[Tweeters] Skagit 3-toed, etc

Gary Bletsch garybletsch at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 22 18:19:02 PDT 2011

Dear Tweeters,

Today (8-22-2011) I walked part way up the Pacific Coast Trail from Rainy Pass, toward Cutthroat Pass. For the first time ever, I decided not to bother going all the way to the pass. The birds I was looking for have seldom appeared up in the alpine area of this hike, being more forest birds.

Highlights included 3 THREE-TOED WOODPECKERS, lots of MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES, and the first CASSIN'S FINCHES that I have seen along that particular stretch of trail.

My one disappointment was in missing the Pine Grosbeak. I usually do find a few of these if I do this hike in August. Since I took about five hours to cover five miles of prime Pine Grosbeak habitat, I am wondering if the birds are present up there this year.

The log "bridge" over Porcupine Creek at about two miles is indeed busted, bent into a shallow "V," but as of today it is finally possible to ford this stream with no trouble--only a quarter-inch or so of water was running over the stones there.

One adult male Three-toed Woodpecker was about a quarter mile past the busted bridge. On my walk back, there was another adult male a few hundred meters below the busted bridge, in an area where small rivulets or seeps flow down the steep hillside. Not far from this adult male was a juvenile.

The Mountain Chickadees were in two places. A flock was at the first big meadow one passes as one begins the hike, just before the trail bends right and starts following the creek. Another was at a point beyond the busted bridge, where a large boulder field is reached via a way trail leading left from the main trail, at a switchback by a large, fallen tree. Here also were three Cassin's finches and two Olive-sided Flycatchers.

Other birds seen on this hike were2 Red-shafted Flicker, many Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Red-breasted Nuthatches, several Varied and one Hermit Thrush, a few Golden-crowned Kinglets, a juvenile Ruby-crowned Kinglet, a Western Tanager, a very few Oregon Juncoes, plus Pine Siskins and Evening Grosbeaks. Warblers included a very few Townsend's and Yellow-rumped. The better warbler-watching area is well past where I turned around. There were also two parties of Grey Jays and three Clark's Nutcrackers.

To find the woodpeckers, it was necessary to walk very quietly and listen for the tapping. To find most of the passerines, it was necessary to do some pishing and pygmy-owl tooting. I found very few birds in between pishing sessions--it was quiet up there.

On the drive back, I visited the Hardy Burn gravel area, which was quiet, just before a heavy rain began. I saw a few Evening Grosbeaks, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Cassin's Finch, and little else.

If you go up there, be prepared for some very annoying highway delays. It seems to me that the company doing the road construction up there is overdoing the pilot-car routine, making the delays longer than they really have to be. Must have presented a heck of a low bid!

Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch

 Near Lyman, Washington (Skagit County), USA garybletsch at yahoo.com Mentre che li occhi per la fronda verde
ficcava ïo sì come far suole
chi dietro a li uccellin sua vita perde, lo più che padre mi dicea: «Figliuole,
vienne oramai, ché ’l tempo che n’è imposto
più utilmente compartir si vuole».  

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