[Tweeters] HOW(A) can you tell that you're the first hiker on the trail in the morning?

Jonathan Bent bent.jonathan at gmail.com
Thu Aug 29 12:32:31 PDT 2013

Because you hit inch worm and spider threads every 5 feet as you wend your
way up the trail! I felt a little like Frodo entering Shelob's layer by the
time I got to the Hooded Warbler spot on the Cape Horn trail...

Minor annoyances aside, let's get to the major annoyance: I spent more
hours than I'd like to admit searching and listening for the Hooded Warbler
on 8/27. It was a singularly silent bird for the vast majority of the time
I was there, though I did hear one Wilson's Warbler singing something half
way in between its call and the Hooded's early on (interesting).

I walked a 1/4 mile stretch centered around the newly-repaired switchback
probably six times without luck and eventually came across Carol Riddell
and Susie Schaefer, who were trying for the bird after several unsuccessful
visits. We walked the trail up past the 5 steps, and back down lower than
the lowest reported sighting point. I eventually had a very fleeting look
at the bird, and we were able to hear it vocalize in a series of slightly
shorter snippets of its song. It alternated between call notes, short songs
and the full song for about 10 minutes before moving down-slope.

I only mention this sighting because the bird was a bit lower than it was
in previous postings. I'd estimate it was about 150 yards down from the
repaired switchback, just downslope of a fairly big dead snag. I've
uploaded a picture of the snag, as seen looking up the trail, in case it's
of any use to those who haven't yet had time to go chase the bird.

In addition to the HOWA, I had 21 other species, including Wilson's and
Black-throated Gray warblers, an Osprey, and many pit-a-riks, as reported
in previous messages. I should also say that it was a true pleasure to meet
Carol and Susie, who made me feel very at home in the WA birding community.
The three of us stopped by Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge after
getting the HOWA, where we saw an excellent diversity of birds, including
fantastic looks at 2 or more AMERICAN BITTERNS in flight. A single
swan--which appeared to be a MUTE SWAN from a distance--sat on the lake,
and has apparently been seen for quite a while by locals (for better or for

Sorry to post this 2 days after the fact, but I've been swamped with work!

Jonathan Bent,
Whidbey Island and Seattle
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