[Tweeters] Okonogan trip

Stefan Schlick greenfant at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 5 00:50:38 PDT 2005

Here some of the better birds I encountered while on a 
birding/hiking/backpacking trip in the Okanogan this July 4th-weekend:

-Pine Grosbeak (1 female at Meadows CG - Hart's Pass feeding low at the 
south edge of the burn; 1 male at meadow area at Washington Pass)
-Blue Grouse (2 seen at close range on Hidden Lake trail in Paysaten 
Wilderness about 4.5mi from Billygoat* trailhead; heard at Rainy Pass trail 
head off US20)
-Spruce Grouse (1 female seen sitting on trail, Hidden Lake trail in 
Paysaten Wilderness about 1.8mi from Billygoat* trailhead)
-Ruffed Grouse (2 off FR5130 north of Winthrop 2mi beyond Honeymoon CG)
-Three-toed Woodpecker (off FR39, 1 at 0.25mi west of FR39 & FR3810 and 1 at 
MP 15.5 at the south end of the Thunder Mtn burn)
-Boreal Chickadee (2 about 1mi north of Tiffany Springs CG)
-Veery (1 along FR37 about 2mi south of where the pavement ends)
-Gray Catbird (3 at Mac Lloyd Park in Winthrop; 1 at Riser Lake NW of 
Winthrop - also there were 1 Least and 1 Western SP, Cinnamon Teals and many 
Vesper Sparrows)
-Lincoln's Sparrow (2 at Roger Lake, FR 39)
-Red-naped Sapsucker, Hairy and Pileated Woodpecker at Rainy Pass

The road up to Hart's Pass (FR5400) offers exceptional birding. Within a 
short time, I had a great assortment of birds like Yellow, Nashville, 
MacGillivray's, Townsend's and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-headed 
Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Pine Siskin, Swainson's and Varied Thrushes, 
Western Tanager, Rufous Hummingbird, Hammond's and Olive-sided Flycatchers, 
Cassin's and Warbling Vireo and Western Wood-Pewee. One particularly 
productive spot was a gravel turnout 4.2mi up the road from where the 
pavement ends. At the pass itself and in the burn, there were Ruby-crowned 
Kinglet, Mountain Bluebird, Chipping Sparrow, Pine Siskin again, Cassin's 
Finch, Hermit Thrush and Mountain Chickadee. I searched hard for Three-toed 
Woodpecker in the burn, but could only find Flickers and Hairies. Towards 
and on Slate Peak, I found Savannah and Fox Sparrows and American Pipit, yet 
no White-tailed Ptarmigan.

*Just as birdy is FR5130 which branches off W Chugach Rd north of Winthrop 
en route to the Billygoat trailhead. The paved portion of FR5130 is mainly 
Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine and as you go further up Eight Mile Ck on 
gravel, the pines fizzle out and it gets wetter so that there are even some 
Red-Cedars mixed in. About 2-3mi from Billygoat Corral are some lush meadows 
and - a lot of birds. There is no substantial elevation gain until about 1mi 
to Billygoat trailhead. I roughly had the same low and mid-elevation birds 
listed above (plus Pacific-slope Flycatchers). At the trailhead itself (el. 
4600), where you will find your first Silver Firs and Lodgepole Pines, you 
will start seeing Clark's Nutcrackers, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and such, yet 
you are nowhere near boreal forest. This valley is well worth a trip!

Stefan Schlick
Bellevue, WA

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