[Tweeters] 3003 Hogum Bay Rd-Thurston County

ray holden rayleeholden at yahoo.com
Sat Oct 15 20:33:36 PDT 2011

3003 Hogum Bay is the street address of what seems to be a little known birding jewel that is about two miles south of the Nisqually NWR off I-5 at the Hawks Prairie exit.  I say this because no one ever reports on it here and in the dozens of times I've birded there I've never seen another birder so I would like to introduce you to this custom made bird park. 

3003 Hogum Bay is a 51 acre LOTT water reclamation project with 12 acres of constructed wetlands that area a series of what are essentially man made "beaver" ponds which are carefully landscaped with native bird friendly plants that you would see around any natural wetland.  There are also 5 acres of so called undisturbed forest that are actually 50-60 year old second growth firs.  The gravel trails are wide and level and there are lots of benches to just sit and enjoy yourself so mobility is no problem at this location.  The one somewhat ironic downer, given that LOTT is the local sewage treatment agency, is that there are no restrooms or water.  

The site attracts a nice mix of birds although not usually in large numbers like at Nisqually but there are no long views so you will get good views with just binoculars.  In other words you'll see many of the same birds as at Nisqually, but like Capitol Lake, a lot closer which is something I greatly treasure because I no longer have the eyes of an eagle.  I also think the numbers will grow as the landscaping matures.

Over the winter you are likely to find most any waterfowl except I've seen only a small number of Hooded Mergansers
and none of the others.  I don't think there are a lot of fish in the
ponds.  You will also likely see lots of mixed flocks feeding flocks of
small birds.  It was a good place for both kinds of Kinglets last
winter. The N. Flickers seem to be year-round and you will likely see them in the fir trees toward the entrance. 

This site probably isn't worth a trip from out of town but it's a good local site especially for newer birders and people with mobility issues and is worth stopping by if you haven't birded-out when you visit Nisqually NWR.  You can Google or Mapquest for directions or e-mail me.  It's very simple to locate off I-5.  

Today I was surprised to find a mixed flock of 169 very skittish ducks in the first pond but then I heard shotgun blasts to the north and realized that they were refugees.  There are three large ponds and it was interesting that they had almost all gathered in the one location.  I guess it was a safety in numbers thing.  One flight of four A. WIGEONS made repeated passes over the pond before deciding that is was safe to land.  Overall they were about three fourths A. WIGEONS and the rest, except for two RING  NECKS, were MALLARDS.  They were so anxious that groups kept flushing over and over and settling down a few yards away which mixed up the count so it was impossible to count beaks of individual species and I suspect that there were quite a few that I didn't count overall.   This is the largest number of ducks I've seen at one time at this location. 

Also seen today.

173 Mixed Flock Ducks

1      Northern Flicker 
1     A. Robin
1     Marsh Wren
3     Song Sparrows
3    Golden Crowned Kinglets
1     Pied Billed Grebe

Bush Tits
King Fisher (Heard)
Other birds were heard that I ran out of time to try and ID.  ( I was only there 45 minutes this afternoon.)

Ray Holden

Olympia, WA

Life is for the birds.

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