[Tweeters] King/Kittitas birding

Tim Brennan tsbrennan at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 18 14:14:56 PDT 2014

Hey Tweets!

I'd made a promise to my nephew to go visit the ghost town of Lester, near Stampede Pass, so I took him and my son up for a night of camping, and then a hike into Lester. Thursday night, we stayed at Lake Kachess, almost accidentally as I missed an exit. It was actually a great spot - beautiful view of the lake from a hundred feet away, and there were actually a ton of birds there, with dense forest, a large open lake, and some riparian sections all near the campsite. I haven't added up species yet, but I had Willow and Dusky Flycatchers, Western Wood-Pewee, Warbling vireo, Gray Jay, Steller's Jay, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Swainson's, Varied and Hermit Thrushes, and two species of owls (Barred calling in the middle of the night, and a brief visit from Northern Pygmy-Owl in the morning).

Friday morning we drove FR 5400 towards Stampede Pass, passing into King County as we crossed over the pass. I rolled the windows down as soon as we did, completely unfamiliar with this corner of King. I'm missing House Wren for King County (or was), so I found myself stopping at nearly every clear cut, thinking each one looked like the most magical habitat for House Wren. On the way in to Lester, I had none, but may have done a little better, finding a DUSKY FLYCATCHER, 'whit'-ing away in the brush of one of those clear cuts right off of the side of the road. The two or so mile hike from the gate to the little ghost town (down to four or so buildings now), was full of Chipping Sparrows, and MacGillivray's Warblers, as well as a few Cassin's Finches. Again, I haven't got a species total yet, but it will be pretty high, with several species of swallows, Ravens, Turkey Vultures, Common Yellowthroats, Lazuli Buntings... it was a well mixed list. Incidentally, on the way out, I spoke with a City of Tacoma Watershed worker who drove through in his truck. He noted that Wild Turkeys have been seen for a few years now in numerous spots just inside King County, which fits with the WITU report from FR-5400 last year. On the way back out on FR-5400, I stopped at a clear cut where there had been a suspicious small brown bird on the way in. I was able to pull it up and view my first HOUSE WREN in King County.

The only other birds of note on the way out - five Band-tailed Pigeons on FR-5400 (back over Stampede) were my first in Kittitas County, and Gold Creek Pond had some wonderfully vocal Spotted Sandpipers.

Happy Birding,

Tim Brennan

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