[Tweeters] WOS Sunrise trip 13 July 15
bellasoc at isomedia.com
Tue Jul 14 09:56:42 PDT 2015
Yesterday, WOS members took a trip to the Sunrise area in Mt. Rainier park.
Our early meeting spot was overcast but with a comfortable 59F, and the
"gloom" lasted until out near Greenwater. Along the way (SR167, 164, & 410)
we saw ROCK PIGEON, AMERICAN CROW, COMMON RAVEN (410), and EUROPEAN
Our first stop was at Federation Forest S.P. where we walked part of the
forest trails down to the White River. Along the walk we saw and/or heard
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (3) down at the river, PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER, STELLER'S
JAY, CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE, PACIFIC WREN, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET,
SWAINSON'S THRUSH, AMERICAN ROBIN, VARIED THRUSH, SONG SPARROW, DARK-EYED
JUNCO and RED CROSSBILL. We could see some sunlight beginning to break out
and the temperature had risen to 61F.
We pushed on past Greenwater to the intersection of SR410 and USFS 70 and
walked the old clear-cut that was very birdy. By now the sun was mostly out
and temperature was up to 66F. We saw/heard TURKEY VULTURE, BAND-TAILED
PIGEON, ANNA'S/RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD (very back-lit and too quick to
determine), DOWNY WOODPECKER (with young being fed), NORTHERN FLICKER
(several), WILLOW FLYCATCHER, CASSIN'S VIREO, WARBLING VIREO, STELLER'S JAY,
TREE SWALLOW (one confirmed), VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (one confirmed) and
several others unidentified, CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE (several), MOUNTAIN
BLUEBIRD, HERMIT THRUSH (heard in distance), AMERICAN ROBIN, CEDAR WAXWING
(many), MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER (one or two?), YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER,
CHIPPING SPARROW, SONG SPARROW, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW (many), DARK-EYED
JUNCO (many), WESTERN TANAGER (a single male), a small flock of PINE
GROSBEAKs, HOUSE FINCH and PINE SISKIN.
As we continued on toward the entrance to Sunrise the cloud cover came back
over us (it had never lifted from the Mountain). We made a stop at the White
River Campground and as we stepped out of the car had immediate activity.
Overhead we had a soaring NORTHERN GOSHAWK (large body, long wings, long
tail, white under-tail coverts, and were able to get a photo), BLACK SWIFT
(largish with swept-back wings and gliding), VAUX'S SWIFT (much smaller and
with "twinkling" flight), and a perched PINE GROSBEAK, as we walked the
campground we picked up STELLER'S JAY, COMMON RAVEN (adult with young),
MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE, AMERICAN ROBIN, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (a beautiful male
in absolutely pristine breeding plumage - really striking), CHIPPING
SPARROW, DARK-EYED JUNCO.
As we climbed up the mountain the clouds dropped down around us and
visibility also dropped. At Sunrise Point we were above the lower clouds and
below the high cloud deck. At Sunrise (where the temperature had dropped to
44F), we decided to walk the area looking for birds and then make an early
lunch stop - a good decision! After seeing several GRAY JAYs and a couple of
CLARK'S NUTCRACKERS it began to drizzle and turned to rain - luckily there
was a nice dense foliaged tree to stand under. While waiting we heard a
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH. The rain continued and we walked back to the snack
shop and had lunch. As we walked out the rain stopped and the sun came out
(but Mt. Rainier proper continued under the clouds). As we walked up to the
trail to Frozen Lake we saw/heard AMERICAN ROBIN, SONG SPARROW,
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, and DARK-EYED JUNCO. Along
the trail to Frozen Lake we saw RED-TAILED HAWK (juvenile),
RUFOUS-HUMMINGBIRD working over one of the flower fields, CLARK'S
NUTCRACKER, HERMIT THRUSH, AMERICAN ROBIN, CEDAR WAXWING, FOX SPARROW, SONG
SPARROW, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, DARK-EYED JUNCO, PURPLE FINCH, PINE SISKIN
and EVENING GROSBEAK.
In the Frozen Lake area we had about a dozen insecting MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDs
(all females). We were debating whether to continue up the trail, but looked
out to the west at the thickening clouds and decided to return to Sunrise.
We saw many of the same birds on the return down the trail. A quick stop in
the Visitors Center to pick up Mt. Rainier birdlists and we loaded into the
car. As we pulled out of the parking lot it began to rain again and rained
steadily for the next hour until we were well down on SR410 on the way home.
As we made our way home the clouds cleared (Mt. Rainier truly does make its
own weather) and it warmed up to near 80 by the time we were back to
Bellevue. Between Enumclaw toward Auburn we saw a number of TURKEY VULTUREs
and one RED-TAILED HAWK.
It was an excellent day of mountain birding (50 species - nice for a day
with as many clouds surrounding us) with nice looks at many and a couple of
unusual birds (Northern Goshawk, Black Swift - although we were watching for
the Black Swifts because of the relatively low cloud deck).
Brian H. Bell
mail to bell asoc a t iso med ia dot com
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