[Tweeters] East Slope trip on Thursday

Jon Houghton jon.houghton at hartcrowser.com
Sat May 9 11:05:47 PDT 2015

Kathleen and I did a full day excursion over Snoqualmie to Cle Elum and upper Umptanum, with a side hike to the falls on Thursday. Weather was fantastic, flowers pretty good, and no snakes or nasty biting arthropods to be seen! We ended up with over 70 spp. ID of two silent flycatchers awaiting photo validation.

First stop was at Crystal Springs bridge on the Stampede Pass road where it was gratifying to immediately hear and see several warblers including FOY Townsends; an American Dipper was sitting on a log in the river just upstream of the bridge. At the Cle Elum RR ponds, we saw a lingering Barrow's Goldeneye pair, along with Hooded and American mergansers. Couldn't find the Pygmy Nuthatches but picked up quite a few other passerines including a FOY Chipping Sparrow. Warblers, vireos, and flycatchers were disappointingly absent.
On our assent up Umptanum Road, at the last patch of cottonwoods and other riparian vegetation before the end of the pavement, we had nice looks at a Great-horned Owl (seen here in previous years, Says Phoebe, Warbling Vireo (they seem to be everywhere this week!), Bullock's Oriole, and Lazuli Bunting (last two were FOY). In the sage steppe, bluebirds were abundant in association with most of the boxes and Brewer's Sparrows were seen in the few places where we actually looked for them. Only one Western Meadowlark was heard. American Kestrels and Red-tailed Hawks were seen in a number of places along with single Swainson's Hawk and Prairie Falcon, both soaring high.
On the trail down to Umptanum Falls (Discover Pass required), we saw/heard a number warblers (Yellow-rumped, Nashville (FOY), Orange-crowned, Yellow, Wilson's) and were frustrated by seeing several quiet flycatchers, possibly Gray and Hammond's but the jury has not been seated to confirm these problem critters from photos. After the hike found a Red-naped Sapsucker in a large cottonwood near the parking area.
We then drove up (west) toward the ridge and Wenas Road, encountering several Western Kingbirds en route. Where the sage steppe transitions into patches of ponderosa and Doug fir, we parked and walked the road, listening and looking especially for woodpeckers. On the way back to the car, we heard a faint tapping and after much searching, finally were rewarded with a White-headed Woodpecker (FOY) that flew over the road and began working in a ponderosa right overhead, giving us nice looks. All in all: a great day!

Jon Houghton, Edmonds

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