[Tweeters] Skagit in the Snoqualmie valley...sparrows, shrike, etc.

Jim Flynn merlinmania at comcast.net
Sat Jan 6 19:43:59 PST 2018

Hi Tweets,
I led a Rainier Audubon field trip in the Snoqualmie valley around Carnation today. When I set the trip up I figured it would be a good way to get my King County year list kicked off and also a safe bet for a January trip as there was less chance we would encounter ice and snow than if we had gone to the Skagit or something. Well, unlike many plans, this one worked out pretty well.
In all, we saw 60 species in a casual 8Am-5PM trip leaving from Renton. The weather, which was cloudy with only a very brief period of sprinkling rain and no wind, was as good as could be expected in January and the birds were better than expected.
A few of the highlights include:
MERLIN - one eating prey (possibly a Junco) along W. Snoqualmie River Rd, just North of SE 19th. Great scope views!
3-4 accipiters, including scope views of both immature and adult COOPER'S HAWKs. Ideal for the beginners on the trip.
SHORT-EARED OWL - sparring with a Raven and perching for great looks. Lifer for some. Just west of Sikes Lk.
NORTHERN SHRIKE - adult perched distantly, north of NE 1OOth St, just east of W Snoq. Valley Rd
HARRIS'S SPARROW - along NE 60th St, north of Carnation. Just east of the intersection with Stewart Ave is a white gate with No trespassing signs. We stood there and saw lots of sparrows feeding around the cement block building on the property. the small building is getting overgrown with blackberries, etc. birds were all around it, as well as closer to the road and even north of 60th, feeding in the grass and shrubs. At the same site was the following species...
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW - two tan-stripers and a white-striped form. Same area as the Harris's Sparrow.
Lots of other highlights with more common birds like Mourning Dove, Western Meadowlark, calling (grunting, really) Hooded Mergansers in display, scads of Common Mergansers (mostly gorgeous red-billed, white males) All in all, a great day!
good birding,
Jim Flynn
Seattle, WA

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