[Tweeters] eBird Report - Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually NWR, April 4, 2018

festuca at comcast.net festuca at comcast.net
Thu Apr 5 06:57:46 PDT 2018

Hi folks,

I was a little late, due to a traffic back-up, getting to the Refuge about a quarter after 8, and found only a few people at the Visitors’ Center. Our USFWS Volunteer ‘leadership’ was absent, and we missed Phil Kelley, Eric Slagle, Russ Smith, and Shep Thorp who were out for a variety of reasons. So, I was ‘elected’ to be the leader of the walk. Only nine of us – including visiting birders from Michigan - waited around until about 8:30 to start the walk, in case additional people had been caught up in the traffic. We started along on the usual route – to the Environmental Education Center, through the old orchard, around the service road and back to the west side of the loop trail boardwalk to the Twin Barns.

We missed the expected sapsucker in the orchard, but had some stunning views of Audubon’s Yellow-rumped Warblers in their spring finery, and noted that the Anna’s Hummingbird was still on her nest in a pear tree, with a male Rufous Hummingbird perched 20 feet away. The large flocks of Cackling Geese were not on the Refuge today, but we had good views and comparisons between Taverner’s and “Ridgway’s” cacklers.

We did a short stop at the Barns’ overlook where we saw five species of swallows, Cliff and Northern Rough-winged swallows being new for the year. We then went out on the dike between the freshwater marsh and the estuary reclamation area, and spotted a single ‘first-of-the-year’ Savannah Sparrow. Half of the participants turned back at the estuary, as the rain had begun in earnest. Four of us die-hards continued out to the end of the estuary boardwalk, getting somewhat damp. We couldn’t see much out onto the Nisqually Reach due to the rain and mist, but our out-of-State participant got good views of our Left Coast species. It is always fun to see folks from “away” get excited about what we consider our “common” local birds! We did see the continuing flock of Black Brant out on the mudflats, found a pair of Eurasian Wigeon, and a Eurasian X American wigeon hybrid in the estuary restoration area, but couldn’t find the intergrade American X “Common” Green-winged Teal that we’d seen the last couple of weeks. At the estuary overlook, we watched a group of immature Bald Eagles squabble over a starry flounder lunch, until an adult eagle came down to claim possession.

The walk to the Nisqually River overlook and along the boardwalk back to the Visitors’ Center was pretty quiet, as it appeared the precipitation was keeping most of the birds quiet and under cover. We did not see the Great Horned Owl near the beaver dam; presumably she was tucked in out of the rain.

Here’s hoping to see you at the Wednesday walks. Meet at 8 a.m. at the Visitors’ Center for good birds, good people and good times!


- Jon. Anderson


Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually NWR, Thurston, Washington, US
Apr 4, 2018 8:15 AM - 2:24 PM
Protocol: Traveling 5.25 mile(s)
Comments: Weekly Wednesday bird walk. The walk started overcast, calm and 42 °F with the rain beginning around 10:30 a.m. There was a 12.77-foot tide at 8:29 a.m., ebbing toward a +0.18-foot low water at 3:17 p.m. Mammals seen included several eastern cottontail rabbits, and Harbor seals in McAllister Creek; another Refuge visitor reported seeing a long-tailed weasel and a muskrat.
61 species (+13 other taxa)

Brant (Black) (Branta bernicla nigricans/orientalis) 65 Out on the mudflats at the edge of the 'State' marsh
Cackling Goose (minima) (Branta hutchinsii minima) 16
Cackling Goose (Taverner's) (Branta hutchinsii taverneri) 55
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) 24
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) 3
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) 30
Gadwall (Mareca strepera) 24
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope) 2
American Wigeon (Mareca americana) 245
Eurasian x American Wigeon (hybrid) (Mareca penelope x americana) 1 Male showing limited reddish in head, as well as the green eye patch of the American
Mallard (Northern) (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos/conboschas) 60
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) 36
Green-winged Teal (American) (Anas crecca carolinensis) 525
Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) 13
Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) 3
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) 110 About 80-90 out in the Nisqually Reach
Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) 10
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) 3
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) 1
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) 6
duck sp. (Anatinae sp.) 200 On Nisqually Reach - could not identify through the rain & mist
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) 1 Visitors' Center pond
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 8
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 8
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 12
Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola) 2
American Coot (Fulica americana) 35
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) 50 two flocks of about 2 dozen each; a few pairs and small groups flying back and forth
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) 1 west bank of McAllister Creek
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) 7
Mew Gull (Larus canus) 120
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) 40
California Gull (Larus californicus) 1
Western x Glaucous-winged Gull (hybrid) (Larus occidentalis x glaucescens) 3
Western/Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus occidentalis/glaucescens) 12
gull sp. (Larinae sp.) 40
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon)) 9
Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) 1 Female on the nest in the orchard.
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) 4
hummingbird sp. (Trochilidae sp.) 2
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) 2
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) 1
Hairy Woodpecker (Pacific) (Picoides villosus [harrisi Group]) 2
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 1
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) (Colaptes auratus [cafer Group]) 2
Merlin (Falco columbarius) 1
Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) 2 vocalized from timber on west side of McAllister Creek
American/Northwestern Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos/caurinus) 12
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) 1
Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) 40
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) 60
Tree/Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor/thalassina) 20
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 2
Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) 2
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 10
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens) 1
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana) 4
Pacific Wren (Troglodytes pacificus) 2
Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris) 7
Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii) 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) 2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 12
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 24
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) 10
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) (Setophaga coronata coronata) 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's) (Setophaga coronata auduboni) 6
Fox Sparrow (Sooty) (Passerella iliaca [unalaschcensis Group]) 3
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group]) 2
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) 7
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) 1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 30
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) 1
Spotted Towhee (oregonus Group) (Pipilo maculatus [oregonus Group]) 1
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) 40
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