[Tweeters] Chelan County birding: Lake Valhalla and Mount McCausland

Tim Brennan tsbrennan at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 1 19:44:45 PDT 2016

Hey all!

Nothing crazy to report from the trip, but we made the trip from the Smithbrook trailhead to Lake Valhalla above Stevens Pass, then made the side trip up to Mount McCausland before calling it a day. Mosquitos aplenty, so do be warned. Before reaching the trailhead, we did find a clearing with a 2-3 Orange-crowned Warblers singing - a new year bird for me in the county. Over the course of the whole hike, Hermit and Varied Thrushes provided the soundtrack nearly constantly, and we got one more thrush singing at the very top of Mount McCausland - a Townsend's Solitaire! It was my first time getting to hear the complex warbling song from them, and I almost wrote it off as a finch. Ruby-crowned Kinglets were singing on the hike to the summit - and far lower down in a meadow I had the only other new county bird for the day - Lincoln's Sparrow, which was also a new song for me.

8.2 miles in all, and my ankle is pretty cranky with me. Thank god I didn't tack on a couple more miles with the through route! No swifts, no creepers, no Red-Breasted sapsuckers (although I waited for nearly ten minutes near a tree where I could hear the chatter of baby birds right next to a tree with rows and rows of sapsucker holes... Never saw one fly in), or Clark's Nutcrackers or Pygmy-Owls, so I have plenty of birds near the crest to keep looking for!

The views were pretty amazing, although they will be enjoyed more from the pictures than from the moments where we stood still long enough to take those pictures, as the mosquitos worked quite hard to find holes in our screen of bug repellent.

Footsore in Renton

Tim Brennan

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