[Tweeters] So Why no birds?

jimbetz at jimbetz.com jimbetz at jimbetz.com
Mon Aug 15 12:53:34 PDT 2022

Hi all,

We took a walk up and back down the Barr Creek Falls trail near
Rockport yesterday. Nice trail about 1.2 miles long with about
300 feet of elevation change in one direction ... at the top of
it there is a nice little waterfall area. Definitely worth your
time to walk/hike this one if you are in the Rockport area. It's
a fairly steep area - almost every step gained some elevation
going up but it was not a strenuous climb and I did not get
winded nor break a sweat. But when reading about Barr Creek
they said "too steep for salmon or trout" and there was no
evidence of any fish in the creek.
The entire area had lots of moss and the trees - both evergreen
and deciduous were tall with at least 50 feet of clear area
before the canopy.
There is a small parking area big enough for 3 or 4 cars that
is marked with Skagit Land Trust signs. And the Trust work
crews have recently put in quite a bit of work on the trails.
This trail used to be the lower section of the old Sauk Mountain
Wilderness trail - and the trail from above the land trust
area that goes up to the Wilderness is not maintained. We did
not go far enough to find out if it is passable. You might
find you can not find the trail for some distances - so be
prepared for some tough going if you go above the land trust
area ... ? IIRC it also gets steeper.


Soooo - we saw ZERO birds in the hour or so we spent on this
hike. The bottom starts only a little above the level of the
Skagit River and climbs thru a brushy area to a more open
area at the top but still with brush. There are ferns, berry
bushes (both huckleberry and salmon berry), small plants, etc.
There were no berries on either type of bush. There were lots
of insects and many plants had seeds or flowers that will
produce seeds soon. No birds up high in the canopy also (yes,
I took the time to stop and watch long enough that I would have
seen movement if there was any. Similar, other than the
occasional crow/raven, almost no birds along the roadway driving
from Burlington to Marblemount and then back down the South
Skagit Highway to Highway 9. No bird calls or songs. Zip
Zero. Nada.

Also - this trail is not thru an area that has lots of human
traffic. We saw no one else and heard no one else - not even
sounds from the homes along Conrad Rd at the bottom. We did
smell smoke at one point which was probably from someone/thing
burning at one of the homes - very light but distinctly "wood
burning somewhere".


I have noticed this same phenomenon -many- times when walking
in the -wooded- areas of the PNW. Most of those walks, like this
one, are thru older trees (last logged a 100 years ago or so)
but I've noticed the same thing in truly old growth areas such
as the River Loop trail in Newhalem.
We also did not see any small mammals - although it is likely
that there were voles/etc. and we just didn't see them. Did not
hear any squirrels or chipmunks. Did not hear a hawk or eagle
cry. Nor even a crow/raven. Did not see a vulture all day
until we got back to Sedro Woolley.

Soooo ... wrong time of year? ... wrong time of day? ???

Is there a time of year when these forests are more populated
with birds?
- Jim

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