[Tweeters] Flammulated Owls on southwest slopes of Mt. Adams-20 June

Andy Stepniewski steppie at nwinfo.net
Sun Jun 21 23:09:37 PDT 2015

Yakkers and Tweeters,

Camping Friday night on the southwest slopes of Mt. Adams in the Pinegrass Sno-Park area (a few miles north of Trout Lake on FR-82) was great for Barred and Northern Pygmy-Owl along with booming Common Nighthawks.

I awoke at 3 am Saturday morning, couldn't sleep anymore, so decided to head up-mountain to do some owling on FR-8225. A mile downhill from the Gotchen Creek Guard Stn., I heard a very close FLAMMULATED OWL and two Northern Saw-whet Owls. A mile father uphill, FR-8225 is blocked with big boulders, so I stopped to listen. I heard another FLAMMULATED OWL and at least one more Northern Saw-whet Owl along with a Barred Owl.

This area is in southwestern Yakima County. I think it's worth a try for Skamania County birders to try for Flams along the same mountainside to the west as the sites mentioned above are only a couple miles from the Skamania line.

I pondered why Flams might be so far west in the Cascades and remembered Mt Adams is documented to have vegetation pattern oddities, as described in Franklin and Dryness in their classic treatise "Natural Vegetation of Oregon and Washington." They illustrate an interesting pattern of dry forest communities westward into wetter forest types. More specifically, they map a "dry" forest with pines such as Lodgepole, Ponderosa, and Western White, Western Larch, Douglas-fir, and Grand Fir "interdigitating" with a "wet" forest of Silver and Noble Firs, Western Hemlock, Western White Pine, and Alaska Cedar. This may allow typical eastern Washington bird species like Flammulated Owl and Williamson's Sapsucker to occur well to the west of their usual haunts.

Other interesting birds I noted included warblers: Hermit, Black-throated Gray, Townsend’s, Townsend’s X Hermits, Wilson’s, and Nashville.

Andy Stepniewski
Wapato WA
steppie at nwinfo.net

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