[Tweeters] Mt. Rainier Sunrise and Paradise Report

Rhett Wilkins rhettwilkins at gmail.com
Mon Oct 12 09:09:08 PDT 2015

Hi Tweeters,

Daryl F. and I visited Mt. Rainier this past weekend in the never-ending
mist, fog, and sideways rain. What we were thinking, I have no idea. I
guess we wanted some good wildlife photos and simply couldn't wait one more

Friday, we hiked from Sunrise parking to Mt. Fremont Lookout, and then back
to the parking area via the Wonderland Trail around Shadow Lake. We had
several AMERICAN PIKA along the Sourdough Ridge Trail, a herd of 15
MOUNTAIN GOATS on the Mt. Fremont Trail, and 0 WHITE-TAILED PTARMIGANS near
Mt. Fremont Lookout. On the way back down, a single TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE
was along the Wonderland Trail north of Shadow Lake, a very nonchalant
CROSS FOX circumnavigated the banks of Shadow Lake, and 5 or 6 GRAY JAYS
asked us for food on the Sunrise Rim Trail near the parking lot. The
highlight of this outing, however, was an adult female Black Bear with two
cubs at the junction of Sunrise Park Rd. and White River Rd.

Saturday at Paradise, the weather was absolutely outrageous, with 30MPH
winds and rain bullets, not to mention swirling fog and mist that, at
times, restricted visibility to 20 yards. The higher we hiked towards
Panorama Point in hopes of Ptarmigan, the worse it got. We made it 90% of
the way but simply had to turn back due to the weather. Had we been
rational in the first place, we would have turned back at 60%. That said,
we 0 WHITE-TAILED PTARMIGANS again! It was a total bust on the Ptarmigan
front. Along the Golden Gate Trail just north of the parking area,
however, we had 2 ROUGH-LEGGED HAWKS floating/hunting, what I believe to be
a single PRAIRIE FALCON whiz by (seemed too slight to be Peregrine and too
large for Merlin, but bird was silhouetted), an immature GOLDEN EAGLE being
chased by a Common Raven, and three AMERICAN PIPITS. There was also a
flock of about 20 birds that convinced me of being Gray-crowned
Rosy-Finches. We saw them on three separate occasions along the Golden
Gate Trail. They seemed too small to be Crossbills, and I don't believe
they were Siskins because they flew silently. That reminds me, PINE
SISKINS, RED CROSSBILLS, and even EVENING GROSBEAKS were fairly prevalent
at both Sunrise and Paradise. Anyhow, I've never known any of these three
species to travel in silence and so my best guess was Rosy-Finches.

On the way into and out of Paradise, along both Stevens Canyon Rd. and
Paradise Rd. E., we had 3 separate SOOTY GROUSE. Two of them wanted
nothing to do with us when we stopped and approached for photos, but the
third made the entire, painful hike to Panorama Point feel much better.

All in all, the weather was terrible but, as usual, the wildlife was
fantastic! Here are a few photos from the outing for your entertainment: Mt.
Rainier: Fall 2015 <https://www.flickr.com/photos/boundtobird/>

Rhett Wilkins
Portland, OR
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