[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday morning walk 10/5/11

Shep Thorp tanwaxlake at comcast.net
Wed Oct 5 23:18:01 PDT 2011

Hi Tweets,

twenty of us had another great day at the Refuge with cloudy skies,
occasional sprinkles, temperature between 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit and a
high 12'9" tide at 2:31pm.

At the Visitor Center we observed a Peregrine Falcon in the "Peregrine Tree"
(Douglas Fir in the middle of the pond), American Bittern, Red-tailed Hawk,
Red-winged Blackbird, American Robin, Black-capped Chickadee, Ruby-crowned
Kinglet and Yellow Warbler.

Checking the flooded fields south between the Access Road and Entrance Road,
we had nice looks at American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail
and Bald Eagle. Carol and Whittier heard Evening Grosbeak and American
Pipit flyover. Scanning the fields south of the Twin Barns we picked up
American Goldfinch, Barn Swallow and Purple Finch.

On the western branch of the Twin Barns Boardwalk Loop Trail we observed
Song Sparrow, Northern Flicker, Common Raven, Common Yellowthroat,
Pied-billed Grebe, Downy Woodpecker, and Marsh Wren. At the cut off towards
the Twin Barns, we had wonderful views of many sparrows including
Golden-crowned Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, White-crowned
Sparrow, Spotted Towhee. Kaye observed a Townsend's Warbler as our group
moved on.

>From the Twin Barns Overlook, we saw Cooper's Hawk, American Kestrel,

Western Meadowlark, Belted Kingfisher and Steller's Jay. Fox Sparrow was

On the cut off road from the Twin Barns to the New Dike, we watched a nice
mixed flock of Fox Sparrow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler,
Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black-capped Chickadee and a Pacific-slope Flycatcher
in the bramble.

Out on the New Dike Estuarine Trail at approximately 11am, we had very nice
looks at predominantly Long-billed Dowitchers with a few Short-billed
Dowitchers mixed in, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs, many
Black-bellied Plovers, Dunlin, Western Sandpiper and Sanderling. We scoped
the green mud flats adjacent to the west side of the Restored Riparian surge
plain and were cheerfully rewarded as Matt spotted the juvenile Ruff which
was reported by Marv Breece the day before. The Ruff provided wonderful
viewing on our walk out and back on the incoming tide. This bird was
feeding on the the mud flats, picking for food, near the waters edge in the
vicinity of the Black-bellied Plover, Dowitcthers and Dunlin. The Ruff is
the size of a Black-bellied Plover but is taller with a longer neck and
smaller head. The head, neck and breast are buffy, and the mantle has dark
spots located in the center of the feathers. We bumped into John Vanderpoel
who is working on a big year, and the Ruff was his 723rd species for the
year. Eventually the bird flew east over the Nisqually River and landed in
the tribal refuge just east of the River.

Other birds seen around the Dike and Estuarine Boardwalk included Northern
Harrier, Double-crested Cormorant, Horned Grebe, Ring-billed Gull,
Glaucous-winged Gull, Glaucous-winged x Western Gull Hybrid, Western Gull,
Mew Gull, Hooded Merganser, Wilson's Snipe and Greater Scaup.

Overall a terrific day with plenty of birds to see, we observed 72 species
in all. The Ruff new for the year making our yearly count 166.

Mammals seen included Eastern Gray Squirrel and Harbor Seal.

Until next week when we meet at 8am again, good birding.

Shep Thorp
sthorp at theaec.com
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