Date: 6/17/20 6:50 pm
From: Matt Dufort <matt.dufort...>
Subject: [Tweeters] Sawmill Creek Burn in southeast King County
Hi tweets,

On Sunday, Sam Terry and I birded the Sawmill Creek burn in far
southeastern King County. This is a patch of mid- to high-elevation
coniferous forest and clearcuts that burned in fall 2017. It's northeast
of Kelly Butte and southeast of the former town of Lester. A rough outline
of the burned area can be found here
<https://ftp.nifc.gov/public/incident_specific_data/pacific_nw/Z_2017_HISTORIC/2017_Incidents_Washington/2017_Sawmill_Creek_SPS_000177/GIS/products/20170912/PIO_11x17_land_20170909_SawmillCreek_WA-SPS701.pdf>
-
note that the linked map also shows the much larger Norse Peak fire to the
south.

Sam and I had each made visits to the burn late last fall, and found small
numbers of Black-backed Woodpeckers. Our trip on Sunday turned up one
Black-backed as well as a bunch of other species uncommon in King County -
numerous House Wrens, several Rock Wrens, Western Bluebird, Nashville
Warbler. Details in this eBird checklist:
https://ebird.org/pnw/checklist/S70453519. There is tons of interesting
habitat in the area, with a great variety of tree sizes and burn
intensities interspersed with clearcuts.

As of Sunday, the road to the burn was snow-covered at its high point along
Sawmill Ridge, so getting there required a substantial hike along the
forest service road. In a few weeks the snow should melt off, though there
is a deteriorating wash-out along FR 7030 on the way there, which may close
the road entirely if it is not fixed soon. To get there, follow FR 7030
north from FR 70 for 4 miles to the T and turn left towards Kelly Butte.
Immediately turn right instead of continuing straight toward Kelly Butte,
and follow the road for an additional 3.3 mile until a smaller road breaks
off downhill to the left. This smaller road takes you into the burn.
Google maps directions to the eBird checklist above will get you most of
the way there. Barring snow and the wash-out, the road is driveable all the
way to the burn.

I'm posting this in hopes that it spurs other folks to explore this spot.
I think it has great potential for additional birds more typical of the
east side of the Cascades. And if anyone does head up there, I would love
to hear about it.

Good birding,
Matt Dufort

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