[Tweeters] SAS Nisqually NWR Field Trip 10/4/11

Shep Thorp tanwaxlake at comcast.net
Tue Oct 4 22:41:11 PDT 2011

Hi Tweets,

seven of us from the Seattle Audubon Society Field Trip enjoyed a wonderful
day of birding at the Refuge with cloudy skies, temperatures between 50 and
60 degrees Fahrenheit, breezy conditions and a high 12'8" tide at 1:22pm.

At the Visitor Center Parking lot and Pond Overlook we had great looks of
Cooper's Hawk and Peregrine Falcon in the peregrine tree (Douglas Fir). We
also saw Red-winged Blackbird, Wood Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Green-winged
Teal, and Northern Flicker. Hairy Woodpecker was heard.

South of the Access Road view point between the Access Road and Entrance
Road in the flooded fields, we observed American Wigeon, Mallard, Northern
Shoveler, Gadwall, and Northern Pintail. We also had our first of many
looks at Greater White-fronted Goose.

Along the western branch of the Twin Barns Boardwalk Loop Trail, we scoped a
nice flock of Canada, Cackling and Greater White-fronted Geese in the plowed
field south of the Twin Barns. In the mix we identified one Aleutian and
several Taverner's Cackling Geese subspecies. The willows around the
boardwalk hosted several nice mixed flocks of birds including Black-capped
Chickadee, Brown Creeper, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Warbling
Vireo, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Bushtit, Pacific-Slope
Flycatcher and Downy Woodpecker. We also saw Bewick's Wren, American
Goldfinch and a Red-tailed Hawk flyover.

The Twin Barns Overlook gave us an opportunity to see many sparrows,
including Song Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow,
Lincoln Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Fox Sparrow and Spotted Towhee. We also
had great looks at Northern Harrier and 5 Turkey Vultures flying along
Nisqually River.

We started out on the New Dike Estuarine Trail between 11a-12p, again with a
high 12'8" tide at 1:22p, and the birds were pushed around by the tidally
influenced waters. Many shorebirds could be readily observed and we saw 20
Greater Yellowlegs, 100 predominently Long-billed Dowitchers, 50
Black-bellied Plovers, 30 Dunlin and 50 Western Sandpipers. There was
plenty of additional waterfowl to be scoped as well. Fortunately, we bumped
into Marv Breece who helped us work out some Short-billed Dowitchers and
Sanderlings as well, which were my first of the year for the Refuge. Marv
reported seeing a Lesser Yellowlegs at the head of Shannon Slough along the
entrance road, and later emailed me that he spotted a Ruff at 5:30pm just
west of the where Leschi Slough runs along the New Dike. I wonder if this
is the same bird reported in tweeters several weeks ago? We also saw Purple
Finch, American Kestrel, Western Meadowlark, Violet-green Swallow, Barn
Swallow, Ring-billed Gull, Great Blue Heron, Hooded Merganser and
Double-crested Cormorant.

Out on the New Estuarine Boardwalk Trail, we had nice looks at the Bald
Eagles working on both the south and north eagle nests on the west bank of
McAllister Creek. These are two different pairs renovating their nests. We
also saw Yellow-rumped Warbler, Belted Kingfisher, Spotted Sandpiper and
Horned Grebe.

On our return, we had additional views of Common Yellowthroat at the
Nisqually River Overlook.

A sincerely grateful thank you to Marv Breece for his finds, and I look
forward to birding tomorrow on the Wednesday Morning Walk. Exiting on the
Entrance Road, I scoped a Great Egret between the head of Shannon Slough and
McAllister Creek close to I-5. Overall, a really fabulous day with lots of
exciting sightings to report.

67 Species for the day. Eastern Gray Squirrel and Harbor Seal were mammals

Until tomorrow, good birding!

Shep Thorp
sthorp at theaec.com
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