[Tweeters] A Hairy kind of day - no Blackbacks off Swauk Pass today

Jon Houghton jon.houghton at hartcrowser.com
Fri Nov 4 21:14:42 PDT 2016

Hi Tweets - enthused by Mark Tamboulian's 10/18 post, we finally found the right day to head over to Blewett (Swauk) Pass today to look for the plethora of yellow spotted woodpeckers he reported. My first mistake was to think that you could get to Haney Meadows via FS 9712 out of Liberty. We took a long shortcut but heading up (east) 9707 to intersect 9712. En route, in very pleasant warm sunshine, we had ample views of Clark's Nutcrackers, Gray Jays, Ravens, and Steller's Jays, as well as our first of many Hairy Woodpeckers. Reaching 9712 and heading north, we expected to start seeing those yellow spotted WPs at every burn area, but, no luck with that, and we ended up at a major road washout - they really meant that road closed sign! Retracing our steps, we went up to Swauk Pass and took 9716 east - in retrospect, the route used by Mark. This road and the remainder of 9712, which we got on again above the washout, pass through perfect (looking) BBWO, (and Three-toed) habitat where Mark and others had recently seen multiple birds. We stopped frequently, looked, listened, and played BBWO calls but succeeded in finding only many more Hairys and corvids. Regrettably, we were a bit rushed by having spent 3 hours on the wrong approach. But, aside from the burned out look of a lot of it, these roads traverse some great scenery with fantastic views of the Stuart Range over bright orange and gold larches. I expect, as Mark said, the birds are there. I'll likely make another trip in the next few days (if the snow holds off) to spend a little more time looking. Happy Birding! - Jon Houghton, Edmonds

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