Subject: [Tweeters] Northern Pygmy Owl - Snow Lake (King Co.)
Date: Jul 13 18:17:18 2009
From: Evan Houston - evanghouston at

Hi Tweeters,

Today the lab I'm in at the University of Washington did a "bonding" hike at Snow Lake off exit 52 from I-90.? While this is usually an extremely busy hike, the combination of weekday + cool day with threat of showers meant that we only encountered a handful of other parties.? A very nice hike in a scenic area, though the tradeoff for the lack of people was views obscured by fog and a chilly 40 degree picnic (everyone ate very fast!) up at the lake.

The top bird highlight was a Northern Pygmy Owl, encountered about a half mile up the trail just before the first talus crossing.? I was on the lookout for this species as I had encountered one 2 years ago on this trail (that time about 2 miles up, just past the spur to Source Lake).? I first heard a bunch of chickadees and kinglets atwitter, so figuring something was setting them off, I started whistling, prompting the Owl to call back continuously.? I never did see it, having to catch up to the group before they became too disgruntled with my holding them up!

On the way up, there was a small group of Gray Jays, and up at the top, there was an American Dipper at the near end of the lake where the small stream runs in.

Other birds among 22 species encountered were many singing Varied and Hermit Thrushes (sounding very nice in the foggy, misty atmosphere), MacGillivray's Warblers singing along brushy slopes (also Townsend's and one Wilson's), and flyover Evening Grosbeaks and Pine Siskins (no crossbills, despite there being many cones in evidence).?

Good birding,
Evan Houston
Seattle, WA