Mount Rainier.

What a place.  It never gets old and never fails to impress.  Last week I hiked the Shadow Lake trail and the Fremont Lookout trail with Chris and despite not finding most of our target animals, it was still a blast.

American Robin decidedly not having a blast. 

 A Sooty Grouse was wandering the parking lot at Sunrise. 


Along the trail to Shadow Lake we got our first taste of the day's raptor fest with a Rough-legged soaring over us with a Red-tailed and a Cooper's Hawk.



The trees including the one below were filled with Mountain Chickadees, though the photo does not prove this.


Gray Jays begged for snacks all day.

i know you have a nut bar give me your nut bar nut bar nut bar nut bar

A second Sooty Grouse on the trail felt a bit more legit than the parking lot bird...


 Spiders are neat

 At Shadow Lake we were hoping for some good wildlife but found only people and an American Dipper.


After a lunch break we set out on the Fremont Trail in good company.

Townsend's (?) chipmunk

 Mormon cricket (I think)

As we hiked up higher in elevation we started seeing more and more hawks, mostly accipiters, coming over the ridge and many passing at eye level.  It was awesome.

 Cooper's Hawk

Sharp-shinned?  

 Red-tailed Hawk

 
HAWKS HAWKS HAWKS!!


Oh right, it was super pretty too.



Check out the white dots in the middle of the above photo.  It was a little mountain goat family!


No ptarmigan to be found by the fire lookout...


Hawk migration had ended for the day and the hike back down was fairly quiet.  The sun was sporting a nice halo...


A couple Townsend's Solitaires accompanied us part of the way.


After passing Frozen Lake we heard a loud chirping and were finally able to locate a pika. 


This was my first time getting a photo of one so I was pretty stoked.


The rest of the hike was uneventful and we started the long drive home.  Sunset at Sunrise Point:


At a Shell station near Randle we found a herd of about 15 elk spread out over the grass and neighboring lawn.  Lots of bad photos happened here.


After seeing two dead elk on the drive up it was nice to see some live ones on the way home.  Good times!!!

Comments

  1. Wow. great raptors. And I love the spider. Actually I love it all. I love this blog. (I have never been to MRNP....bad northwesterner).

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Laura! Get your butt up there sometime, it's totally worth the drive.

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  2. Lots More snow there now!! I hiked only one trail while there and it was with the rest of the tourists so critters were pretty scarce...I saw one Pica but no photo to prove it so GOOD ONE on getting 'em..."Aw" to the dead things I fell better when I say a blessing for every dead one I see...Its Simple "Bless all the animals alive and dead" It goes into the volcanoes which I am now convinced created everything! Researched Barn Owls in Garfiled Co, CO where I am now and where winter is about to pay a visit...and got RARE sightings way back in July--

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    Replies
    1. Crazy, had no idea they would be rare there! Hope the weather goes easy on you.

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  3. Wow a Pika photo! They are tricky to capture. My best views were in the evening too. Maybe they are most likely to come out then. You saw a ton of good stuff. I can't believe you do that as a day trip! What a long day.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, super long day, but cheaper than getting a dog-sitter AND a place to stay...

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  4. Hey hey - we're pika pals! My dad lived in WA for a while and we went to Ranier. I adored it. But didn't know the local wildlife at all. Your gray jay comment is perfection.

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    1. Haha, pika pals! I wish I saw them more often, but thankfully I have your blog to get my fix.

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  5. This is a juicy post, good high elevash times. May the grouse be with you.

    Judging by the pigeony expression of that first Accipiter, that is a Sharp-shin as well no?

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    1. Ughhhh I went back and forth on that one...

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