[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR - 11/11/09

hannaslagle at comcast.net hannaslagle at comcast.net
Wed Nov 11 19:33:10 PST 2009


Nine of us lucked out on the weather.  We had lots of sunshine and another great day at the refuge.   Sightings at the visitor center included:  PEREGRINE FALCON,  pair of HOODED MERGANSERS, BELTED KINGFISHER,  FOX SPARROW, and RED-TAILED HAWK.  There were also hundreds of CANADA GEESE (mostly CACKLING) flying over the refuge.

The walk around the parking lot gave us looks at RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, NORTHERN PINTAIL, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN WIGEON, NORTHERN SHOVELER; and a flyover by the PEREGRINE; and a NORTHERN FLICKER calling from behind the parking lot.   Looking down the McAllister Creek trail we saw a GREAT BLUE HERON and a pair of NORTHERN HARRIERS. 

The highlight of the day, and something that none in the group had seen before, happened a short distance down the boardwalk.  A PEREGRINE FALCON was eating what appeared to be a duck (could not tell for sure at this point).  A RED-TAILED HAWK swooped in and took over the meal as the falcon darted away but then briefly came back and took a dive at the hawk.  The hawk took off with the duck; and a NORTHERN HARRIER that had been sitting nearby watching all this action flew over to enjoy the leftovers.  We watched as the harrier lifted the severed head of  a male GREEN-WINGED TEAL up off the ground.  A BALD EAGLE flew over and everything in the wetland area became airborne.  

As we continued down the boardwalk, Shep spotted a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE in a flock of CANADAS.    There were several new sightings in the pond on the east side of the boardwalk, including BEWICK'S WREN, PIED-BILLED GREBE, RING-NECKED DUCK and SPOTTED TOWHEE.  Shep and Matt also spotted a second PEREGRINE FALCON, and identified it as a TUNDRA variant.

New birds for the day at the twin barns and the cross over boardwalk:  DOWNY WOODPECKER, flock of CEDAR WAXWINGS, and RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER.  There were several BROWN CREEPERS and GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS near the river overlook.  It got quieter on the remainder of the walk, but Andy picked up a CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE.  Several WINTER WRENS were also either seen or heard.

Total species for the day:  36

Mammals seen:  harbor seal at the river overlook

Eric Slagle, Olympia

hannaslagle at comcast.net

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