[Tweeters] Stilt Sandpiper at the Nisqually NWR 8-20-07

Ruth and/or Patrick Sullivan godwit513 at msn.com
Mon Aug 20 16:53:45 PDT 2007

Hello Tweets,

Today we spent a few hours checking for shorebirds at 2 locations including along Mounts Rd. in Pierce Co. then along the McAllister Creek trail at the Nisqually NWR. The weather remained nice and calm making for good birding conditions. We started off along the end of Mounts Rd.(accessed off of I-5 north of the Nisqually River bridge),where large numbers of Western Sandpipers gathered in a muddy area during incoming tide. We estimated 800+ birds,as well as small numbers of Least sandpipers and a single Semipalmated Plover. After birding this location we drove straight to the Nisqually NWR,where we birded from 12pm-2pm along the McAllister Creek trail. Our main highlight here was a single juvenile STILT SANDPIPER photographed from a few vantage points along the trail,which was a species we had highly anticipated seeing at this location this season. It was a very nice sighting for us since it was a personal Thurston Co. species for us,but also possibly only the second Thurston Co. record to date. The bird was mostly observed foraging with a few Lesser Yellowlegs,but also by itself and it would also hide behind vegetation areas at times. We were happy to get the photos we did of the bird from 2 different digital cameras!  We are still experimenting with our latest digital camera,which is used soley for our Leica spotting scope. We have placed a few  "proof" photos of the Stilt Sandpiper onto our website,which can be viewed at the following link: http://www.pbase.com/godwit/stilt_sandpiper_photos07/

Overall shorebird numbers were quite low,but perhaps this was due to the presence of a MERLIN that was finally seen perched in a dead tree as we walked back to the parking lot. The shorebird habitat along the McAllister Creek trail remains extremely good north to the photo blind area with bountiful amounts of muddy areas for shorebirds. The only downfall is much of the muddy areas are vast and there are many hidden areas that cannot be seen from the trail so patience and a good spotting scope is necessary here. A list of other noteworthy shorebird and other species of note from the Nisqually NWR included the following:

4 Wood Ducks
65+ Green-winged Teal
1 Cinnamon Teal
1 Turkey Vulture
3 Northern Harriers
5 Greater Yellowlegs
14 Lesser Yellowlegs
1 Spotted Sandpiper
170+ Western Sandpipers
60+ Least Sandpipers
4 Short-billed Dowitchers
4 Long-billed Dowitchers
1 Wilson's Snipe
1 Red-necked Phalarope
7 Vaux's swifts
1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Western Wood Pewee
7 Willow Flycatchers
6 Purple Martins
good numbers of both Violet-green and Barn Swallows with very small numbers of Cliff Swallows noted
1 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
6 Purple Finches

Good birding,

Ruth and Patrick Sullivan
godwit513 at msn.com

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