[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Birding

Carol Riddell cariddell at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 19 09:27:56 PST 2006

Hi Tweets,

A group of six of us from Pilchuck Audubon Society birded Nisqually  
National Wildlife Refuge yesterday.  We passed through a rain belt in  
the Federal Way area, both going and returning, but had a completely  
dry day on the refuge.  Sometimes it was cold as the sun disappeared  
and a nippy breeze would pick up.  Other times it was comfortable and  
pleasant.  As one would expect, we encountered lots of birders,  
photographers, and walkers.  I had not been down there in a number of  
months so my biggest concern was encountering for the first time the  
very thorough job of staff having placed bird-netting on the eaves  
and the outdoor ceiling areas of the Interpretive Center.  No more  
nesting for the Barn and Cliff Swallows.  No more chicks to be  
enjoyed at close range by visitors.  I think this was a very  
unfortunate decision.  Sure the nests causes some additional work,  
having to be knocked down at the end of the season.  Whitewash had to  
be cleaned up from time to time.  But I'm sure the refuge staff or  
volunteers pressure wash the decking from time to time anyway.  One  
of the delights of spring is now gone.

We saw 45 bird species for the day.  Several of the highlights  
included a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers working the canopy of  
deciduous trees on the boardwalk loop.  Also saw at least 4 Brown  
Creepers and a pair of Downy Woodpeckers along the boardwalk.  We  
missed the Great Horned Owl--twice!  For one of our group, the  
greatest delight of the day, after first having seen a couple of Tree  
Swallows from the Interpretive Center Deck, was then watching several  
hundred high in the sky, coming in from the west over McAllister  
Creek.  We all chuckled at some Canada Goose behavior, previously  
unknown to any of us.  From the Interpretive Center deck we saw  
broad, huge wings flapping in a tree across the water.  We quickly  
pointed our binoculars, expecting to see a raptor.  Nope, it was a  
goose.  Then out by the Twin Barns, we focused a scope on the large  
twig nest high in a cottonwood.  Sticking out of the nest like the  
curved handle of an elegant cane was the head and neck of another  
Canada Goose.  We saw at least 5 Bald Eagles and several Northern  
Harriers and Red-tailed Hawks.  No roughies and no kestrel were  
seen.  The only warblers were lots of Yellow-Rumps on the west side  
of the loop in the thickets along the ponds.  We also encountered  
many Golden-crowned Sparrows in that section of the trail.  We had  
one American Bittern between the parking lot and McAllister Creek.

Carol Riddell
cariddell at earthlink.net

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