[Tweeters] Mt Rainier and Mt Adams (ptarmigans, grouse, and woodpeckers)

Khanh Tran fsprucegrouse at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 22 12:59:59 PDT 2013

Despite the warm weather this weekend, the hiking and birding was great at Mt Rainier and Mt Adams.  I spent Friday combing for ptarmigans at Sunrise and was successful in finding several of these fancy alpine chickens.  Mt Adams was surprisingly productive for grouse, woodpeckers, and owls along FR 21, 22, and 23.  Not a lot of bird diversity for the weekend but the quality was nice. 

On Friday, I had a good start.  With the early clouds and fog, it produced several BLACK SWIFTS along Skate Creek Rd near Packwood and a BARRED OWL.

I did several hikes at Sunrise on Friday and managed to find several WHITE TAILED PTARMIGANS.  The hike to Mt. Fremont did not disappoint and there were several GRAY-CROWNED ROSY-FINCHES and four Mountain Goats along the trail.  Closer to the tower was a pair of WHITE TAILED PTARMIGANS.  There were a couple of young chicks peeping along the boulder field, but I could not get a good look at them as they slither through the rocks.  I suspect they were recently, hatched birds.   The hike to the First and Second Burroughs was a bit more challenging and required hiking poles. I was hesitant at first and but then, proceeded.  The mountain goats and marmots must have being amused watching this Asian, chicken dumpling trample over the dicey snowfields. The extra effort was worth it, as the hike produced more rosy-finches and three WHITE TAILED PTARMIGAN. On my way out, the hike along Frozen Lake produced a pair of PINE GROSBEAKS and a few

The Mt Adams hiking and birding on Saturday was a lot more productive than I expected.   At lower elevations, I was able to find a couple of Ruffed Grouse with broods and a female Sooty Grouse.  The road to Horse shoe Lake produced a couple of beautiful SPRUCE GROUSE.  Hiking in 2-3  miles along the Killian Creek Trail produced a female Spruce Grouse with a brood. The ground cover is very high so the birds are tough to see if the birds are motionless or silent along the trail or roadside.  The open meadows in the area produced several PINE GROSBEAKS and many heard only Evening Grosbeaks. In addition, there was a male AMERICAN THREE TOE WOODPECKER not far from the parking area as I headed out. 

I also hiked the Divide Camp Trail for less than a mile or so and managed to find some BLACK BACKED WOODPECKERS and heard an OLIVE SIDED FLYCATCHER. 

Driving home along FR 21, I found another BARRED OWL along Blue Lake Campground hunting before dusk.   

A fine weekend for higher elevation birding despite hot temperatures and time of year. I had a fun time enjoying what both mountains had to offer for birds, mammals, and scenery.  The small waterfalls and seeing the Goat Rocks was really a nice treat in the Mt Adams area.

Good birding,

Khanh Tran

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