadees at the White River entrance, then 5 Vaux's Swifts and 2 American Dippers from the Fryingpan Creek bridge, and several Cassin's Finches at Sunrise Point and several more at the visitor center parking lot.
As mentioned in Carol Riddel's post, the White-tailed Ptarmigan on the Fremont Ridge trail were extremely obliging, with a minimum of 12 birds seen by our group.  They included a female with 2-3 fairly small chicks about one-third of the way out along the trail, a male and chick about 75-100 yds south of the lookout, and a group of 3 adult females, 1 adult male, and 3 chicks at the lookout.  These were life birds for at least half of our group, so the excitement level was high.  I can't imagine that ptarmigan viewing can ever get any better than this!
The hike produced plenty of other highlights as well, including a juvenile Northern Goshawk seen far beneath us on Sourdough Ridge (carrying 2 spotting scopes with us all day was worth it for this bird!); a Hermit Warbler seen in a mixed flock of juncos, Chipping Sparrows, Townsend's Warblers, and other species; a mixed flock of about 40+ Mountain Bluebirds, plus Yellow-rumped Warblers, several American Pipits, and Cedar Waxwings at Frozen Lake; and a lone Band-tailed Pigeon that flew over us on Sourdough Ridge.  Two Orange-crowned Warblers, a total of 7 Townsend's Warblers, several Western Tanagers, and a flock of 30 Evening Grosbeaks were also nice.  We ended the day with a total of 27 species.  Combined with a great group of participants, clear viewing of the mountain all day, and good weather, we couldn't have asked for a better field trip!
Gary Wiles
Olympia, WA
wilesharkey at yahoo.com

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