[Tweeters] Noble Knob area Sept 11 & 12

Eugene and Nancy Hunn enhunn323 at comcast.net
Sun Sep 14 11:30:40 PDT 2008


Thanks for the detailed posting. Could the owls have been Long-eared? There
have been a number of recent sightings of flocks of Long-eared Owls near
timberline in the Blue Mountains above Walla Walla and perhaps elsewhere.
Seems there may be a pattern here.

Noble Knob is in Pierce County about 5 miles sw of Naches Pass, on the King
County line.

Gene Hunn

18476 47th Pl. NE

Lake Forest Park, WA

enhunn323 at comcast.net

From: tweeters-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu
[mailto:tweeters-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Mark Vernon
Sent: Sunday, September 14, 2008 10:23 AM
To: Tweeters at u.washington.edu
Subject: [Tweeters] Noble Knob area Sept 11 & 12

Noble Knob is a small mountain just north of the border of the Norse Peak
Wilderness and Corral Pass. It's top was the former site of a fire look out,
now gone. From the top you can get a great panorama of the Cascades that
includes Mt. Rainier, Glacier Peak, Mt. Stuart, Snoqualmie Pass and the
marvelously shaped Kelly Butte that appears on TWEETERS from time to time. I
spent two days on a family camping trip in this area, we camped at the
nearby Lake George, or is it George Lake? We have been coming here for many
years and have always said the former.

We came from the north side, from road 7222. The weather was perfect. The
trail up yielded Golden-crowned Kinglets and Red-breasted Nuthatches. A lone
Hermit Thrush seemed somewhat tame. During a break looking at a looming Mt.
Rainier, 3 Clark's Nutcrackers flew overhead. A lone Empid Flycatcher
perched in a tree nereby, possibly a Hammond's. Near our approuch to the
lake a Blue Grouse was flushed up. I did not get a good enough look to tell
if it was Sooty or Dusky.

Lake George had many Yellow-rumped "Audubon's" Warblers. There were some
Mountain Chickadees but not as many as I expected. Oregon Juncos were the
most common bird. Of course Gray Jays came to visit. A pale Red-tailed Hawk
landed in a tree above the talus slope causing Hoary Marmots to whistle
their alarm.

On the first evening I climbed up to the trail on the west side of Noble
Knob's ridge. It was very warm as the sun went down. I saw a herd of 10
Mountain Goats in a steep meadow on the side of a small mountain, due south
of Noble Knob. way down below, to the west, is another small lake. A pair of
Elk were splashing in the water, their two calves ran into the lake to join
them. It looked like a family group at play. Is this elklike behavior? The
male was splashing his front hooves and the others splashed all around him.

That night we slept in the open at Lake George. It was a nice night and the
moon came out. A pair of Owls started flying noiselessly above our sleeping
bags. They swooped all aound in circles sometimes landing in nearby trees
and once on the ground. They never called out but kept this up for a good
hour! We could see their shape well because of the moon. They had round
heads and long, more narrow wings. I really think that they were Short-eared
Owls. They were definately not Great Horned Owls and their wings were
certainly not Barred or Spotted Owls. Very wonderful to see!

The next day we went up to Noble Knob itself. It is kind of sad that the top
was blasted for the building of a look out tower that was eventually
destroyed. I wonder what the top had looked like? 2 more Mountain Goats
appeared near the top just as we were setting out. Just to the south of the
Knob is a sort of pass where a number of trails meet, including the way to
go to Corral Pass and Castle Mountain. Here were some birds running through
the grass, American Pipits. I counted 26 in one flock. two Townsend's
Solitaires were perched nearby. Chipping Sparrows were also here. 3 Cooper's
Hawks seemed to rule the roost and swooped at everything nearby including
Ravens, Turkey Vultures and Red-tailed Hawks. A large Falcon Swooped
through, I think it was a peregrine but I didn't get a good enough look to
see if it was a Prairie. Lone Turkey Vultures had been moving through all
day, but suddenly a group of 6 circled all around Noble Knob before moving
away to the north. A single Band-tailed Pigeon also appeared.

One of our goals was to pick Black Huckleberries and Mountain Blueberries.
This time most of the berries weren't quite ready and possibly it wasn't as
good of a crop this year. We did manage enough for a pie. Varied Thrush sang
for us on the way back down.

Some birds I didn't find were Townsend's Warblers, Swifts, and Swallows.

Mark Vernon

Renton, WA

mailto ma_vern at yahoo.com

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