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Geographical Index > United States > Washington > King County > Report # 9121
Report # 9121  (Class B)
Submitted by witness no on Saturday, August 7, 2004.
Outdoorsman hears vocalizations near Tinkham Campground
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YEAR: 2004

SEASON: Summer


DATE: 22

STATE: Washington

COUNTY: King County

LOCATION DETAILS: Approximately 1.5 miles east of Tinkham Campground, but still west of Hansen Creek. Also, Tucquala Lake, SE end.

NEAREST TOWN: Snoqualmie Pass

NEAREST ROAD: Tinkham Road

OBSERVED: I had gone up to Tinkham for a solo camp before spending 5 days in Utah visiting my father. I've given these whistling sounds alot of thought, as two of the three sounded entirely not like any bird I've ever heard - more like a person would whistle, really, only pretty loud, but flat and smooth.

The third sounded more like a bird, but the last of its three notes would reverberate all over itself - a piercing note that echoed fairly intensely after termination.
(Maybe two weeks earlier, I heard the same sound in the Upper Cle Elum River valley, up on a slope going east away from Tucquala Meadows, coming from several individuals, which I assumed were some kind of bird I'd never heard before. But, then again, I've heard WHOOPING in the same approximate location before, only to write those off, too, as some kind of bird I've never heard before.)

The first two, flat-toned, human-like whistles (but with more "air" behind them - far "richer") were to my northeast and east. The northeast whistle was noticeably stronger and sounded like it was getting closer. The east whistle sounded like it moved a little closer and towards the road (south), when the third whistle began. For about maybe 15 seconds it sounded like they were going back and forth. Then it just stopped, and all went absolutely quiet again, save for a ground-branch snap to the east immediately after it ended.

I tried to ignore the nature of the whistles as best as I could but an occasional branch being crunched on the ground kept me on edge for about the next hour. I didn't feel alone, but didn't feel threatened either. I even slept in the back of my truck, under the trees.

The whistling described in report #1674 spurned me to share this. Because "trying to sound like birds" crossed my mind while hearing the first two whistlings, and I've heard none of these "bird sounds" before.

What gets me is that on the Upper Cle Elum I was whistling back and forth with a single because I thought the way it ended was extremely impressive (piercing). I was fascinated by how far and fast the end-note was pushed through the air by its maker. Then a couple more joined in, with one sounding to be a good couple-hundred yards in the woods, and a couple hundred feet up the slope, but it was still plenty loud.

Hell, maybe they were birds, and maybe the last one to join in at Tinkham was a bird, too, but the other two in no way sounded like a bird, hawk, eagle, owl or anything. This leads me to believe these all weren't bird sounds. In fact, I had no inclination to try whistling back at Tinkham whatsoever. The first two whistles had me very much "on alert".

ALSO NOTICED: Before the sudden whistling back and forth, it had become so quiet I couldn't hear anything at all in the woods. Not a peep. Then back to dead quiet.
Then over the course of the next hour, I'd hear an occasional "crack" of a breaking branch on the ground around me, in the 50 to 125 foot range. This was over my fire and some tunes I'd turned on low volume, which both provided me with a sense of "buffer".

OTHER WITNESSES: Maybe people in next camp were in tent and heard it.

OTHER STORIES: I've seen twist-snaps and a couple huge prints in the past, namely during a two year "mission" to fly-fish the entirety of the S.Fk. Snoqualmie from Fire Training Center to the bridge at what used to be called "Asahel Curtis/Denny Creek" exit. That was in the early to middle 90's, and invariably on weekdays.

TIME AND CONDITIONS: Last light of dusk on a clear, warm day. Darker under canopy of large 2nd growth where I was camped.

ENVIRONMENT: A very minor, small creek formed the west edge of my camp perimeter. Maybe 100 yards to the east, over a slight knoll was another lone vehicle/tent (but didn't see the person(s) upon driving up, then back down to my site). The whistling came from my east, northeast and southeast respectively. Northeast was the whistle that was loudest and came closest. Southeast was right by the road and heard last - repeated but didn't move until it all stopped abruptly after about a minute.
The campsite was open, compacted duff beneath spaced giant second-growth. Below me was the braided floodplain margin with dense young alders and willows. Foliage returned to dense between campsites and surrounding slope other side of Tinkham Road.

Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Christopher Bradley:

After speaking with KB he is an avid outdoorsman familiar with the local wildlife. He often camps and hikes midweek to avoid the crowds. He is curious as to what made these vocalizations as they are very unfamiliar to him. I believe KB when he says he is familiar with the sounds of local birds, owls, etc. and this was perplexing to him.

About BFRO Investigator Christopher Bradley:

Avid outdoorsman with knowledge of local terrain and animals.
Active interest in the subject for 25 years.

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