Sixteen birders (Terry & Janan, John & Kay, Bill & Mary, Hans & Ursula, Jim, Lorna, Eleanor, Lorraine, Annie K, Can, Roger and me) enjoyed a beautiful, clear day at Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State. Four cars left Petra’s this morning (Wed. Sept. 21) at 8:00 a.m. No problems at Customs other than Annie Kaps frantic search for her almost lost Passport in front of the bug-eyed officer. After a pleasant drive through Washington farmland, we reached the Glacier Service Center at about 9:30 a.m. where we spoke to the Park Interpreters and bought our Park passes for the vehicles. We continued up the mountain for another hour to our first stop at Picture Lake. It is well-named as the number of photographers there can attest. One popular shot is the reflection in the lake (which is really a big pond) of snow/glacier-covered Mt. Shuksan. We walked the half mile around the lake, gorging ourselves on the delicious blueberries. Roger identified many of the beautiful wildflowers, but we didn’t see any birds. As we were about to leave, a Gray Jay (aka Whiskey Jack) appeared. My peanuts came in handy. We spent 15 minutes or more enjoying this bird and three or four of his buddies eating peanuts from our hands. Meanwhile, Steller’s Jays, Robins and other unidentified birds were seen in the trees nearby.
We continued up past the ski slopes and chalets to the top parking lot at Artist Point just above Heather Meadows. Before reaching the top we stopped to photograph a flock (6-10 birds) of Horned Larks flitting in the grass and snow beside the road. Neat sighting. We then walked the Artist Ridge Trail, with the towering, glaciated peaks of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan seemingly at eye level. Breathtaking alpine scenery. We saw a few Ravens and other small birds, perhaps Gray-crowned Rosy Finches, which the Interpreter had said were there. Roger also saw a Pine Grosbeak and Dark-eyed Juncos. Not a lot of bird activity, but we didn’t care.
We drove the almost one hour back down the winding mountain road to Glacier (park entrance) and Milano’s Restaurant. Very tasty and reasonable lunch and the two pints of beer hit the spot after our strenuous, at least for me, trail walks. We thanked Terry Carr for his intricate preparation, organization and management of this outing. My vehicle got back to Petra’s at 5:30 p.m. after taking Ursula’s “short-cut” home via Langley Customs Port which turned out to be about 10 kms and 15 minutes longer than Terry and Roger’s cars. Mileage was 138 Kms, round trip. Lots of participants (Can, Ursula, etc.) took photos which I will send to anyone on request, assuming I’ll get them soon. Terry’s photos can be viewed at: https://picasaweb.google.com/DNCBirding/DNCBMtBaker