[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk 11/11/2015
shepthorp at gmail.com
Thu Nov 12 13:04:04 PST 2015
forty of us enjoyed a nice dry cool day at the Refuge with temperatures in
the 40-50's degrees Fahrenheit and a Low 6'1" Tide at 11:23am. Highlights
included the continuing RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, SEMI-PALMATED PLOVER, WESTERN
GREBE, three falcon day with a suspected Prairie variety of MERLIN, two owl
day, and sightings of SNOW GOOSE and GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE.
Starting out at the Visitor Center at 8am, our group had nice sightings of
RING-NECKED DUCK and MALLARD. Kay flushed a BARN OWL roosting in the
Visitor Center Breezeway at 7:30am.
The Orchard has been a good place to consistently observe ANNA'S
HUMMINGBIRD, NORTHERN FLICKER, RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, AMERICAN ROBIN, both
Kinglets, and GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS. The flooded field across the
Entrance Road from the Orchard has been reliable for KILLDEER.
The flooded fields south and west of the Access Road are full of good
numbers of waterfowl. Brightly plumaged CACKLING GEESE, both minima and
taverner's, CANADA GEESE, moffitti/maxima and parvipes, GREATER-WHITE
FRONTED GOOSE x 2, SNOW GOOSE x 1, NORTHERN SHOVELER, MALLARD, NORTHERN
PINTAIL, AMERICAN WIGEON, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, and a single remaining
CINNAMON/BLUE-WINGED TEAL. We also had many nice sightings of BALD EAGLE,
NORTHERN HARRIER and RED-TAILED HAWK all surveying the habitat for prey.
Continuing on to the west side to the Twin Barns Loop Trail we added
VIRGINIA RAIL, COOPER'S HAWK, DOWNY WOODPECKER, PEREGRINE FALCON,
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, BROWN CREEPER, both Kinglets, BEWICK'S WREN,
PACIFIC WREN, SONG SPARROW, FOX SPARROW, SPOTTED TOWHEE, and RED-WING
BLACKBIRD. We had our first of two views of a very light colored MERLIN
with weak mustache, light auricles, light gray mantle and white under tail
coverts which we suspect may be a Prairie subspecies migrating through:
<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="
title="Merlin, suspect Prairie variety. Nisqually NWR, Visitor
width="480" height="640" alt="Merlin, suspect Prairie variety. Nisqually
NWR, Visitor Center."></a><script async src="//
>From the Twin Barns Observation Platform we had great looks of BELTED
KINGFISHER and WESTERN MEADOWLARK. There were three River Otters playing
in the fresh water slough. This was good place to study the water fowl and
we added AMERICAN COOT to our list.
Out on the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail, we observed DUNLIN,
GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, RING-BILLED GULL, MEW GULL, GREAT BLUE HERON,
AMERICAN KESTREL female, MARSH WREN, LINCOLN'S SPARROW, and SAVANNAH
SPARROW. The RED-SHOULDERED HAWK was relocated in a leafless Elderberry in
the fresh water marsh and was observed flying to the small Willow Trees
that line the north-south Access Road from the Twin Barns to the old
McAllister Creek Access Road. This is the forth week this species has been
reported at the Refuge and hopefully is an indication the bird may winter
On the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail we had nice observations of HOODED
MERGANSER, BUFFLEHEAD, WESTERN GREBE, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, BRANDT'S
CORMORANT, SURF SCOTER, GREATER YELLOWLEGS and LEAST SANDPIPER. Two
SEMI-PALMATED PLOVER'S were seen foraging on the mudflats west of the
McAllister Creek Viewing Platform.
On our return, an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was spotted in the area around the
Nisqually River Overlook. One of the GREAT HORNED OWL's was observed in
the short riparian forest stand on the inside of the Twin Barns Loop Trail
just north of the twin benches on the east side. WOOD DUCK was observed in
For the day we had 70 species seen, with a total of 174 species for the
year on my list.
Mammals seen included River Otter and Harbor Seal. Until next week when we
meet again at 8am.
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