[Tweeters] Nisqually Wednesday Walk, 3/11/2015

Shep Thorp shepthorp at gmail.com
Thu Mar 12 13:56:10 PDT 2015


Hi Tweets,

Approximately 25 of us enjoyed a damp day at the Refuge with clouds,
intermittent rain, mild breezes, rare sun breaks and temperatures in the
50's degrees Fahrenheit. There was a High 12'9" Tide at 9:33am.
Highlights included WILSON'S SNIPE, WOOD DUCK, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER,
NORTHERN SHRIKE, DUNLIN, SWAMP SPARROW, GREAT HORNED OWL, and RED-BREASTED
SAPSUCKER.

Starting out at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook at 8am, the Wilson's Snipe
was observed foraging on mud and grass along the water's edge in an area
where we regularly spot this species to the right of the observation
platform adjacent to a spring. We had nice sightings of CACKLING GEESE,
both minima and taverner's, CANADA GOOSE, RING-NECKED DUCK, PIED-BILLED
GREBE, MALLARD, TREE SWALLOW, and SONG SPARROW. PACIFIC WREN was heard.

To take advantage of the tidal push, we made our way directly to the west
entrance of the Twin Barns Loop Trail. Seven FOY WOOD DUCK flew into the
Visitor Center Pond, paired up and calling. The numbers of YELLOW-RUMPED
WARBLER, mostly Audubon's variety but Myrtle reported as well, were
significantly increased and spotted through out the Refuge, even on the
estuary boardwalk trail. We had good looks of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE,
BROWN CREEPER, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, SPOTTED
TOWHEE, FOX SPARROW, GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, DARK-EYED JUNCO and AMERICAN
GOLDFINCH. Other species seen and heard included VIRGINIA RAIL,
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW, and BEWICK'S WREN.


>From the Twin Barns Overlook, we had great looks of NORTHERN SHOVELER,

HOODED MERGANSER, AMERICAN COOT, and NORTHERN HARRIER. The Tree Swallows
are already exploring the nest boxes and cavities in snags.

Out on the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail, the tidal push brought
great numbers of waterfowl including 1500+ GREEN-WINGED TEAL, 1500+
AMERICAN WIGEON, and 1000+ NORTHERN PINTAIL. There were plenty of
BUFFLEHEAD to be seen as well. The NORTHERN SHRIKE flew back and forth
over the dike between the snags in the surge plain to the north and the
bramble along the fresh water slough to the south. A LINCOLN'S SPARROW
spotted in the Reed Canary Grass perched still instead of flushing, perhaps
to avoid predation. MARSH WREN and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD were observed
nesting/breeding in the cattails. Eight GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE
foraged along the north aspect of the dike, as we enjoyed up close
observation of DUNLIN, MEW GULL, RING-BILLED GULL, and GLAUCOUS-WINGED
GULL. Our leucistic or amelanistic GREAT BLUE HERON showed up foraging in
the fresh water marsh, for obvious reasons this individual really stands
out and is a beautiful adult bird to observe with patchy white primaries
and mottled head, neck and legs.


>From the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail we spotted COMMON GOLDEN-EYE,

SURF SCOTER, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, LEAST SANDPIPER,
SPOTTED SANDPIPER, COMMON RAVEN and BELTED KINGFISHER. From the McAllister
Creek Viewing Platform we had nice looks at nesting BALD EAGLE in the nest
tree on the west bank of the creek south of the platform. Overall we
observed at least 15+ eagles for the day, and were not able to confirm
sightings of Golden Eagle from earlier in the week which would be rare. At
the Puget Sound Viewing Platform we picked up great looks of black BRANT
GEESE, EURASIAN WIGEON and scoped GREATER SCAUP, HORNED GREBE, COMMON LOON,
EARED GREBE, and all three cormorants. Nathanael spotted BAND-TAILED
PIGEON and STELLER'S JAY was heard along the west bank of McAllister Creek.

On our return, the SWAMP SPARROW was spotted by our Swamp Sparrow
whisperer, Doug Martin, and put on a very nice up close show in the fresh
water marsh, on the inside of the dike just east of the cattails across
from the entrance of the board walk, in the base of an Elderberry bush
surrounded by water:

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Along the north side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail we had nice looks of
DOWNY WOODPECKER, RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, and PEREGRINE FALCON. At the
Nisqually River Overlook we picked up good looks of COMMON MERGANSER.

The GREAT HORNED OWL owlets were seen on the inside of both the west and
east side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail at the south side of the tall stand
of Black Cottonwoods in the north section of the loop, where the tall trees
transition to the shorter Red Alders. We had great looks of RED-BREASTED
SAPSUCKER and CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE along the east side of the trail.

78 species, + 7 taxa for the day, with 112 species seen for the year.
Mammals seen included Virginia Opossum, Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Columbia
Black-tailed Deer, Harbor Seal and California Sea Lion.

Until next week when we meet again at 8am.

Good birding,
Shep Thorp
--
Shep Thorp
Browns Point
253-370-3742
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