Date: 10/12/17 11:45 am From: Shep Thorp <shepthorp...> Subject: [Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk 10/11/2017
twenty five of us or so had a very nice day at the Refuge with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the 40's to 60's degrees Fahrenheit. Highlights included the return of the PINE SISKIN with high counts of 200+. Large flocks of CACKLING GEESE 1000+. Good shorebirds with the return of DUNLIN in non-breeding plumage. Late CASPIAN TERN x 4 with juvenile, and AMERICAN BITTERN sighting as well.
Starting out at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook at 8am we observed FOS RING-NECKED DUCK with AMERICAN WIGEON and HOODED MERGANSER.
The Orchard was good for hundreds of PINE SISKIN, DOWNY WOODPECKER, ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD, BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER, AMERICAN ROBIN, and VARIED THRUSH.
The fields along the entrance road and south of the access road are being flooded as they usually are this time of year. Providing great habitat for CACKLING GEESE, both minimas and taverners, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, MALLARD and NORTHERN SHOVELER. Good numbers of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER were observed along the slough next to the access road with good looks at both varieties, typical wintering Audubons and typical migrating Myrtle. An immature intergrade was spotted with a nice white smile up behind the ear and no white eyebrow.
The access road west of the parking lot was great for sparrows. Good looks of GOLDEN-CROWNED, SAVANNAH, SONG SPARROW, DARK-EYE JUNCO and SPOTTED TOWHEE. We observed a Cassiar/Slate-colored type Junco, mostly gray with small amount of brown on the wings, no obvious hood, gray on the sides and concave demarcation on the breast. Best guess might be immature Slate-colored Dark-eyed Junco. BALD EAGLE, NORTHERN HARRIER, CEDAR WAXWING were also seen, with dozens of AMERICAN PIPITs flying over the fields.
The west side of the Twin Barns Loop trail was good for both GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET. We had nice looks at HERMIT THRUSH and WILSON SNIPE.
We had AMERICAN GOLDFINCH at the Twin Barns Overlook. And good looks of ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and LINCOLN'S SPARROW where the access road joins the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail.
Out on the Nisqually Estuary Trail, the restored surge plain was covered in waterfowl. Mostly GREEN-WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN WIGEON, and now the NORTHERN PINTAIL have shown up in good numbers. Several RING-BILLED GULL were foraging with plunge diving technique. PEREGRINE FALCON and AMERICAN KESTREL were observed hunting. WESTERN MEADOWLARK was seen along Leschi Slough. When we first arrived on the dike, it was high tide with little mud. Roosting with gulls, we found a small flock of DUNLIN (FOS) and WESTERN SANDPIPER. On the freshwater side we observed MARSH WREN, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD and possibly heard SWAMP SPARROW near the green gate. To our surprise, we saw a VARIED THRUSH in the marsh. An AMERICAN BITTERN was flushed and seen by some of our group.
On the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail, during the falling tide, we observed DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, BRANDT CORMORANT, PELAGIC CORMORANT, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, COMMON MERGANSER, COMMON LOON, SURF SCOTER, WESTERN GREBE, HORNED GREBE, CALIFORNIA GULL, MEW GULL, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, WESTERN GULL, WESTERN X GLAUCOUS-WINGED hybrid GULL, GREAT BLUE HERON, good numbers of LEAST SANDPIPER and WESTERN SANDPIPER, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER, SEMI-PALMATED PLOVER, DUNLIN and GREATER YELLOWLEGS.
On our return, on the east side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail, just north of the beaver dam, we had a nice mixed flock of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, CHESTNUT SIDED CHICKADEE, BROWN CREEPER, DOWNY WOODPECKER, BUSHTIT, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER - including gray headed variety, and TOWNSEND'S WARBLER. FOX SPARROW was also seen.
For the day we had 83 species, with 163 species for the year.
Mammals seen included Eastern Gray Squirrel, and Harbor Seal.
Until next week when Phil returns to lead the walk again, good birding!