[Tweeters] RAS/TAS Back Hills Capitol Forest State Park Field Trip 5/16/13

Shep Thorp shepthorp at gmail.com
Fri May 17 10:08:39 PDT 2013

Hi Tweets,

10 of us had a fun day birding Mud Bay, McClane Creek Nature Trail, Capitol
Forest State Park, Mima Mounds and Bob Bammert Grove with partly cloudy
skies, temperatures in the 50-60's degrees Fahrenheit, and rain in the late

We observed 72 species and highlights included 8 warbler species including
great looks at Hermit Warbler, 4 flycatchers including high count of
Hammond's Flycatcher, booming Sooty Grouse, hooting Northern Pygmy Owls and
beautifully plumaged Wood Duck, Western Tanager, and Black-headed Grosbeaks.

Starting out at 7:30am at Mudd Bay at the Blue Heron Bakery, we observed
Glaucous-winged Gull, Mallard, Bald Eagle, Tree Swallow, Violet-green
Swallow, Barn Swallow, Warbling Vireo, Yellow Warbler, Cedar Waxwing,
Brewer's Blackbird and Brown-headed Cowbird, Red Crossbill, Pine Siskin,
and American Goldfinch. An American Beaver was swimming in the fresh water
pond next to the road.

McClane Creek Nature Trail was hopping! Olive-sided Flycatcher x 2,
Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Western Wood-pewee, lots of Wood Ducks including
11 ducklings. Great looks at Western Tanager and Black-headed Grosbeaks.
The area had many singing Wilson's Warblers, as well Yellow Warbler,
Common Yellowthroat, Black-throated Gray Warbler and Warbling Vireo. We
had a Turkey Vulture fly over, as well Vaux's swifts and additional
swallows. We enjoyed nice observation of a Hairy Woodpecker joining the
morning chorus.

Capitol Forest State Park was very birdy and productive. On the west side
of the first clear cut on C-line road from Sherman Valley Road around
500-1,000 feet elevation we had fantastic views of Hermit Warbler in the
conifers. We enjoyed observing this species singing, foraging and eating
caterpillars. We also had great looks at MacGillivray's Warbler in the
clear cut, and had nice looks of Orange-crowned Warbler and Wilson's
Warbler. Hutton's Vireo was insistent on letting us know we were in his
yard. We also enjoyed singing Varied Thrush, Swainson's Thrush, Western
Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak and calling Evening Grosbeaks. We also
observed Pacific Wren, Rufous Hummingbird, Song Sparrow, Spotted Towhee and
Dark-eyed Junco. The clear cut area where Tim Brennan and Carol Schulz
observed House Wren last year near the quarry, around 1,500 feet, was the
area that was burned. The road is clear and passable, but we were not able
to relocate the House Wren seen last year. We did see Chipmunk and a brown
Garter Snake. Around the peak, we picked up Yellow-rumped Warbler and our
first Hammond's Flycatcher, and saw additional Varied Thrush and Wilson's

Mima Mounds was a great place for us to have nice views of Black-throated
Gray Warbler, Orange Crowned Warbler and Pileated Woodpecker. Along the
forest edge on the east side of the meadow several Hammond's Flycatchers
were seen and heard as well as a booming Sooty Grouse which we were not
able to visualize. On the meadow itself we observed White-crowned Sparrow,
Savannah Sparrow, Red-tailed Hawk and American Kestrel. Other species seen
included Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Brown Creeper, Red-breasted Nuthatch
and additional previously seen species.

We finished up the trip at the Bob Bammert Grove off Bordeaux Road SW, in
the rain. But we were rewarded with the hooting of two Pygmy Owls at the
top of the trail.

Thanks to all the wonderful participants for their excellent spotting and
enthusiasm, you found a great variety of species as there were many birds
to appreciate and habitats to explore. Aside from the traffic around Mudd
Bay, all areas provided great opportunities to do more birding.

Until next time, good birding!
Shep Thorp
Browns Point
sthorp at theaec.com
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