[Tweeters] [attempted] hawkwatch at Windy Gap [King/Kittitas] today --

Matt Bartels mattxyz at earthlink.net
Sun Sep 27 19:23:19 PDT 2015

Hi Tweets -
I opted to take advantage of the nice day to give a try at a hawkwatch up on Windy Gap today, up on the cascade crest along the se corner of King County.
I arrived at 8:30 and there was still frost on the ground - stayed in roughly the same spot until 3:00 --
Overall, as happens a lot with hawk-watching and birding Windy Gap, you don't always find the birds -- perhaps too late in the season, perhaps due to it being the 2nd consecutive clear day [no backlog of birds to move through], perhaps just luck of the draw.

That said, despite being really quiet, there were highlights:
Within the first 30 minutes, 2 of the best birds showed up. First a Merlin zoomed in and perched nicely. Then in came an immature Goshawk. The Merlin harrassed the Gos for a bit then moved on. The Goshawk stuck around, posing for great scope views for several minutes. I took it as a good sign for more raptors to come.
Except they didn't. Over the next 6 hours I saw:
1 Cooper's Hawk
3-ish Red-tailed Hawks [one immature seemed to be hanging around, so there might have been more if I was too conservative]
1 Golden Eagle, staying stubbornly on the Kittitas side of the county line but giving great views.

That's all for raptors. Oh well.

Other birds were pretty quiet as well --
10 Clark's Nutcrackers flew through - one loud group of 4 early, one silent group of 6 later
A few Horned Larks were mixed in with the many American Pipits hanging around
just a few Cassin's Finch present this time
a Red-breasted Sapsucker was somewhat unusual up at this location.
I heard Mountain Bluebirds a couple times, but never got a glimpse.

Fun day , even if quiet, with amazing views of Rainier all day long -- almost thought to stick around for the Blood Moon, but opted for home.

Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA

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