[Tweeters] Mt. Adams trip and thoughts of Patrick Sullivan

khanh tran khanhbatran at hotmail.com
Tue Sep 25 16:23:34 PDT 2007

Hi Tweeters,

This weekend, my partner and I had a nice trip to the Mt. Adams Wilderness 
area. The days were clear and sunny with a hint of an autumn breeze.  
Variegated leaves from the huckleberries vibrantly blazoned the meadows with 
pleasing colors. The evening was lit with a full moon and bright stars 
casting wonderful shadows of the coniferous trees around our campsite.   
Mornings were in the low 30’s with icicles forming near the mossy and rocky 
flanked streams.

We started from the Cold Springs Campground and made the gradual ascent to 
explore the southeast side of the impressive mountain for white tailed 
ptarmigans.  However, as soon as I got above treeline, the hopes of finding 
the alpine grouse became discouraging. It was extremely dried and devoid of 
lush vegetations and prominent streams.

After hiking and clambering for more than 2 miles above treeline on scree 
and unmarked trails, I simply ran out of energy. However, it was simply 
exhilarating to be up that high and the thought of having a nice, cold 
daiquiri triggered my mind.

We were short of another 2 miles to ideal ptarmigan habitat near Sunrise 
Camp where several climbers had reported seeing them. Looking at the 
detailed map, this one of the few areas above treeline of Mount Adams where 
there is any form of vegetation for the birds to feed and survive.  I will 
be better prepared for next year as this hike requires a lot of effort.

For all our hard work and efforts, we were rewarded with several WHITE 
WINGED CROSSBILLS of immatures and adults near the Crooked Creek area.  
Other birds include a female PINE GROSBEAK at 6500 ft elevation.

Otherwise, birding was mediocre with several flocks of evening grosbeaks, 
pine siskins, red crossbills, water pipits, golden crowned and fox sparrows. 
  Raptors included one dark MERLIN, several accipiters, and red tailed 
hawks.  We flushed one female sooty grouse on the way out.

It was a great weekend but I was truly saddened and shocked to discover the 
news of Patrick’s death upon my return.

Patrick was always an inspiration to me. He was a highly skilled and 
talented birder who was always helpful but humble. I was very lucky to bird 
with him on a couple of occasions.  We enjoyed each other companies as we 
are both the same age, started birding at a young age, and are somewhat shy 
in a large group setting.

On the last occasion near Winthrop, WA, Patrick and I both bushwhacked 
through open fields of juniper and thick grass to watch a male dusky grouse 
display.  It was a very special moment for Patrick, Ruth and I.  We all 
attentively watched the grouse perform his spectacular display for quite 
awhile. I knew from this experience, his reaction and passion for birds was 
more than getting a check mark on a bird list.

It was Patrick's unmatched enthusiasm, passion, and sense of adventure 
towards birding that inspired and triggered me to have a strong interest in 
birding Washington this past year. His detailed and colorful postings always 
piqued my interests.

I cannot think of anyone who can match his amazing, uncanny birding ability 
throughout my 25 years of birding.

I hope many Tweeters will continue that spirit of being giving, kind, and 
generous to others. I know I will always feel that spirit wherever I bird 
because of his profound influence and how much it has enriched my life and 
well being.

I will greatly miss him and send my love and prayers to Ruth.


Good birding,

Khanh Tran (Portland, Oregon)

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