[Tweeters] Naches Pass area last Friday (mostly King County) - 7/1/2016

Evan Houston evanghouston at gmail.com
Fri Jul 8 21:21:36 PDT 2016

Hi Tweeters,

Ryan Merrill and Scott Ramos joined me for an adventurous trip to the
Naches Pass area, the far SE corner of King County, last Friday, 7/1/2016.
An early start (meeting at 4am!) allowed us to be at the Government Meadows
area early, which is a good idea in the breeding season. Later, we went to
the Windy Gap area, followed by Kelly Butte.

A full day of birding in this area in decent weather conditions always
seems to yield a fun and productive day. Here are the highlights:

- Mammals! Driving back from Kelly Butte, all 3 of us simultaneously
noticed a large rabbit-sized dark brown mammal. What is that! It was a
Mountain Beaver, which was a "lifer" for 2 of us. We also had great views
of several Snowshoe Hares, and on the predator end of things, a large
Bobcat checked us out, video by Scott here:

- Northern Pygmy-Owl - We found it on the road, right after it had taken
down a vole that must have been close to the weight of the owl itself!

- Vaux's Swift - Great views below eye level from a few feet away at the
"mountain tarn" below Windy Gap - this site is a fairly consistent spot to
marvel at these aerodynamic swifts as they wend their way down from the sky
to snatch sips of water.

- hybrid Red-naped x Red-breasted Sapsuckers - We couldn't find any birds
that looked close to pure Red-napeds, but there were a number of
Red-breasteds and a few of these hybrids.

- BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER - One called and perched briefly for us at the
far end of Government Meadows

- DUSKY FLYCATCHER - Ryan and I decided to do the steep hike up the initial
part of Kelly Butte to see if there were any Rock Wrens around (nope).
Turns out we should've relaxed at the trailhead with Scott, because he
found the Dusky - I don't think there's too many breeding-season records of
this species in King

- Mountain Bluebird - Several at Windy Gap, a consistent spot for this
showy species

- Townsend's Solitaire - Several in the Kelly Butte area, always fun to
hear them sing

- Nashville Warbler - A probable family group on the walk in to Government
Meadows, a tough bird to come by in the breeding season in King

- Chipping Sparrow - Seems to be a good year for them up there, Ryan
tallied a total of 19 at our various stops

- Pine Grosbeak - A showy bright red male perched up for great scope views
at Government Meadows. Amazing how far his voice carried on this still

- Cassin's Finch - Several at Government Meadows

If you want pictures, check out the first 36 photos by Scott in this album:

Feel free to email me directly if you want a write-up by Matt Bartels and
Gene Hunn that has site descriptions and directions.

Good birding,
Evan Houston
Seattle, WA
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