[Tweeters] 5 species of woodpeckers on Bethel Ridge

wheelermombi at comcast.net wheelermombi at comcast.net
Sat Oct 2 20:16:50 PDT 2010

Hi Tweeters,

Myself and Dave and Sherry Hayden headed out early this morning to go on a woodpecker quest along Bethel Ridge Rd. off of Hwy 12.  We weren't disappointed.  We spent several hours slowly birding up and down the main and side roads.  At one of our stops, opposite from the junction with road # 1304 (a couple of miles from the junction with Hwy 12), we saw 2 BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKERS, 1 HAIRY WOODPECKER, AND 1 N. FLICKER.  Also seen were EVENING GROSBEAKS and MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES.

Just under 3 miles from the Hwy 12 intersection is a grove of aspens on the left where I had seen Williamson's Sapsuckers on 2 occasions earlier this year.  While we did not see that species anywhere today, we did get some great looks at a RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER and 2 more BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKERS.  We also heard 2 woodpeckers calling in the distance (they never came into view) that had a double-note call (kind of similar to that of a Western Tanager) that sounded to us like White-headed Woodpeckers.  In addition, we spotted a CLARK'S NUTCRACKER in the area.

Farther up-slope, we turned off on the road to the microwave tower and birded the burn area in several places.  We were rewarded with at least 5 more BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKERS, totaling at least 9 individuals for the day.  Of these, only 1 was an adult male.  When he was in the sunlight, the yellow on his head seemed to glow.  While we watched, he was harassed by a HAIRY WOODPECKER and a few minutes later by a HERMIT THRUSH.  The Black-Backed Woodpeckers seemed to remain totally oblivious to us and often flew very close to where we were standing.  A couple of trees over from 1 of the females, we spotted a male A. THREE-TOED WOODPECKER, which allowed us fairly decent views before flying out of sight.  Other species seen in this area include RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER, N. FLICKER, EVENING GROSBEAK, CLARK'S NUTCRACKER, TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE, a juvenile MT. BLUEBIRD, PINE SISKIN, COOPER'S HAWK, RED-TAILED HAWK, and A. KESTREL.  We also had some great looks at several Pika, which has to be the cutest animal on the planet.  We could see a few stacks of grass on the talus slopes that they are preparing for the winter.

Hunting season has begun, so if you bird the area, wear appropriately bright clothing and be careful.  My son told me that a person was shot and killed in a hunting accident a couple of days ago north of Shelton by a hunter who apparently thought that he was shooting at a bear.

On that note, good birding,

Lonnie Somer


wheelermombi at comcast.net

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