[Tweeters] Mt. Rainier birding

khanh tran khanhbatran at hotmail.com
Sun Oct 28 21:40:28 PDT 2007

Hi Tweeters,

Today, I had a great hiking trip to Mt Rainier and birded around the Paradise area. The weather was very pleasant with plenty of much needed sun at 7200 ft.

En route to Paradise, I found a very cooperative NORTHERN PYGMY OWL shortly before dawn in the town of Ashford. It was perched about 8 feet of the ground right along the road as I was cruising down the highway.

My main quest for this trip was to find some winter plumage WHITE TAILED PTARMIGAN. Despite hiking up almost to Panorama point in 18 inches of snow, I could not find these snow dumplings nor tracks. I was hoping to find some females and young at lower elevation where there are some exposed vegetation such as alder or willow buds, but no fancy alpine chickens today. However, it was quite an invigorating hike.

However, for my efforts the consolation prize were two small flocks of COMMON REDPOLLS. One flock was flying around near the intersection of the Golden Gate and Skyline trail. The other flock was near the parking lot as I headed out. They were feeding in the low shrubs. Also, found a pair of CASSIN'S FINCH along this area.

Other birds of interest include one beautiful PRAIRIE FALCON perched on a tree top near the infamous switchbacks and one female SOOTY GROUSE along the Nisqually Vista Trail.

There were hundreds of PINE SISKINS circling around.

I walked into the closed Cougar Rock Campground and heard some PINE GROSBEAKS but could not find them.

It was quite a workout but I really enjoyed the scenery. No snow shoes were needed but gators and some walking poles are highly recommend. I pretty much had the whole mountain to myself. It was very peaceful.

Good birding,

Khanh Tran (Portland, Oregon)

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