[Tweeters] King County White-winged Crossbills

pan panmail at mailfence.com
Fri Dec 4 15:31:20 PST 2020


My favorite kind of information to post on Tweeters is the sort that might lead to someone else actually seeing the birds. I predict White-winged Crossbills will be along a few miles of road described below for some time, judging from the density of spruces and hemlocks bearing cones.

>From exit 34 on I-90, find your way to the road along the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River, where, within five minutes of me stepping out of the car at the Granite Creek Flats parking lot (Middle Fork Snoqualmie Natural Resources Conservation Area -- Discover Pass) across from the Granite Creek trailhead (about 11:40 a. m.), I was getting gorgeous views of about 40 up in some spruces (!). A passing Sharp-shinned Hawk may be why they flew shortly thereafter. In the half hour after I had lunch, I saw and heard similar flocks pass about four times, with one female perching atop a spruce and calling in her loneliness (a nasal veet! veet!, different from the more common calls more similar to Red Crossbill the flocks had been making) for about seven minutes, letting me get scope views.

As you may gather, it pays to know your botany. I'd been spending my second morning at Rattlesnake Lake hoping to pick through the flocks of Red Crossbills and Pine Siskins there, when a walker I'd seen both days started telling me about other nearby pretty places. I realized he knew a lot about the forest, and on a hunch took one of his suggestions, as it sounded like it could be habitat similar to where White-wingeds are being seen in Snohomish County. He hadn't mentioned tree species, but when I started seeing hemlocks become dominant, I started checking. When I started seeing spruces as co-dominants, I got excited. You know the result.

Again, these trees have a lot of cones along a few miles of this road. I didn't continue to see how much farther they extend. The road is paved. (The parking areas were surprisingly full for a weekday.) Good luck.

4 December, 2020,

Alan Grenon

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