[Tweeters] Nisqually Wednesday Walk 9/23/2014
shepthorp at gmail.com
Fri Sep 26 10:54:45 PDT 2014
approximately twenty of us had a wet morning at the Refuge with rain,
temperature in the 60-70's degrees Fahrenheit, and a Low 2'9" Tide at
12:29pm. The USGS joined us for their monthly survey of birds, and
Nathanael Swecker surveyed the south dike sanctuary while Bruce Hoeft
assisted with the north dike. Highlights included nice observation of
COOPER'S HAWK, CACKLING GEESE, dark morph RED-TAILED HAWK, GREEN HERON,
GOLDEN-CROWNED and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER, three
PEREGRINE FALCONS, GREATER-WHITE FRONTED GEESE, PECTORAL SANDPIPER,
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER and BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER.
This week we had the arrival of migrating and winter resident CACKLING
GEESE and GREATER-WHITE FRONTED GEESE seen leaving the Refuge and flying
south towards the agricultural fields of the Nisqually River Valley at
sunrise. Additional Cackling Geese and Greater-white Fronted Geese were
seen foraging and flying around the Refuge during our walk. Starting out
at 8am at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook we were greeted by a pair of
BALD EAGLE, SONG SPARROW, EUROPEAN STARLING, WOOD DUCK, and AMERICAN BEAVER.
Around the parking lot we observed a juvenile COOPER'S HAWK,
AMERICAN/NORTHWESTERN CROWS, and many GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS. The Refuge
biologist has started to flood the fields south along the Entrance Road and
Access Road, which has already attracted good numbers of waterfowl
including our first fall observation of CACKLING GEESE mostly minima but a
few taverner's as well. Here we also observed CANADA GEESE, MALLARD,
GADWALL, NORTHERN PINTAIL and AMERICAN WIGEON.
Along the west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail, we ran into two nice
mixed flocks of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET,
GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER, YELLOW WARBLER and
BROWN CREEPER. A beautiful chocolate brown dark morph RED-TAILED HAWK
replaced the Bald Eagle pair in the Douglas Fir. The GREEN HERON was seen
on the east edge of the pond as well two WOOD DUCK, the male in gorgeous
breeding plumage. Other species seen included SPOTTED TOWHEE, COMMON
YELLOW-THROAT, MARSH WREN and BEWICK'S WREN.
>From the Twin Barns cut-off we had good looks at many migrating/transient
VIOLET GREEN SWALLOWS and BARN SWALLOW. RED CROSSBILLS were heard flying
At the Twin Barns Overlook we enjoyed nice observation of GREAT BLUE HERON,
NORTHERN HARRIER, PEREGRINE FALCON both american and peale's subspecies,
and heard AMERICAN GOLDFINCH.
Out on the new dike or the Nisqually Estuary Trail, the surge plain was
full of good numbers of GREEN-WINGED TEAL, NORTHERN SHOVELER, NORTHERN
PINTAIL, MALLARD and AMERICAN PIPIT. East of Leschi Slough we observed 5
PECTORAL SANDPIPERS foraging around waterfowl. West of Leschi Slough we
discovered 5 LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS and 4 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS foraging on
the mudflats of the tidal estuary on the north side of a large tidal pond.
The grassy edge of the dike provided refuge for many SAVANNAH SPARROW, as
well reports of WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW and LINCOLN'S SPARROW. Many
RING-BILLED GULL and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL were seen. A juvenile SORA
provided good looks for some along the cattail edge of the fresh water
marsh on the inside of the trail. The south dike survey saw 3 AMERICAN
BITTERN plus additional Pectoral Sandpiper and Long-billed Dowitchers.
Five COMMON MERGANSERS were seen flying north along the Nisqually River.
I did not walk the boardwalk, so missed the opportunity to try and see many
of the saltwater species that were observed last week like COMMON LOON and
HORNED GREBE. Ken Brown and Bruce Jacobs did continue the walk out onto
the boardwalk and most likely picked up many more species.
On our return, there was a nice flock of 50 CEDAR WAXWING in the snag just
west of the Visitor Center.
58 species for the day with 174 species for the year. American Beaver was
our only mammal seen.
Until next week when we meet again at 8am and Phil returns.
shepthorp at gmail.com
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