Trip Report
Sun Mountain 50K 2012
2012-05-20 10:00 for 6 hrs 50 mins (marathon) 60 sightings Methow Valley (WAOKMETV) Winthrop, WA (USA) Lat,Long: 48.46394,-120.25682 Map Elevation: 2000 feet
The Methow River drains the east side of the North Cascades from Lake Chelan to the Canadian border. Habitats include a ribbon of cottonwods along the river, pastures and residences in the valley, meadows with varying mixtures of bitterbrush, sagebrush and serviceberry on the lower hillsides with scattered groves of aspen, ponderosa pine forest and mixed coniferous forest. Mostly overcast, low 60's, light breeze. Several different loops on XC ski and hiking trails in the area of Patterson Lake about 3 miles WSW of the town of Winthrop. To see a map, browse to From the Chickadee trailhead we ran S along the lake then up Rader Creek and S to the head of the Thompson Creek drainage, then back down Rader Creek and NW past Gobbler's Knob, around and over the ridge topped by Sun Mountain Lodge, then back to Patterson Lake and up and down the NW slope of Patterson Ridge. Route was probably 50% mixed coniferous forest, 30% shrub-steppe, 15% riparian woodland and 5% water, hay fields and residential.
I carried binoculars and recorded species and counts during the run though I only counted for the first half, estimating counts for the remainder of the race. In the second half bird activity diminished somewhat though I added a dozen or more species. I identified most individuals by song. Counts are probably incomplete for many species, especially the common ones, and I didn't try to identify small birds flying overhead.
Canada Goose 20   Marshy SE end of Patterson Lake
Mallard 3   Patterson Lake
Dusky Grouse 2   One seen, another heard, displaying in pine-fir grove on Peterson Ridge. The bird I saw had dull (somewhat orangish) red air sacs, orange eye crests and a gray outline of a terminal band on the tail. Though the bird was on the ground the "voop" sound, deep and soft, seemed to be coming from 5-15 feet overhead.
Osprey 1   Dove into Patterson Lake and flew up with 8" trout
Red-tailed Hawk 1  
Golden Eagle 1   Adult soaring along Patterson Ridge
Spotted Sandpiper 1   Patterson Lake
Calliope Hummingbird 2   Open hillside w/ bitterbrush and serviceberry near Patterson Lake outlet. Small, short bill, no rufous.
Rufous Hummingbird 3   One with lots of chipping and buzzy flight sound, another with rufous wash. Open woods.
Belted Kingfisher 1   Near Patterson Lake
Red-naped Sapsucker 2   Wheezy nasal calls, tapping
Hairy Woodpecker 1   Calling
Northern Flicker 3  
Olive-sided Flycatcher 1   Perched in snag on Peterson Ridge
Western Wood-Pewee 2   Singing
Hammond's Flycatcher 12   Riparian and mixed coniferous forest. ID'd by songs with first phrase an emphatic two-syllable "sieeee-prrt", the second syllable much lower-pitched than the first.
Dusky Flycatcher 4   ID'd by first phrase of song "sieelip", the second note similar in pitch to the first. Open dry coniferous woods, mostly pine.
Western Kingbird 1   Riparian area along Patterson Lake outlet stream
Cassin's Vireo 4  
Warbling Vireo 5  
Steller's Jay 2   In pine-fir grove on Peterson Ridge
Common Raven 2  
Tree Swallow 4   Around Patterson Lake
Barn Swallow 30   Flock over open hillside above Patterson Lake
Mountain Chickadee 5  
Red-breasted Nuthatch 6  
Pygmy Nuthatch 2   Or more, calling in conifers
Rock Wren 1   Singing - distinctive repeated short musical trills
House Wren 6  
Pacific Wren 1   Singing in woods
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 3   Singing in riparian woods
Mountain Bluebird 12   Flock over open bitterbrush slope on Peterson Ridge.
Townsend's Solitaire 4   Singing in coniferous woods. Song was a long loose medium-pitched warble with call notes mixed in.
American Robin 5   Several singing
Orange-crowned Warbler 2   Singing in riparian and low mixed second growth
Nashville Warbler 10   Most identified by song, but some songs were probably mis-identified Yellow-rumps. In brushy areas near trees. Two-part trill, the second part faster than the first: "chiwee-chiwee-chiwee-chiwee-chiwee-tritritritritri"
MacGillivray's Warbler 2   Singing in thickets along or near streams. Rapid "churri churri churri churri chree chree" or something similar.
Yellow Warbler 8   Singing in mostly in aspen, cottonwood and willow
Yellow-rumped Warbler 15   Many singing. I called several different songs yellow-rumped including the soft warbling trill and various two-part musical trills in which the second part is shorter than the first. Some song variants are hard to distinguish from MacGillivray's and Nashville warbler songs.
Townsend's Warbler 15   Coniferous woods. Songs typically something like "sieeeei-sieeeei-treek-treek", not very buzzy. One bird foraging in riparian D Fir but not identified, was singing a more buzzy "zee-zee-zieeeee-zheezik", the third syllable ascending and drawn out.
Wilson's Warbler 1   Singing, riparian?
Western Tanager 15   Singing in woods
Spotted Towhee 10   Brushy areas near trees
Chipping Sparrow 13   Singing in open woods and edges
Vesper Sparrow 3   Singing in Bitterbrush. Song begins with two clear notes on the same pitch, then two notes on a higher pitch, then a mix of warbles and trills.
Lark Sparrow 2   Singing in bitterbrush on open hillside above Patterson Lake. Song is a mix of trills and single notes, too robust and musical for Brewer's Sparrow.
Song Sparrow 1   Singing in bushes along stream through hayfield
Dark-eyed Junco 10   Most identified by sight. An atypical song: "sweee-sweee-sweee-sweee-sweee-sweee-sweee" followed by two gutteral notes.
Unidentified Sparrow 2   In serviceberry and bitterbrush on open slope. By size and "seet" calls, probably White-crowned.
Black-headed Grosbeak 1   Singing
Lazuli Bunting 1   Singing in willows on hillside above Patterson Lake
Red-winged Blackbird 2   Singing near Patterson Lake outlet
Western Meadowlark 1   Singing in hayfield and open shrub-steppe.
Brewer's Blackbird 2   Marshy SE end of Patterson Lake
Brown-headed Cowbird 5  
Bullock's Oriole 2   Riparian area along Patterson Lake outlet stream, and near Patterson Lake cabins
Cassin's Finch 10   Singing, flying over. Probably undercounted.
Red Crossbill 2   Flying over
Pine Siskin 4  
American Goldfinch 6   Open hillside near Patterson Lake
Evening Grosbeak 5   Probably undercounted.