[Tweeters] Foothills Trail in Pierce County 9/20/06

Marv Breece mbreece at earthlink.net
Thu Sep 21 08:00:41 PDT 2006

Yesterday (20 Sept 2006) MaryFrances Mathis and I birded the Foothills Trail beginning in South Prairie in Pierce County.  Charlie Wright wrote a fine article about this splendid birding location.  The article is in Volume 14, Number 2 (Summer 2006) of the Washington Birder.  By the way, the latest issue of Washington Birder is in the final stages of completion.  For further information on Washington Birder, email washingtonbirder at hotmail.com.  It's a wonderful resource for Washington birding info.  

We parked at the east end of the trail, at a well marked parking lot in South Prairie.  South Prairie is located a few miles SE of Bonney Lake.  Easy to find.  Rain threatened all morning, but a few sprinkles did not get us very wet.  We walked a portion of the trail going west; perhaps 2.5 miles one way.  Then we drove west on Hwy 162 (aka Pioneer Way) and parked in a small gravel lot near the RR trestle and walked the trail going east as far as the wetland.  This gravel lot (really a pull-off) is on the north side of the highway, just a couple miles or so west of South Prairie.  

Our timing was fortunate.  We observed wave after wave of migrating warblers.  Seven warbler species in all, but predominately BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER.  Easily 50 black-throated grays, and quite possibly as many as 100 or more.  Second in number was the ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, with perhaps 10-20 each of the other 5 species.  We found no unexpected warbler species.  

We had WARBLING, HUTTON'S and CASSIN'S VIREOS, but not in numbers.  Also a few HERMIT and SWAINSON'S THRUSHES.  We had perhaps 8 to 10 WESTERN TANAGERS.  Seven of the common sparrows, including one GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW.  56 species total for the Foothills Trail.

Along a stream at the east edge of South Prairie was an AMERICAN DIPPER.

On the return trip we saw a single WESTERN SCRUB-JAY in Sumner.  Also a subadult PEREGRINE FALCON in Renton in the process of coughing up a pellet.

Mike Denny says something like: "NOW GET OUT THERE AND GO BIRDING"

It was a good day.

Marv Breece
Seattle, WA
mbreece at earthlink.net
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