August 03, 2014

WA County Mountain Birding

Last week we headed to the mountains (again!), but this time we were armed with a GPS, maps, four wheel drive, and lots of good food. We have been in search of some mountain specialties that are not easy to find in Washington County. We wanted to see: Hermit Warbler, Townsend's Solitaire, Mountain Quail, Ruffed Grouse, and Northern Pygmy-Owl. We decided to try the highest point in the county which is South Saddle Mountain. The roads in this part of the county wind in and out of Tillamook County so the GPS was essential to make sure we saw our target birds in our county. Whew.

Up on South Saddle Mountain you could barely make out Mt. Hood in the distance. We walked to the radio towers at the top which is 3516' according to the GPS. This is the view of east South Saddle Mountain:
We walked all over the place and drove all over the mountain roads and enjoyed a beautiful sunny day. We were only able to get Hermit Warbler though. A pesky Townsend's Solitaire made itself known to us, but we were in Tillamook County!

But we were not discouraged and if anything we were motivated to get back out there with that GPS! Today we drove to Round Top Road west of Timber and made our way up the mountains. Before the sun was even up we heard a Northern Pygmy-Owl and saw a covey of Mountain Quail on the road.

 Later we saw another covey and this little guy was trying to hide in the brush while I got his photo.

The valley was fogged in and it was actually warmer up in the mountains than down lower.

 White-crowned Sparrows in some nice morning light.

 A family of House Wrens put on an entertaining show for us in the down wood.

And of course Hermit Warblers were easy to spot today. We finally heard a Townsend's Solitaire in WA County, although we never could track him down.

Other nature fascinations along the way included this giant log that had a tidy mound of wood shavings below it. I watched as two ants at two separate holes mined the sawdust and dumped it out the hole. I wish I had my macro lens with me for that.

Mountain sunshine.
Good birds, good weather, and always the best food and company!


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  2. Wow, the quail chick looks like it was drawn by Dr. Seuss!

  3. Ah, I'm so psyched for your county year!! Congrats on all the new birds- and the quail photos! I think I saw the same House Wren family and I seriously have almost same butterfly photo. Very cool fog shots. Go Team Michight! Dwichele?

  4. A beautiful, peaceful the bird and butterfly shots!


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