[Tweeters] Prairie Falcons, Townsend's Warblers at Goat Rocks

Gary Wiles wilesharkey at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 6 21:47:07 PDT 2007


Jan Sharkey, Maryanne Steele and I did a 3-day hiking trip into the Goat
Rocks Wilderness in eastern Lewis County over the Labor Day weekend and
birded in both directions along the Lilly Basin trail to Goat Lake (6,400
ft). Our most notable observation was a pair of Prairie Falcons seen on
several occasions near Goat Lake on Sunday. At one point, the birds were
repeatedly seen chasing one another high along a distant ridge, suggesting
they might have been a resident pair. This area was a mix of steep alpine
and subalpine slopes.

In lower elevation (4,500-5,000 ft) fir forests on Monday, I encountered 3
large mixed flocks of songbirds that were each strongly dominated by
Townsend's Warblers. I saw about 40 Townsend's (probably many more were
present) in the largest of these, which conveniently lingered around me
for 20 minutes. I've never seen this species so abundant before! The
flocks also contained small numbers of Red-breasted Nuthatches, plus a few
Western Tanagers, Nashville Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers, and just a
single Yellow-rumped Warbler.

We also had brief looks at 6-8 unidentified accipiters (probably both
Coopers and Sharp-shinned) and five Red-tailed Hawks, all of which were
presumably migrating based on their general southward movement. A final
highlight was a pair of Great-horned Owls that called for several hours
near out tents on the first night. Outstanding scenery, plus the birds,
made for a great weekend!

Gary Wiles
Olympia, WA
wilesharkey at yajoo.com

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