[Tweeters] Tuck and Robin lakes 8/11-14

amy schillinger schillingera at hotmail.com
Sun Aug 17 17:14:17 PDT 2014

My husband, brother, and I did a backpacking trip up to Tuck and Robin Lakes August 11th-14th. The weather was quite warm on our hike in.

The trail begins at the Deception Pass trail 1376. The first 800 feet in elevation gain is gentle for 4.4 miles along Hyas lake. Mixed conifer with some riparian areas with low Alder along the lake. Highlights here were MacGillivray's Warblers, Common Loon, a Coopers Hawk, and two different Barrow's Goldeneyes with many young hanging out on logs in the lake. This would be a wonderful walk in the spring during migration. I will remember it. Only note is that without a high clearance vehicle one may have issues crossing Scatter Creek as it literally runs across the road year round.

At the trail junction for 1376.1 takes you up 1100 feet in 2.00 miles to Tuck lake. To call this a trail is sort of a misnomer. It's more like a goat trail of rocks and roots that require climbing at certain points. Highlights here were Gray Jays swooping down and picking blueberries on the wing, an Olive-sided Flycatcher, more Brown Creepers than one could count. I stopped counting at 50! There were families everywhere on almost every tree. Many trees have peeling bark so it must be the perfect breeding ground for them. There were also many Townsends Warblers as well.

Now for the worst part of the "trail". The last 1000 feet in elevation gain is only 1.7 miles up to Robin lakes. We thought the trail up to Tuck lake was bad! You absolutely must follow the cairns to find this "trail" as it literally crawls up to granite slabs. Then you just walk on the granite to get to the lakes. Absolutely stunning scenery! Our camp hosts the Mountain Goats were almost always near by except for Tuesday evening when a gnarly thunderstorm almost drowned us. Lighting and thunder directly overhead and we were fully exposed in the campsite. Scary evening with little sleep. At both upper and lower Robin lakes were American Pipits, Clarks' Nutcrackers, Cassin's Finches, and families of American Dippers.

Side trips included a hike to the Granite Mt. Potholes. Many Cassin's Finches and Pine Siskins here as well as several Robins. On Wednesday we scrambled up to Granite Mt. (elv. 7100 ft). I was hoping for grouse and/or Ptarmigan. Saw neither. In fact, there was a total lack of birds at all on this scramble with the exception of a Raven or two. All one had to do was listen for a Marmot to whistle and sure enough, a Raven would pass through.

On the controlled fall of a hike down we did have a couple of Dusky Grouse near Tuck Lake. Species count for the trip was 32. It probably would have been higher had I not been hiking with two non-birders and time was of the essence as one way for this trip was 8.5 miles.

Amy Powell
Renton, WA
schillingera at Hotmail.com

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