[Tweeters] NIsqually NWR 1/29/14

scrubjay323 at aol.com scrubjay323 at aol.com
Wed Jan 29 15:23:37 PST 2014


Today 32 of us walked Nisqually in mixed conditions. It was dry when we started but the rain and wind picked up as we got to the twin barns overlook and continued off an on the rest of the walk. We had a 7.2 low tide at 10:23.

The highlight of the day was observing the GREAT HORNED OWL nest inside the boardwalk between the twin barns turn off and the Nisqually side. It is near the site used 2 years ago when the boardwalk was closed. Shep saw a bird flying into that area earlier in the day and we saw an adult sitting on the nest. Some folks saw a young bird sticking its head up from under the adult.

Other highlights included a VIRGINIA RAIL at the freshwater wetland overlook and an AMERICAN BITTERN near the start of the estuary boardwalk.

The VIRGINIA RAIL was near the burned out tree near the overlook and flew across the pond and disappeared into the long grass on the far shore. The BITTERN was right inside the dike and afforded good looks by all.

There is lots of water on the refuge but the waterfowl have scattered. I guess they know hunting season is over so they don't have to hide as much. We did see the GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE in with some CANADA GEESE along the road to the twin barns. Again, everyone got great looks.

Passerines were scarce, probably due to the adverse weather, but there were plenty of raptors about. BALD EAGLES and NORTHERN HARRIERS were common and we had a couple of RED-TAILED HAWKS and a PEREGRINE FALCON.

The PEREGRINE started in the cottonwoods near the Nisqually overlook and then flew and sat on a barn owl box under the eave of one of the barns. Even it wanted to get out of the weather.

The NORTHERN SHRIKE was seen briefly out in the reclamation area before it dropped down and disappeared.

For the day I saw 42 species and now have 65 for the year. A mammal highlight was a BEAVER behind the visitor center as we arrived to start the day. Other mammals seen were COLUMBIAN BLACK-TAILED DEER, HARBOR SEAL in the Nisqually River, and MUSKRAT back at the visitor center about noon.

Until next week....

Phil Kelley
scrubjay323 at aol.com
Lacey, WA

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