Date: 11/10/17 1:09 pm
From: Shep Thorp <shepthorp...>
Subject: [Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk 11/8/2017
Hi Tweets,

approximately 25 of us had an enjoyable day at the Refuge with a dry
morning and wet afternoon. Highlights included BARRED OWL in the Orchard,
NORTHERN SHRIKE in the fresh water marsh, and a good showing of waterfowl
and shorebirds on the mudflats with a High 14.53ft Tide at 9:08am and Low
6.76ft Tide at 3pm.

Starting out at the Visitor Center at 8am, we had great looks of
RING-NECKED DUCK, GADWALL, AMERICAN WIGEON, and MALLARD.

Bob Payne, one of our owl spotters, and Tim reported a BARRED OWL at the
east entrance of the Twin Barns Loop Trail. Although we did not initially
relocate the owl along this section, we did have a very nice mixed flock of
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET,
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, BROWN CREEPER, HAIRY WOODPECKER, BEWICK'S WREN,
PACIFIC WREN and SPOTTED TOWHEE.

On are way back to the Orchard, we relocated the Barred Owl, in the stand
between the two areas, with the owl flushing to the Education Center roof
and into the Orchard. The bird appeared to be hunting, and at one point
dropped to the ground from a fruit tree, but did not successfully capture
any prey. Everyone had nice looks, it is not often that we get to see the
Barred Owl at the Refuge with our resident Great Horned Owl. The Orchard
itself was good for ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD, NORTHERN FLICKER, DOWNY FLICKER,
and RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER. Along the Entrance Road we observed
GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, SONG SPARROW, FOX SPARROW and a VARIED THRUSH.

All of the fields along the Access Road are now flooded with good numbers
of CACKLING GEESE, both minima and taverner's, CANADA GEESE, NORTHERN
SHOVELER, NORTHERN PINTAIL, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL can be easily enjoyed.
We had nice looks of COOPER'S HAWK and BALD EAGLE. Two DARK-EYED JUNCO,
oregon variety, were seen at the green gate to McAllister Creek Road.

Along the west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail we picked up PIED-BILLED
GREBE, VIRGINIA RAIL and additional Fox Sparrow and Downy Woodpecker. The
Twin Barns Overlook is now a great spot to scope waterfowl foraging in the
flooded fields.

Out on the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail, the high tide pushed in
thousands of waterfowl with good numbers of Green-winged Teal, American
Wigeon, and Northern Pintail. The surge plain is also a good area to see
additional Gadwall. Where Leschi Slough goes under the dike we
observed/heard WESTERN MEADOWLARK. Scoping the mudflats from this area we
picked up dark morph RED-TAILED HAWK, a few NORTHERN HARRIER'S, hundreds of
DUNLIN, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, and PEREGRINE FALCON. The mud flats and
water's edge west of Leschi Slough on a high falling tide between 7 and 11
feet is great for MEW GULL, RING-BILLED GULL, GLAUCOUS WINGED GULL, and
picking through the Dunlin to find a few WESTERN SANDPIPER. Lots of
waterfowl foraging on the biofilm of the mudflats. On the inside of the
dike trail we had our FOS NORTHERN SHRIKE, picked up 3 GREATER
WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, and AMERICAN BITTERN and VIRGINIA RAIL were seen.

The Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail was great for DOUBLE-CRESTED
CORMORANT, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, HOODED MERGANSER, HORNED GEBE,
BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE, LEAST SANDPIPER, SPOTTED SANDPIPER along the
west bank of McAllister, and BELTED KINGFISHER. The last 700 feet of the
boardwalk is closed until January 28th for hunting season, but from the
closure gate we worked on our speck identification with spotting scopes and
picked up SURF SCOTER, WHITE-WINGED SCOTER, COMMON LOON, and BRANDT'S
CORMORANT. A singe immature BONAPARTE'S GULL joined us for the walk back,
foraging for small fish along the McAllister Creek. It was great to see
this little gull dive under water to catch prey from the boardwalk above.

The Nisqually Overlook was quiet, as well the remainder of the walk back,
but by that time the rain was persistent.

A pretty nice day with 70 species seen and 166 species for the year.
Mammals seen include Eastern Gray Squirrel, Columbia Black-tailed Deer and
Harbor Seal.

Until next week when we meet again at 8am, happy birding!

Shep
--
Shep Thorp
Browns Point
253-370-3742

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