Date: 1/4/18 7:47 am From: Shep Thorp <shepthorp...> Subject: [Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk - 1/3/2018
forty of us had a spectacular day for our first walk of the year with fog in the morning, sun around noon, temperatures in the 30's to 50's degrees Fahrenheit, and a Low 7.5ft Tide at 11:49am. Highlights included NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL, VARIED THRUSH, VIRGINIA RAIL, and AMERICAN X EURASIAN WIGEON hybrid.
The Northern Saw-whet Owl remains in the small Cedar tree roost adjacent to the parking lot. This celebrity appears to be doing just fine, but appropriately is now "taped off" to keep the crowds at a sensible distance. It's been a wonderful winter with at least two Saw-Whets at the Refuge. Please remember the Rufuge is the birds Sanctuary, and we as visitors should remain on marked trails to prevent interrupting their livelihood. By preserving the Sanctuary for our birds, hopefully they will return for years to come.
Starting out at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook at 8am, we had great looks at BUFFLEHEAD, RING-NECKED DUCK, MALLARD and PIED-BILLED GREBE.
The Orchard is our hot spot for RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD, FOX SPARROW, SPOTTED TOWHEE, and with the fruit trees we see VARIED THRUSH visiting for the winter.
The flooded fields adjacent to the Entrance Road are good for CACKLING GEESE, NORTHERN PINTAIL, NORTHERN SHOVELER and RED-TAILED HAWK.
Along the Access Road we picked up AMERICAN WIGEON, AMERICAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL, NORTHERN HARRIER and two accipiters COOPER'S HAWK and SHARP-SHINNED HAWK.
The west entrance of the Twin Barns Loop Trail was good for NORTHERN FLICKER, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, BEWICK'S WREN, MARSH WREN, GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS. We had high counts of VIRGINIA RAIL, DOWNY WOODPECKER, and BROWN CREEPER.
>From the Twin Barns Overlook, the fields below are nicely flooded for great observation of waterfowl.
Out on the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail we had good numbers of BALD EAGLE, 20-30, along the Nisqually River as the winter Chum Salmon are finishing up their run. We had fantastic looks at AMERICAN KESTREL, PEREGRINE FALCON, RED-TAILED HAWK, and NORTHERN HARRIER. Thousands of ducks including huge flocks of AMERICAN WIGEON, AMERICAN GREEN WINGED TEAL and NORTHERN PINTAIL. We also had good looks of GADWALL, AMERICAN COOT, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, RING-BILLED GULL, MEW GULL, GREATER YELLOWLEGS and WESTERN MEADOWLARK.
On the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail we picked up really nice observation of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, COMMON GOLDENEYE, BUFFLEHEAD, BELTED KINGFISHER, LEAST SANDPIPER and SPOTTED SANDPIPER. The last 700 feet of the boardwalk is closed until January 29th during hunting season. However, from the terminal gate we could scope RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, COMMON LOON, BRANDT CORMORANT, and BONAPARTE'S GULL.
On our return, we observed the GREAT HORNED OWL on the inside of the Twin Barns Loop Trail along the east side just north of the Beaver Dam, as well PACIFIC WREN. There were a number of COMMON RAVEN flying through out the Refuge.
A great way to start the year with 64 species seen. We also observed AMERICAN BEAVER, COLUMBIA BLACK-TAILED DEER, HARBOR SEAL, CALIFORNIA SEA LION, and EASTERN GRAY SQUIRREL.
My eBird Summary for the Wednesday Walk, Birdwatch Nisqually, for 2017 was a total of 176 species observed not including domestics and hybrids. Highlights for 2017 included AMERICAN GOLDEN PLOVER, NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL, BLACK PHOEBE, SAY'S PHOEBE, CHESTNUT SIDED WARBLER, and RUSTY BLACKBIRD. Unexpected misses included SANDHILL CRANE, ROUGH LEGGED HAWK, SEMI-PALMATED SANDPIPER, WILSON'S PHALAROPE, ICELAND(THAYER'S) GULL, MARBLED MURRELET and BARN OWL.
Until next week when we meet again at 8am at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook, good birding.