[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR sightings 3-18-06

Ruth and/or Patrick Sullivan godwit513 at msn.com
Sun Mar 18 20:32:37 PDT 2007

Hello Tweets,

This afternoon we enjoyed another great time at the Nisqually NWR in northern Thurston Co. with great weather and relatively "birdy" conditions. Although we encountered far greater crowds of people than yesterday's visit we managed to enjoy our visit between 1pm-4:30pm. Our main efforts were made along the McAllister Creek Trail to the Nisqually Delta,then in and around the Twin Barns and the main parking lot region. Our best highlights of the day came near the end of our visit with a "RED"FOX SPARROW and a single adult WHITE-THROATED SPARROW of the tan-striped form located behind the maintenance area near the main parking area and an old apple orchard. Both birds were observed together at 3:30pm with a single Golden-crowned Sparrow in the brushy area behind a large green building immediately east of the fenced maintenance area. Initially both of these birds were not observed at this location upon a prior visit earlier in the afternoon,so perhaps they are migrants and just moving around. The "Red"Fox Sparrow was very distinctive and stood out by showing bright rust areas on the wings, rump and tail that contrasted well with the obvious gray areas on the head that were limited to the nape, side of the neck and crown area. The bird remained unvocal during the entire 5 minute observation,but attempted to chase away the Golden-crowned Sparrow that was at the same location.  The breast and flank streaking was much darker in tone than the rust on the tail and rump,but was heavily concentrated on the upper breast with bolder streaks on the flanks. The bill was bicolored,but showed more obvious yellowish areas on the lower mandible. It was a very striking bird to see!

Additionally, good numbers of waterfowl continue at the Nisqually NWR especially large flocks of Cackling Geese, as well as Am.Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal and Northern Shovelers. Some wetland areas also host good numbers of Gadwall and Am.Coots too primarily the more flooded areas along the McAllister Creek Trail. The 2 immature SNOW GEESE continue with the vast flocks of Cackling Geese and would occasionally flush up with them whenever an adult Bald Eagle would pass overhead creating a large noisy flock of geese! The geese flocks would soon resettle to their grassy fields to continue grazing where they left off or to another field. Both Tree and Violet-green Swallows continue in good numbers,but we actually noticed far greater numbers of Tree Swallows today than yesterday. Passerine numbers were in somewhat less abundance than yesterday with more Yellow-rumped Warbler observed as single birds rather than in flocks. Small numbers of Ruby-crowned Kinglets were also quite evident in clumps of willow and other trees,where they foraged and could be heard singing. A list of other highlights noted during our visit to the Nisqually NWR included the following:

1 pair of Wood Ducks
1 pair of Eurasian Wigeon
2 Turkey Vultures
1 immature Cooper's Hawk
1 dark-morph "Harlan's" Red-tailed Hawk
1 Am.Kestrel
7 Greater Yellowlegs
1 adult and 1 young Great Horned Owl at a nestsite in a tall Black Cottonwood tree just east of the Twin Barns
1 Hairy Woodpecker
1 Pileated Woodpecker
3 Chestnut-backed Chickadees
3 immature Northern Shrikes
1 Brown Creeper
1 Winter Wren
8 Am.Goldfinches

Earlier in the day on route to the Nisqually NWR we observed a single Turkey Vulture soaring east of I-5 near Dupont in Pierce Co. To end we wish to add we finally had our first male Rufous Hummingbird of the season that came to visit our hummingbird feeder at 11am before flying off and was not seen again.

Good birding,

Ruth and Patrick Sullivan
godwit513 at msn.com
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