An immature Red-tailed Hawk sitting on a power line alongside the road stayed long enough for a few pics before it took flight.
Just like yesterday, the day started cloudy and cool, but cleared to sunny skies by the time I had parked. Snow was still all around me despite the 70+ degree weather. The Stillaguamish River was gorgeous, and flowing fast! I stopped several times along the way to grab some pics of the river as I headed to the picnic area.
As I headed out of the parking lot I was immediately greeted by singing Warbling Vireos, Willow Flycatchers and Pine Siskins. The boardwalk that heads toward the caves opened into a stunning view of the alpine country complete with mountains, cedars, snow, and wet lowlands. Yellow Warblers were everywhere, along with Vaux’s Swifts and a lone Tree Swallow. Within minutes I was face-to-face with a lovely Red-breasted Sapsucker, with its black body and bright-red head. As I fired away at it the bird flew toward me and landed on the tree right next to me. I had to back up in order to get the bird in focus but got some nice close-ups. A family passed by with kids and the dog, and the sapsucker took to the woods. I spent about 30 minutes in an open area of the boardwalk trying to digiscope Yellow Warblers, Willow Flycatchers, and Common Yellowthroats. I even tried a few flight shots of the swifts and Tree Swallow as they passed overhead several times.
Continuing on into the woods I was greeted by a foot of snow and a slippery walk to the river’s edge. A while back a large ice flow took out the bridge, so the trail stopped here. There would be no trip to the caves. A nice consolation prize was hearing the loud, plaintive, flute-like trills of a Varied Thrush somewhere in the deep woods. Winter Wrens were also being heard in various directions.
Returning back toward the parking lot I was greeted by a lovely male Rufous Hummingbird that buzzed overhead for a few moments before flying off to a dead snag. I managed to get some long-distance digiscoped pics of the bird before it moved on!Walking up the trail toward another trailhead I heard several Swainson’s Thrush, more Pine Siskins, and White-crowned Sparrows. At the parking lot a Warbling Vireo challenged my photographic skills by ducking in and out of the thick bushes, but rewarded me with several images as it fed from a flowing willow. A Cedar Waxwing appeared and provided a few portrait shots. Out of memory, I decided to head back toward the hotel. Two big thumbs up for this place!