[Tweeters] north Olympics birding
scottratkinson at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 3 12:47:39 PDT 2014
Yesterday visited the north Olympics with four visitors from CA. The weather was beautiful and remarkably warm for the high elevations--barely below 60 F. for overnight low I figured. The best birding was close to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, where we had a good flock right above the start of the Obstruction Point road, within in sight of the visitor center. Here among regular passerine species were a high-elevation BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (it is about 5100' at this spot), a YELLOW WARBLER, a CHIPPING SPARROW, a female MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD which only I was able to spot, and a CLARK'S NUTRACKER (heard only) downslope. All of the last three are rare in the Olympics, but CHIPPING is a long-known local breeder.
On the way to Hurricane Hill, Vicki spotted an imm. N. GOSHAWK in the valley on the north side (close to the Griff Peak burn) and we had another soaring later over the ridge south of Obstruction Point. An ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD at about the mid-way point to Obstruction, at about 6000' elevation, seemed out of range. I had another CHIPPING SPARROW near the parking area for Hurricane Hill. We had an adult HORNED LARK feeding a downy juvenile along the Hurricane Hill trail; I also heard a ROSY FINCH here. Three more HORNED LARKS were right along the road to Obstruction.
In all we had close to 80 species for the day, but this included stops at the Three Crabs and Oyster House, as well as DRA, down at sea level. The best plant in the Olympics was MOUNTAIN OWL-CLOVER (Orthocarpus imbricatus) at several places along the Hurricane Hill trail; this showy species is disjunct and at its' northern maximum in the Olympics. OLYMPIC MARMOTS were more common than usual near Hurricane Hill, with several individuals visible at the same time.
mail to: scottratkinson at hotmail.com
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