This week’s photo, taken July 6, 2013 near the Miller Peak trailhead north of Cle Elum, WA, features one of numerous MACGILLIVRAY’S WARBLERS seen that day.
This past weekend’s Seattle Audubon field trip, originally described as a strenuous 9-mile birding and hiking experience with 2000 feet of elevation gain, turns out to be 11+ miles and 3300 feet of uphill hiking. Sure, the leader reminds us a few times that we do not have to go all the way to the top, but who can resist the pull of the peak? Besides, the top of Miller Peak rewards us with spectacular views of Mount Rainier and other snow-capped mountains in the Cascade Range. Although the scenery is superb and the birds are beautiful throughout our hike, our longer-than-advertised adventure leaves us with spectacularly sore muscles, so the best sighting of the day is the view of our parked cars as we near the end of our 8-hour odyssey.
In addition to the surprisingly common MACGILLIVRAY’S WARBLER, other birding highlights along the trail include a TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE, a CASSIN’S FINCH, a few LAZULI BUNTINGS and a few WESTERN TANAGERS. These colorful species resemble holiday ornaments as they pose individually atop conifers and sing their springtime song.