|Aladdin Valley - earrrrllly|
Big Meadow Lake
|Trail at Meadow Lake|
|Meadows at Big Meadow Lake|
The path broke to a small opening where I had Willow Flycatchers (10), a Red-naped Sapsucker (11), and a Raven (12), before going back into some deeper conifers. In here, I got a lot of the birds I know from home: Black-capped Chickadee (13), Townsend's Warbler (14), Brown Creeper (15), Chestnut-backed Chickadee (16), Pacific Wren (17), Red-Breasted Nuthatch (18), and Golden-crowned Kinglet (19) are all birds I see in my yard in Renton. A Mountain Chickadee (20) made it a three chickadee morning, just in that stretch of the trail!
|...not a Hairy Woodpecker (varmint sp?)|
As the path went past the lake, I picked up two more birds - a Northern Flicker (33), and a bird I had to record (my camera has a video feature - why didn't I use it more??) - Northern Waterthrush (!)(34). It was yet another warbler that would not show itself on this trip. I pished, but it reallly didn't seem to care, and after 5-10 minutes, with a recording in hand, I figured it was time to head out.
I eventually made it to some forest roads with some clear cuts and clearing off to the right side of the road. Following them in, and away from the sound of the river, I caught two species that I wouldn't see anywhere else in the county - Fox Sparrow (44), and a very loud Olive-sided Flycatcher (45). I got very excited thinking I had Golden Eagles at one point, but nope - Red-tailed Hawks (46). Back at the main road, and a truck passed me. (???) How did the truck get here? I walked a little farther for Orange-crowned Warbler (47), and when the truck came back, I flagged him down and got a ride back down!
|Bad decision rewarded!|
We chatted about Bunchgrass meadows, and he spoke excitedly about what great habitiat it was (Western Tanagers are his favorite bird there). Apparently there was significant snow before even getting to the meadows, so I really did luck out here with this ride. I got back to my car at 11:30, and pondered where to go from there.
Sullivan Lake and Sullivan Creek
|Sullivan Lake - Pend Oreille County|
The first bit of snow was really not that bad. 200-250 feet of snow that would probably be gone by the time the Washington Ornithological Society made their field trip up here next week. Then it was clear road for 1/2 mile? Hard to say. For whatever reason this walk was a Very Important part of my trip, and I lost track of mileage and time a little. Eventually, the road did get to some serious snow. I looked longingly across it, and hoped for at least one more bird before I had to turn around. My favorite birds of all started singing for me in the trees - Varied Thrushes (54) sending their haunting, fluting sounds from their hiding places up in the trees in this beautiful snowy place. I don't know if I could do a very good job of explaining why all of this combined to bring me to tears, and I'll probably tear up again if you ask me about it, as I am even now typing about it.
|As far as my feet would take me today|
Evening in Pend Oreille
It should be noted at this point that I was heading into the late afternoon and evening not having picked up an American Redstart or a MacGillivray's Warbler. Spoiler alert - I left the county without them. I think at this point that I had just become unreasonably fed up with all of the warblers. They were singing and hiding, and I decided that, unless an American Redstart was going to come up and kiss me on the cheek, that I was very well going to get to 100 species without them. I'm sure they were everywhere, and if someone could summon up audio replay of my day, they would be staggered by how many of these birds I passed. This decision, however, was the only way I was going to enjoy the rest of this little quest, even if it led to failure in the end...
Metaline gave me a Barn Swallow (56), a Brown-headed Cowbird (57), and a Brewers Blackbird (58). The people of Metaline gave me directions back into Metaline Falls to the Circle Motel where I was staying (Jill, the GPS girl, had never heard of the place, unfortunately... Mappy was once again shaking his head on my passenger seat, wondering why we needed Jill on this trip). I got a shower, and looked at what I had, and what I had left. There were still some hours of light, and there might be some owls to be had. Calispell Peak Road was described as a pretty treacherous road, but it might have Barred Owl, Northern Pygmy-Owl, and maybe some other high altitude species like Gray Jay. I thought there were some other birds I might be able to pick up along the way, so I grabbed a quick shower (aaahhhh), a 10 minute nap (yes, that actually works for me) and got on my way down the Pend Oreille.
|Common Goldeneye - Sportsman's Pond - Pend Oreille County|
75 species in a day! I don't think I've done that before, let alone in a place that I haven't previously explored. I looked over what I had left, and actually jotted down notes on warbler songs (those notes were not used), and flycatcher calls (now those, I did use), and wondered if I had a chance to find 25 morespecies in Pend Oreille before heading down to Whitman County to camp the next night.
Gratuitous flower shots