[Tweeters] Sunrise (not a bird trip)

Jon Houghton jon.houghton at hartcrowser.com
Sat Sep 19 21:06:51 PDT 2015

Hi Tweets - going with the forecast for less rain to the south today, we headed for our traditional fall trip to Sunrise. Initial looks were encouraging with most of the Mountain in view but with a tight cap of wind-blown fog over the summit. We arrived at Sunrise about 10, having seen a juv. Red-tailed Hawk and a Varied Thrush along the road just before the parking lot. We did our usual hike out through the usually birdy picnic area, where we found only a couple of Gray Jays. Up Sourdough Ridge toward Frozen (not) Lake (not much more than a tarn at this point), we had a quick fly by from a probable Sharp-shinned, but, surprisingly, no other birds. Mountain Goats were another story! Three flocks of about 20 to 25 each were on the west flanks of Fremont ridge and down in the valley to the west - another 25 or so were on top of First Burroughs. I went up over 2nd Burroughs with only one Am. Crow flyby in gathering and blowing mist and fog. I continued about half way up Third Burroughs and ventured off-piste to the north in an area where, in the past, late summer snow patches have had Baird's Sandpipers - this year - no old snow patches (a 'skiff' of fresh stuff still in the northside rocks) and no birds whatsoever. Three more goats accompanied me back up and over Second Burroughs where I managed to find one nice Horned Lark - my only real alpine bird of the day. Coming back across the flat top of First B., heading down toward Shadow Lake, I spooked another group of probable HOLA and a single Am. Robin. One Red-breasted Nuthatch was working the fir cones in the tops of trees near the stone overlook. From there back to the parking lot was completely bird-free, although an earlier birder there had seen several Dark-eyed Juncos. Near the parking lot, we had a quick flyby of a probable Merlin, just as more serous rain descended. So... nice fall hike (no flowers, tundra is brown from drought), brief glimpses of the tortured glaciers, dusted in fresh snow, few birds, but about 80 goats seen! Always a great place to be!! - Jon Houghton, Edmonds

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