[Tweeters] Mt Rainier ptarmigans, Bethel Ridge woodpeckers, and Long tailed Jaeger along White Pass

Khanh Tran khanhbatran at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 9 13:18:39 PDT 2013

Hi Tweeters:

We had a fun trip visiting the Mt Rainier and Bethel Ridge area for target species. On Saturday, the hike to the Mt Fremont at Mt Rainier was quite pleasant and produced some good birds. We were lucky to immediately find a family of WHITE TAILED PTARMIGANS near the tower. There was a nicely, marked hen with one chick and two adult males. All four birds had bands on them and this was part of a Fish and Wildlife project that was recently conducted by Dr. Schroeder.

Within the vicinity was a nice, flock of 40 GRAY-CROWNED ROSYFINCHES and an active, PRAIRIE FALCON hunting near Frozen Lake. The falcon allowed great views. On our way out, I spotted a cooperative, female SOOTY GROUSE walking along the narrow road not far from the Sunrise Point parking area. There was a very good movement of Pine Siskins, Yellow rumped warblers, and sparrows moving along the lower open areas below the visitor center.

The Oak Creek Wildlife area was great fun and I deem it, the LEWIS WOODPECKER capital of the WA. We easily saw a dozen or more within the few hundred yards of the road. We could not find any Chukars here to "Check-ar" off our list but instead, found A nice flock of Black Swifts hunting in the skies. Also near Naches, were a couple of GOLDEN EAGLES

On our way back to Packwood, we were surprised to see a LONG TAILED JAEGER about a mile west below White Pass. What a cool surprise!!

Bethel Ridge was quiet but produced a few good woodpeckers: RED NAPED and WILLIAMSON'S SAPSUCKERS, BLACK BACKED and AMERICAN-3 TOED WOODPECKERS. Several TOWNSENDS' SOLITARIE were also seen within the last few miles before reaching the towers.

Before heading home, I made a quick stop to Tipsoo Lake and found more BLACK SWIFTS and a trio of PINE GROSBEAKS. And lastly, just before dusk, I spotted a BARRED OWL hunting along the Hwy 12 near Silver Creek.

Here are a few updated photos of the ptarmigans from different counties (Pierce, Okanogan, and Whatcom Counties). The female photographed in Okanogan County was gorgeously colored and patterned. Seems to be quite a variation in color depending on the geology and colors of the rocks.

They are really beautiful birds and special birds!


Good birding,

Khanh Tran


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