[Tweeters] Auburn - MAC WARBLERS & Lazuli's

Carol & Lynn Schulz carol.schulz50 at gmail.com
Sun Jun 9 09:16:36 PDT 2013

Hi Tweets:
On our Rainier AS field trip yesterday, Sat, June 8 to Flaming Geyser & Green Valley Rd, in the Auburn area, we had some interesting birds. Our leader, Steve Johnson always takes us up to the Muckleshoot Plateau to visit a wonderful trail at Auburn Adventist Academy. At the Academy at 5010 Auburn Way South, we took the main entrance road past the church into the extensive grounds of the campus. The road is called 32nd St, I think. We drove back 3 or 4 blocks, and at a jct, turned left onto Academy Dr. We drove another 2 blocks or so to an industrial area with trucks, and parked at the top of Academy Dr where it becomes a short paved road, and then a trail leads downhill. This is the continuation of Academy Drive, and used to be a road down to the Green Valley. Now it is a trail about 1 mile long, dropping a couple of hundred ft. in elevation. There is a fruit stand at the bottom along the Green Valley Rd. This trail usually is very-birdy, and our large group heard plenty of birds on their territory as we walked down it about 9am, and then up again around 10am. During the walk we watched a very-close Rufous Hummingbird doing display flights, with his stuttering display noises at the bottom of the j-flights. Very cool. Swainson's Thrushes were calling and singing everywhere around us. When we walked back up to the top of the trail, we lingered near the sawdust pile area because it can be birdy. As we were about to leave, two MacGILLIVRAY'S WARBLERS started singing loudly very close to our trail. The warblers moved about a bit and we had to leave. We never saw those birds, but assume they may remain in the area. This is the first time we have ever heard Macs in the area.
Up at the top, we back-tracked on Academy Dr, continuing past the jct to a red barn on Acad. Drive. We parked at a large gravel lot about 1/2 block past the barn. The barn marks the start of a trail that goes back into the fields. As we walked out to the field, we almost immediately saw and heard LAZULI BUNTINGS. They were singing, perching, and flying. One sang from a tree's dead branches about 100 feet to our right as we stood looking out to the field. We estimated we were seeing at least 8 Lazuli's. Wow! We have been looking for them in that location for about 7 years, ever since we first saw one there. The grass back there is very-tall now, and Laz's love that. I hope they do not mow all the grass down near the bushes, trees, and trails as they get ready for their annual big summer campout starting around June 20. They have mowed all that grass in the past. There is an airfield in that big field.
As we walked back from the red barn to the large gravel parking lot we saw and heard Purple Finches, Blk-headed Grosbeaks, and Evening Grosbeaks. There are nice yards and houses across the street from the parking lot. The house behind the first house has feeders and hummer feeders. The owner is very nice and came out to talk to us as we got back into our cars.
Auburn Adventist Academy is a private Christian boarding-and-day high school. To reach it take Auburn Way S (hwy 164) south from hwy 18. This is also called the Auburn Enumclaw highway. You will pass the Muckleshoot Casino up on the plateau. Continue 1.8 miles, to the academy, and turn left into the campus, past the church.
The rest of the trip was very nice as we drove on the beautiful Green Valley Rd to Flaming Geyser. Cloudy in the morning, warming up to pleasant sunshine in the afternoon. Saturday was free day at Flaming Geyser SP, so we didn't need our Discover Passes. Yesterday our large group had a great time.
Yours, Carol Schulz
Des Moines

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