[Tweeters] Iron Creek - Bear Creek hike and bird

lsr at ramoslink.info lsr at ramoslink.info
Mon Jul 21 12:15:51 PDT 2014

On a remarkable summer day, with temperatures in the 50s and 60s, little
wind and no bugs, a group of 8 people took a hike on the Iron Creek - Bear
Creek Trail for a Seattle Audubon birding trip this past Sunday. We were
far enough east to avoid the west-side showers but distant enough from the
unfortunate fires affecting Leavenworth and Entiat so that we had
near-perfect conditions. This hike climbs about 1800 feet in 3.5 miles,
passing dense stream-sides, mixed stands of trees and shrubs, and dry, open
slopes, thus offering several habitats. Along the way, we enjoyed views,
flowers, butterflies and birds. And a very compatible and enthusiastic
group of nature fans.

Early on a Ruffed Grouse flushed but then posed for clear views for all. We
also had a fleeting view of a male Williamson's Sapsucker then excellent
views, in the sun, of a female WISA. As both species were life birds for
several participants, they were trip highlights.

Many birds were vocalizing, providing good birding-by-ear opportunities.
However, one call confused us all until we were finally able to find the
source: a small group of recently-fledged Evening Grosbeaks being fed by a
pair of adults. As we heard and saw dozens of EVGR throughout the hike, it
was rewarding to see the family group at fairly close range.

We saw many Nashville and MacGillivray's warblers with good enough looks to
allow discussion of the different ID diagnostics. Because of the mid-level
altitude, both Swainson's and Hermit Thrush were well-heard and, in some
cases, seen. One HETH in particular provided and nice demonstration of its

Other classic birds for this type of area showed for us, including Lazuli
Bunting, Mountain Bluebird and a surprise Black-headed Grosbeak. Several
groups, from 2 to over 40, of Pine Siskin showed up, more than I have seen
all year. Western Wood-Pewee were observed throughout the trip, of course,
but we also saw a single, silent, Olive-sided Flycatcher, several Dusky
Flycatcher, and as we arrived back at the cars at the end of the day, a
charming group of recently-fledged Pacific-slope Flycatchers huddling
together on a branch. Cuteness to end the day, who could ask for more.

For the hike portion of the trip, we had 42 species:
Checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19168065
With a couple of additional stops before and after the hike, we tallied 60
species for the day.
Scott Ramos

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