A belated trip report on our short backpacking trip into Goat Lake last weekend. Goat Lake is just north of Blacklead Mountain in southeastern Clearwater County. We accessed it from US 12 near Powell, ID, climbing up to the Lolo Motorway and then north into the Cayuse Creek drainage to Blacklead Mountain (elev. ~7500'). This is not a trivial drive as it took 2 hours from US 12 on USFS roads!
This is an unprotected roadless area and beautiful country with spectacular views of the Bitterroot crest and other ranges. We camped in the sub-alpine zone at Goat Lake (~ 6500'). There was quite a bit of bird activity in the lake area and on our hike out Sunday AM.
The bird highlight was a brilliant male WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL where we parked just south of Blacklead summit (the only road into the area). There are somewhat regular reports of this species in the high elevation areas of the Clearwater Mountains. A complete list is below.
I'll put a few photos at http://chasbirds.blogspot.com/.
Blue Grouse - http://inwb-photos.blogspot.com/2005/08/photo-of-grouse-from-goat-lake-eastern.html
Great Horned Owl
Rock Wren - mouth of old mine
Clark's Nutcracker - incl. one w/ rosy throat presumably from pine pollen staining
White-crowned Sparrow - feeding young, dark lored interior sub-species
White-winged Crossbill - brilliant male just south of Blacklead summit along rd