[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday morning walk 10/26/11

Shep Thorp tanwaxlake at comcast.net
Fri Oct 28 12:02:06 PDT 2011


Hi Tweets,
22 of us enjoyed a quiet day at the Refuge with cloudy skies, temperature in
the 50's degree Fahrenheit, breezy conditions on the dike making it feel
much colder, and a low 4'8" tide at 11:38am.

Meeting at 8am at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook, we had good observations
of Peregrine Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk, Hooded Merganser, Gadwall, Mallard,
Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Red-winged Blackbird, American x
Northwestern Crow, American Robin, and European Starling. We also saw our
first Bufflehead of Fall.

Viewing the flooded fields south between the Access Road and the Entrance
Road we had good looks at Northern Pintail and Northern Shoveler. There
were 3 additional Red-tailed Hawks to be seen.

Scanning the fields south of the Twin Barns which are just beginning to
flood, we enjoyed a flock of 1,000 Cacklers. In the flock we scoped one
Aleutian Cackling Goose and another Cackler with a yellow neck band. We
also observed a small flock of Cedar Waxwings feeding from the bushes and
bramble along the parking lot.

On the Twin Barns Boardwalk Loop Trail, we picked up Pied-billed Grebe,
American Wigeon and Ring-necked Duck in the Visitor Center Pond. We had
nice observation of Great Blue Heron, Hairy Woodpecker, Pacific Wren,
Bewick's Wren, Marsh Wren, Brown Creeper, Black-capped Chickadee,
Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Townsend's Warbler, Fox
Sparrow, Song Sparrow, and Golden-crowned Sparrow. American Bittern was
reportedly seen earlier in the morning by another group of birders.

At the Twin Barns Overlook we continue to enjoy a great diversity of
sparrows including Lincoln's Sparrow, White Crowned Sparrow, and additional
Fox Sparrow. We also saw two Northern Harrier and additional Red-tailed
Hawk, one perched on the barn.

Out on the New Dike Estuarine Trail, in the restored riparian surge plain
just north of the dike, we observed many waterfowl including Green-winged
Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveler, American Wigeon and
Gadwall. We had great looks at Bald Eagle and picked up two Long-billed
Dowitchers. Further west on the dike, we had fabulous observation of a Snow
Goose flying and grazing with Canada Goose, as well fun observation of
American Pipit flying around and feeding on mud flats. We scoped an
additional 6 Red-tailed Hawks, mostly immature birds, which was an unusually
high count for this species. We also saw the immature Tundra variety of
Peregrine Falcon that has been seen the last few weeks. Unfortunately, we
did not see the Bobolink or Northern Shrike which was seen last week. Matt
observed the Short-eared Owl around 7am along the new dike at the aqueduct
for Leschi Slough.

On the New Boardwalk Estuarine Trail, we had great looks at the Great Egret,
Great Blue Heron, Greater Yellowlegs, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ring-billed
Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Horned Grebe, Bufflehead, Double-crested
Cormorant, American Wigeon and Mallard. We bumped into another group of
birders led by Ed Swan who reported seeing the White-throated Sparrow at the
Twin Barns cut-off from the boardwalk loop trail and Savannah Sparrow along
the dike.

At the Nisqually River Overlook, we scoped a Greater Scaup in the Nisqually
River sleeping in a low tide eddy with a female Ring-necked Duck. I wonder
if hunting season sets us up for some of these unusual observations?

60 Species for the day, with nothing new for our year count of 170 species.

Mammals seen were the Eastern Gray Squirrel and Harbor Seal.

Until next week, good birding!

Shep Thorp
Browns Point
sthorp at theaec.com
253-370-3742
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