[Tweeters] Wednesday morning Bird Walk at Nisqually NWR

festuca at comcast.net festuca at comcast.net
Wed Sep 21 18:33:31 PDT 2016

Hi folks,

This Wednesday morning – the last day of Summer - 28 birders enjoyed a great day at Nisqually Refuge. The morning fog was lifting at 8 a.m. as we met at the Visitors’ Center for the weekly bird walk, and it was a cool 42°. During the group introductions at the Center, we were treated to a tiercel KESTREL harassing the STARLINGS and a RED-SHAFTED FLICKER, as well as a RIVER OTTER in the pond.

There was a +12.8 high tide at 10:05 a.m., so the group decided to ‘reverse’ our usual path, and work our way straight out to the estuary dike, hoping to find some shorebirds moving in with the tidal push. We, of course, took longer than optimal to get there, so the estuary was pretty full by the time we arrived, and but few peeps were seen. But, a WILSON’S SNIPE in the freshwater marsh near the estuary boardwalk was seen well.

However, the raptor action was pretty good. We watched a very dark MERLIN working across the restoration area, as well as an immature COOPER’S HAWK and an immy SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, providing a good study of the two Accipiter species. Several BALD EAGLES and a female HARRIER were seen as well.

We only walked out as far as the first observation deck on the Estuary Boardwalk, then returned to look for songbirds along the Loop Trail. We had good views of both CHICKADEE species, CREEPERS, and SAVANNAH & SONG SPARROWS, and a few LINCOLN’S SPARROWS. Except for COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, the only other warbler seen was a bright male WILSON’S. Several first-of-season FOX SPARROWS, a few flocks of GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS, and both KINGLETS were in the woods, but it seems the flycatchers have vacated the premises. A flock of BAND-TAILED PIGEONS was seen flying down-river.

The half-dozen 'hard-core' birders remaining at the end of the walk went through the orchard and around the service road, and were treated to a fly-over of about 40 CACKLING GEESE. In a few weeks, there will likely be thousands, but it is good to hear their high-pitched calls after a long, dry summer. It was mostly clear, and about 64° when we finished the walk.

For the day, the group saw 69 species of birds, the OTTER, a COYOTE, a half-dozen COLUMBIAN BLACK-TAILED DEER, and a MUSKRAT. A TOWNSEND’S CHIPMUNK was observed stuffing its cheek pouches with waxy Snowberries! A large RED-EARED SLIDER was sunning himself in the visitors’ center pond.

All-in-all, it was a great morning with a great group of birders. We hope to see you at Nisqually one of these times – meet at 8 a.m. each Wednesday at the Visitors’ Center pond overlook.


Jon. Anderson

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