[Tweeters] A visit to Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

drsybert at northtown.org drsybert at northtown.org
Thu Apr 9 12:47:58 PDT 2015

Yesterday, my friends, Vic and Ruby, and I went birding at Nisqually
Wildlife Refuge. Usually, we go as early in the morning as possible, but
this time, other obligations made it 10:30 when we arrived.
Surprisingly enough, we saw more birds and other living things than
usual; those "living things" included not only young children, but also
turtles--one dinner-plate size that was enjoying the sunshine near the
boardwalk--and many dark gray frogs (some quite large) and even a snake!
The children added a nice dimension to our trip as they took advantage
of Vic's excellent management of the scope. Not only does he carry it
for us, which we appreciate immeasurably, but he is adept at finding
those far-away birds in the treetops and bringing them down for
examination. Nearly every child (and the parents) stopped to have a
closer look. Many times, they had not even see the birds in the trees
above them, and the look on their faces as they moved back from the
scope was priceless.

The biggest surprise of our visit was a Prairie Falcon that we were able
to examine through the scope for 20-30 minutes, and this time we pulled
out our Sibley’s and Kaufman’s guide books to make a positive ID because
we were surprised to discover this species. And second only to that
surprise was the absence of eagles, rails, mergansers, and all but two
shorebirds (species we always see when we visit the refuge). The
exceptions were one lone Blue Heron, and one Greater Yellow-legs that we
saw at the end of the day. We speculated the absence might be related
to the time of day, i.e., tide was out and we only walked about a half
mile out on the estuary boardwalk, or perhaps, to the time of year since
we had not visited the Refuge in the early Spring previously.

We saw only one Cormorant, but he was poised mid-river on a lone spur,
so we were able to scope him for some time, too. On the other hand,
there were hundreds--maybe thousands--of Canadian Geese grazing on the
ground or flying back and forth over the estuary all day. The next
biggest presence of the day were American Coots, ducks and geese. Those
included Mallards, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Green-winged
Teals, Buffleheads, Greater White-fronted Geese, and other ducks we
could not identify. Also, we saw several gold-crowned sparrows and a
song sparrow along the beginning of the boardwalk through the woods in
the direction of the barns. That's where we saw the large turtle and
most of the frogs, also. Between there and the path onto the estuary
were Scrub Jays up in the trees visiting their nests, Red-winged
blackbirds, Black-capped chick-a-dees, Robins, Hummingbirds (too swift
to identify), and Bank and Violet-green swallows.

A most rewarding day that we topped off with a visit to Red Lobster!

Cinebar WA
Lewis County

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