[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR - Wednesday Walk 2/10/2016
shepthorp at gmail.com
Thu Feb 11 09:19:31 PST 2016
forty-two of us enjoyed a fairly nice day at the Refuge with some light
rain between 9a-11a, temperature in the 50's degrees Fahrenheit, sun breaks
in the afternoon, and a Low 4'4" Tide at 1:06pm. Highlights included the
continuing EURASIAN WIGEON, the RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, the mother GREAT
HORNED OWL persistently bedded down with no visible young, and FOY TREE
Starting out at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook at 8am, we had nice looks
at MALLARD, BUFFLEHEAD, RING-NECKED DUCK, HOODED MERGANSER, and PIED-BILLED
GREBE. WOOD DUCK was heard.
Scanning the fields along the Access Road on either side of the Old
McAllister Creek Access Road, we had good numbers of waterfowl including
CACKLING GEESE, NORTHERN SHOVELER, NORTHERN PINTAIL, GREEN-WINGED TEAL,
AMERICAN WIGEON and AMERICAN COOT. Two SNOW GEESE were observed flying out
of the Refuge with the morning Cackler movement. An EURASIAN WIGEON was
observed foraging with AMWI along the Access Road. BALD EAGLE, RED-TAILED
HAWK, and PEREGRINE FALCON all made appearances.
A flock of 20-30 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, flew into the trees along the west
entrance to the Twin Barns Loop Trail. Along the west side of the loop,
other species seen included SONG SPARROW, BEWICK'S WREN, BLACK-CAPPED
CHICKADEE, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, RUBY CROWNED KINGLET, DOWNY WOODPECKER
and VARIED THRUSH. The RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was relocated by some in a
small Willow Tree hanging over the old McAllister Creek Access Road just
before or east of the access road that intersects and courses north towards
the Nisqually Estuary Trail and Twin Barns. An AMERICAN KESTREL was
spotted along the new dike in the sanctuary and 10 WESTERN MEADOWLARK were
observed perched in a tree just west of the Twin Barns..
The GREAT HORNED OWL is in the nest tree snag along the north portion of
the loop trail. Just inside the loop are two large snags. In the large
snag, adjacent to a 'dog-leg' branch, is the nest cavity with the female
GHOW. She has been bedded down since the end of December and we anxiously
await seeing the owlets. Last Sunday a bird watcher observed the mate
feeding a Green-winged Teal to the nesting owl. The last two weeks there
have been multiple reports of the adults feeding each other. We also saw
BROWN CREEPER, BUSHTITS, CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE and FOX SPARROW in the
VIRGINIA RAIL was seen and heard in the area of the Twin Barns cut-off.
>From the Twin Barns Overlook, additional species seen included ROCK PIGEON
and CANADA GOOSE.
>From the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail, we picked up GADWALL,
NORTHERN HARRIER, COOPER'S HAWK, MERLIN and GREATER YELLOWLEGS. Several
birders in the group got to enjoy a fly over of four FOY TREE SWALLOWS.
>From the McAllister Creek Viewing Platform on the Nisqually Estuary
Boardwalk Trail, we observed approximately 100 LEAST SANDPIPERS foraging
the mudflats on the inside of the trail. At the confluence of Shannon
Slough and McAllister Creek we observed RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, COMMON
GOLDENEYE, a single female BARROW'S GOLDENEYE, SURF SCOTER and HORNED GREBE.
Now that hunting season is over, many ducks line the banks of McAllister
Creek, and the boardwalk is open all the way to the end. On our way to
terminus we added BELTED KINGFISHER, PILEATED WOODPECKER, and STELLER'S JAY
to our list. From the Puget Sound Viewing Platform, we scoped and scanned
and observed BRANT GEESE (300), GREATER SCAUP, COMMON LOON, RED-THROATED
LOON, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, BRANDT'S CORMORANT, GREAT BLUE HERON, MEW
GULL, RING-BILLED GULL, GLAUCOUS/WESTERN GULL, and NORTHERN SHRIKE.
On our return, we picked up good numbers of GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW in the
71 Species for the day, with 91 species for the year. Mammals seen
included EASTERN GRAY SQUIRREL and HARBOR SEAL.
Until next week when we meet again at 8am, good birding!
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