Date: 2/8/18 10:17 am From: Shep Thorp <shepthorp...> Subject: [Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk 2/7/2018
25 of us enjoyed fair skies with some sun breaks on a dry day with temperatures in the 50's degrees Fahrenheit. There was a High 13.6ft Tide at 10:36am making for a nice falling tide in the early afternoon. Highlights included our nesting GREAT HORNED OWL in the nest snag tree from 2016, and a GREEN-WINGED TEAL intergrade on the boardwalk.
Starting out at the Visitor Center at 8:00am, we had great looks at two pair of HOODED MERGANSER's with the males displaying. A Columbia Black-tailed Deer took a morning dip and flushed a WILSON'S SNIPE. Plenty of SONG SPARROW were foraging in the foliage, some even beginning to sing.
We were not able to relocate the Northern Saw-whet Owl that has been residing in the roost tree, hopefully it's still around in another roost. The entrance to the Orchard had a nice mixed flock of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET and BROWN CREEPER. The Indian Plumb and Salmon Berry is beginning to bloom, and we had great looks at an ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD. DOWNY WOODPECKER, NORTHERN FLICKER and FOX SPARROW were also observed. Plenty of BEWICK'S WREN singing around the Refuge with a few PACIFIC WREN chiming in as well.
There was another nice mixed flock of RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, BUSHTIT, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, additional Golden-crowned Kinglet, Black-capped Chickadee and Brown Creeper where the Access Road cuts across the slough south and west of the parking lots. The flooded fields along the Access Road where great for observing NORTHERN SHOVELER, NORTHERN PINTAIL, MALLARD, CACKLING GOOSE, CANADA GOOSE and RED-TAILED HAWK. The male RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS have moved in and are singing and claiming territory.
The entrance area to the west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail was good for GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW and SPOTTED TOWHEE. The Visitor Center Pond had RING-NECKED DUCK and BUFFLEHEAD. MARSH WREN and VIRGINIA RAIL were reported heard near the cut off to the Twin Barns. Both BALD EAGLE and PEREGRINE FALCON could be scoped along the Nisqually River. Along the north side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail, in a large snag just inside the loop, the GREAT HORNED OWL is easily seen in the nest tree form 2016, suspected to be incubating a clutch. An old goose egg is pushed to the side, probably from last year.
>From the Twin Barns Overlook, we had nice looks at additional waterfowl with good numbers of AMERICAN COOT. A female AMERICAN KESTREL was observed hunting along the Access Road, and we got to see her catch a Pacific Choral Tree Frog which she ingested on the roof of one of the Twin Barns. We had a terrific fly over of 14 GREATER YELLOWLEGS.
The tide was high out on the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail. We had good looks of GADWALL, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN WIGEON, RING-BILLED GULL, MEW GULL, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL and NORTHERN HARRIER. A solid dark brown RED-TAILED HAWK continues in the stand of trees between the Nisqually River and the surge plain.
Along the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail we added COMMON GOLDENEYE, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, GREAT BLUE HERON, LEAST SANDPIPER and SPOTTED SANDPIPER to our list. Towards the end of the boardwalk we had two EURASIAN WIGEON. The Puget Sound Viewing Platform was good for Black BRANT GEESE, SURF SCOTER, COMMON LOON, RED-THROATED LOON, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, HORNED GREBE, BRANDT'S CORMORANT, and PELAGIC CORMORANT. A gorgeous flock of over 200 non-breeding plumage DUNLIN flew into the shoreline immediately adjacent to the platform for terrific bin and scope looks. On our return, Jon Anderson spotted a GREEN-WINGED TEAL intergrade just north of the McAllister Creek Observation Platform. Photo's were taken and embedded into our eBird report.
On our return, AMERICAN BITTERN was flushed from the fresh water marsh. COMMON MERGANSER can be observed staging at the Nisqually River Overlook. HAIRY WOODPECKER, RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, additional YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, both varieties, can be enjoyed along the east side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail for now.
We had 65 species for the day, with 82 species for the year. Mammals seen included Muskrat, Columbia Black-tailed Deer, Harbor Seal and Mink.
Until next week, when Phil should return from his super bowl celebratory activities in Disneyland with the Philadelphia Eagles folk, happy birding, and go BIRDS!