Subject: [Tweeters] Montane Birds, Kittitas County
Date: Sep 4 16:19:52 2011
From: Larry Schwitters - lpatters at


I enjoy seeing links to the e-book that was Rich's parting gift to us
all. THE COOLEST BIRD is a winner.

Rich and I spent several months emailing back and forth as he was
putting his book together and some of that time was spent on if and
why an actual Black Swift nest has never been documented in Washington
(and Oregon). The only serious unresolved "yes I saw one" we ended up
with involved a Dick aka Richard Rivers of Spokanish near Metaline.

Its not that we haven't found any waterfalls that have Black Swifts,
there are 25 different ones documented so far in WA. But the nests,
if they exist, are well hidden. In Colorado, Montana and Northern
Idaho the most common rock type is layered sedimentary which often
makes for nice horizontal ledges for the swifts to build a nest on.
You can go to those states and yup there's a nest with a bird or two
sitting in it. There is not much sedimentary rock in WA and OR, its
mostly igneous with some metamorphic. So possible nest sites are
cracks and holes. To get a revealing look inside a likely crack takes
low water flow, a good flashlight, a long rope, and a bit of nerve.
I'm zero for four so far. At three of the waterfalls we got a good
enough look to have found nests if they had been there.

The Lemah Basin certainly has a number of good looking waterfalls.
Perhaps the best is Winnimic

I'm too much of a sissy to get up close and personal with that one,
but perhaps some other Tweeter wants to take it on.

Larry Schwitters

On Sep 4, 2011, at 9:15 AM, Walter Szeliga wrote:

> Dear Tweeters,
> I decided to hike up to Lemah Basin, just off the PCT in Kittitas
> County yesterday (3 Sep.) to check out the burn area and
> waterfalls. I approached via Cooper and Pete Lakes and the birding
> was great. On the trail to Pete Lake, I found one Black-backed
> Woodpecker, one American Three-toed Woodpecker, many Type-1 Evening
> Grosbeaks (audio recordings), Chestnut-backed Chickadees and other
> common montane birds. Along the trail at Pete Lake itself, was a
> smallish flock of Type-3 Red Crossbills (audio recordings) as well.
> Farther up, in the 2009 Lemah burn area I found another American
> Three-toed Woodpecker. Overhead, from upper Lemah Valley, down to
> at least Pete Lake, there was a constant swarm of Violet-green
> Swallows, Vaux's Swifts, and Black Swifts. All three species seemed
> to form a stratified feeding flock, with the Black Swifts feeding
> the highest (sometime disappearing vertically from sight), the
> Vaux's Swifts a little lower, and the Swallows feeding all the way
> down to the treetops.
> As a note, Rich Levad's book about Black Swifts (
> ) suggests that no Black Swift nests have been found in Washington
> State. If that's true, given the shear number of Black Swift's I've
> seen in that valley, I'd bet a good place to start looking would be
> the waterfalls throughout the Lemah Group and along the PCT in that
> region!
> Cheers,
> Walter Szeliga
> Ellensburg, WA
> _______________________________________________
> Tweeters mailing list
> Tweeters at

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...