[Tweeters] some new CWA experiences - 6/22/15

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Tue Jun 23 16:17:04 PDT 2015

Same timeframe as usual, different itinerary. Deleted Cle Elum and Yakima Canyon from my agenda yesterday, in favor of a couple of spots I haven't been to in decades, but heard good, birdy things about from a couple of field trip reports I'd gotten. Also, thought these 'new' places would be cooler than my usual sunny spots - I was right ! The altitude, tree density and a nice breeze, made the trip somewhat cooler than I heard it was in Seattle. However, late afternoon was accompanied by a very stiff wind, which not only kept the birds down, but almost torqued my car door off (on SR 10 near E-burg) !

My route was: I-90 from Seattle to Stampede Pass, then on to the Teanaway River Basin, including Swauk Creek Prairie and Wildlife-Viewing areas, next to the 'Dipper Bridge' along SR 10, then SR 10 on to Ellensburg (Red Horse Diner for a small, "senior-sized" burger !), and finally, out Umptanum Road for the rest of the evening. A VERY pleasant and relaxing, low to no-traffic trip, with a sprinkling of birds seen and a larger sprinkling of birds heard, and some beautiful scenery :-)

Here are the major highlights:

Stampede Pass - it was flush with thrushes, but I saw nary a one - could identify the following by songs: Swainson's Thrush, Hermit Thrush, Veery. Nice wildflowers blooming, deer crossing the road, an orange, spotted butterfly eating dirt (for minerals?) and a lovely little lake right in the middle of all this.

Teanaway Areas, including Swauk Prairie Rd., Swauk Crk. Widlife- Viewing Areas and Teanaway River ("Dipper") Bridge - Western Tanager and Black-headed Grosbeaks heard, Western Meadowlarks seen and heard, American Kestrels seen, Gray Catbird seen and heard at the bridge, a young Brown-headed Cowbird out trying to find food, Turkey Vultures (2).

Umptanum Rd. - W. Meadowlarks singing, House Wren calling, Brewer's Sparrows buzzing, Common Nighthawks calling, but hidden in the sage along the road (!) - one flew across the road, flashing it's black wingbars for ID, Poorwills called and I flushed one with my car, got my only decent bird photo (a Mt. Bluebird), Western Wood Pewee calling, and young deer out on the road, eating dirt and play-fighting with each other (the antlered one started kicking the others and they kicked back. Warm, sunset colors bathed sky, the distant Stuart Range, Mt Rainier, and even framed the great moon wedge that hung in the sky the entire time I was on Umptanum and driving back home !

There were so many bird calls and songs I didn't know that I'm feeling compelled to spend some time with some audio assists and maybe, in the future, will consider a class or a field trip or two to flush some of the melody rust from my brain !

Link to my photo-chronicling of the trip : https://flic.kr/s/aHskeNHxWQ

Barb Deihl
Matthews Beach Neighborhood - NE Seattle
barbdeihl at comcast.net

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