[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR - 8/06/08

hannaslagle at comcast.net hannaslagle at comcast.net
Wed Aug 6 20:10:20 PDT 2008


It was another one of those great days at the NNW refuge. The weather was perfect as nine of us enjoyed birding the full outer dike walk. And most importantly, there was a lot of bird action.

We had a good start at the visitor center, including a fly over by a GREATER YELLOWLEGS and a RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD. Other highlights included YELLOW WARBLER, WILLOW FLYCATCHER, NORHTERN FLICKER, WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, WARBLING VIREO and DOWNY WOODPECKER.

As we walked the trail to McAllister Creek we saw COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, MARSH WREN, KILLDEER, and SAVANNAH SPARROW. There were also three NORTHERN HARRIERS flying over the wetland areas: an adult male and female and a juvenile. A single male CINNAMON TEAL also flew over the marsh area and then directly over us.

As we continued past the gate at McAllister Creek we were treated to a mixed flock of shore birds. Dave and Denis helped identify LEAST SANDPIPER, WESTERN SANDPIPER, SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, and several GREATER YELLOWLEGS. One of the real highlights of the walk was Kathy sighting a SPOTTED SANDPIPER in a small leaveless tree. Denis later saw both an adult and a fuzzy chick in the same area, which as he said, means that these birds are definately breeding near McAllister Creek.

As we continued on the outer dike we sighted two LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS and a juvenile PIED-BILLED GREBE. There was a high tide and we continued to see a number of birds way out in the saltwater, that we often do not see on these walks, including PIGEON GUILLEMOT and SURF SCOTER. There was also a very large raft of SCAUP, but they were too far away to identify more specifically. Dave also counted over 30 GREAT BLUE HERON on the outer shore. We also spotted an AMERICAN BITTERN in flight. Another interesting highlight on this part of the walk were two very large flocks (75 and 200) of MALLARDS on banks in the interior of the refuge

As we entered the wooded area, a GREEN HERON was sitting on a log in the waterway. In the stretch of the walk between the and the ring dike we saw PURPLE FINCH feeding a juvenile, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, WILSON'S WARBLER and SWAINSON'S THRUSH. Dave clapped up a response from a VIRGINIA RAIL within the interior of the ring dike.

Things quieted down as the tempature increased and we neared the end of our walk, with the exception of a female COMMON MERGANSER and eight juveniles on the river near the overlook.

Total species for the day was 62. We also sighted a number of mammals including river otter, coyote, weasel, deer, and muskrat.

Next week the trail to McAllister Creek will likely be closed due to construction. We will adjust the walk to include a portion of the outer dike on the Nisqually River side up to and possibly beyond the observation tower.

Eric Slagle, Olympia
hannaslagle at comcast.net

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