[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk 10/26/2016
shepthorp at gmail.com
Thu Oct 27 12:29:17 PDT 2016
15 intrepid birders had a wet one today. Intermittent showers with
temperatures in the 50 degrees and a low 2.74 foot tide at 9:22am. Even
with the wet optics we had 66 species with highlights including good number
of waterfowl, nice mixed winter flocks of passerines, nice sightings of
shorebirds, WESTERN GREBE, Harlan's variety of RED-TAILED HAWK, TRUMPETER
SWAN, and AMERICAN BITTERN.
Starting out at the Visitor Center at 8am we had nice looks of AMERICAN
WIGEON, RING-NECKED DUCK and AMERICAN COOT.
The Orchard has been a good place to find ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD.
The fields along the Entrance Road and the Access Road are flooded
providing good conditions for waterfowl and we had very nice observation of
CANADA GOOSE, both Western and Lesser, CACKLING GOOSE, both minima and
taverners, NORTHERN SHOVELER, NORTHERN PINTAIL, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL.
NORTHERN HARRIER and BALD EAGLE both would intermittently flush hundreds of
birds. We also had great looks of GREAT BLUE HERON and WILSON'S SNIPE.
The western entrance to the Twin Barns Loop Trail was busy with a large
mixed flock of NORTHERN FLICKER, AMERICAN ROBIN, CEDAR
WAXWING, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, FOX SPARROW,
GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, SONG SPARROW, SPOTTED TOWHEE, DARK-EYED JUNCO, and
PURPLE FINCH. We were not able to relocate the White-throated Sparrow
reported earlier in the week. The HUTTON'S VIREO seen the previous week
was relocated in this area in the afternoon.
Along the west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail we had great looks of
At the Twin Barns cut-off another large mixed flock was found and we added
DOWNY WOODPECKER, another HUTTON'S VIREO, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, BUSHTIT,
BROWN CREEPER, BEWICK'S WREN, and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER (Audubon's).
The Twin Barns Observation Platform is an easily accessible and excellent
view point to scan the flooded fields, fresh water marsh, mud flats and
surge plain for all species and additional sightings. We have not seen
Northern Shrike this Autumn which is noteworthy as this species usually
arrives the beginning of October. Six SNOW GEESE flew into the fresh water
marsh in the morning, but did not stick around and were flushed away by a
hunting Bald Eagle.
Out on the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail the surge plain had hundreds
of dabbling ducks. On the incoming tide we had nice distant looks of
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER and DUNLIN. Two PEREGRINE FALCON perched in the
surrounding trees. Other species seen along the dike included AMERICAN
BITTERN, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, RING-BILLED GULL, MARSH WREN, AMERICAN
KESTREL, and WESTERN MEADOWLARK.
On the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail, we had a nice push from the
incoming tide and had great looks of GREATER SCAUP, SURF SCOTER, COMMON
LOON and WESTERN GREBE. Other species seen included
GLAUCOUS-WINGED/WESTERN GULL, THAYER GULL, MEW GULL, DOUBLE-CRESTED
CORMORANT, LEAST SANDPIPER, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, and BELTED KINGFISHER. The
last 700 feet of the boardwalk is closed until the end of January for
hunting season. However, scoping from the end of the boardwalk was still
productive in adding WHITE-WINGED SCOTER and BRANDT'S CORMORANT. While
returning on the board walk Anders spotted a good candidate for Harlan's
variety of RED-TAILED HAWK flying in from the marsh plain. This individual
had no brown, gray tones only, dark underwing coverts congruent with black
belly band, light tail base and white markings on the head. We scrutinized
our observation for possible Rough-legged Hawk, but thought the flight
style, shorter tail, and lack of prominent underwing carpal patches made
Harlan's a better fit. This bird was previously reported earlier in the
On our return we a wonderful fly over of 13 TRUMPETER SWAN, and picked up
PACIFIC WREN on the east side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail. We did not see
the Barred Owl reported on the east side earlier in the week.
66 species for the day, 165 species for the year. Mammals seen included
Columbia Black-tailed Deer, Eastern Gray Squirrel, Harbor Seal, and
Until next week, when Phil will return, happy birding!
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