[Tweeters] Ahtanum summary from a long weekend

Randy Hill re_hill at q.com
Wed Oct 7 22:00:35 PDT 2015

I’ve returned from my annual early October trek up the slopes south of the N
Fork of Ahtanum Creek, 30 miles west of Yakima and 8 miles south of Rimrock
Lake. Fall is quite different from the June WOS field trips last year, with
breeders mostly gone (not singing), gorgeous red sumac on the flats and
yellowing larch and aspens up the slopes. It remained very dry through the
4 ½ days I was there; two years ago there was 2-8” of snow that fell on
10/1. Little to report of note in the 4000-6000’ elevations that I
wandered. Resident Mt Chickadee, RB Nuthatch and GC Kinglet flocks, plenty
of Steller’s and Gray Jays, and eventually a few Clarks Nutcrackers. Pygmy
owls called from several locations, and Varied and Hermit Thrush were
common. Wandering groups of Pine Siskins and a couple flocks of Purple
Finches and Red Crossbills. There are dippers in the creek. Some notables

Sooty Grouse -flushed at higher elevations 3 times; fewer
than last year

Spruce Grouse -flushed at mid-higher elevations 2 or 3
times; none seen before taking flight

Osprey -one apparently migrating on 10/2
near Eagles Nest vista above 6000’

Lewis’s Woodpecker -only one seen (I must not have been looking very
hard) east of Tampico on the way up

Am 3-toed Woodpecker-only one seen (heard tapping first and had to track it
down) around 5600’

Bl-backed Woodpecker -only one seen (heard tapping first) at about the same

Western Scrub Jay -seen west of Tampico on the way in and out
where a small population is well established

Townsend’s Solitaire -two below Eagle’s Nest vista one day only

A reminder that big game seasons are going on now, with deer and elk hunting
with muzzleloader this week, high-powered rifle deer season starting 10/17,
and elk season at the end of October into November.

Randy Hill


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