[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk for 3/14/2018

Shep Thorp shepthorp at gmail.com
Fri Mar 16 09:47:12 PDT 2018


Hi Tweets,

about thirty of us enjoyed a pretty dry day with mostly cloudy skies and
temperatures in the 40 to 50's degree Fahrenheit. There was a Low 5.89ft
Tide at 11:38am. Highlights included FOY VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW, HOUSE
SPARROW - last observed several years ago, GREAT HORNED OWL on nest, BALD
EAGLE on nest, and continuing INTERGRADE GREEN-WINGED TEAL.

Starting out at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook at 8am, we had good looks
at courting HOODED MERGANSER, RING-NECKED DUCK, MALLARD, NORTHERN FLICKER
and SONG SPARROW. We also observed PIED-BILLED GREBE.

Our wintering NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL continues.

Around the Orchard we had nice mixed flocks of DOWNY WOODPECKER,
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE, BUSHTIT, GOLDEN-CROWNED
KINGLET, RUBY CROWNED KINGLET, BROWN CREEPER, and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER.
The GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS have started to forage for insects in trees,
which is something I suspect they do prior to migration. We had great
views of two VARIED THRUSH. ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, PACIFIC WREN, and
BEWICKS WREN were heard. Overhead we had a nice display of TREE SWALLOWS,
and FOY Violet-green Swallows. The Tree Swallows are already checking out
nest cavities. Three COMMON RAVEN were observed flying overhead.

Along the Access Road and the flooded fields we enjoyed NORTHERN SHOVELER
and NORTHERN PINTAIL. Both minima and taverner's CACKLING GEESE were
foraging and flying around when pursued by BALD EAGLE. Many AMERICAN ROBIN
were seen foraging from the fields. We had two WILSON'S SNIPE sightings.
And quick fly by of BARN SWALLOW and FOY WOOD DUCK.

Between the Access Road and the west Parking Lot we heard and observed a
male HOUSE SPARROW calling. It's been several years since I've seen this
species on the Refuge.

The west entrance to the Twin Barns Loop Trail was good for observing Tree
Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee and EUROPEAN STARLING exploring snags for
nest cavities. Along the way we heard MARSH WREN as well as additional
Bewicks Wren and Pacific Wren. We also had good looks at FOX SPARROW. The
GREAT HORNED OWL still sits in the nest tree, and we speculate the
condition of her clutch as we have observed her here for 6 weeks.

The Twin Barns Overlook was good for Yellow-rumped Warbler and observing
all waterfowl. There are many AMERICAN COOT working the flooded fields and
fresh water marsh.

The Nisqually Estuary Trail provided good scope views of AMERICAN WIGEON,
EURASIAN WIGEON, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, GADWALL, BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE,
BALD EAGLE, RED-TAILED HAWK, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, RING-BILLED GULL, MEW
GULL, and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL. On the fresh water side we were able to
pick out a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE with the CACKLERS, a roosting
EURASIAN WIGEON (1 of two seen), and VIRGINIA RAIL was heard. We had a
quick fly over of WESTERN MEADOWLARK, and the RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS are
claiming territory in the marsh.

Out on the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail, the McAllister Creek viewing
platform is good for searching for an INTERGRADE GREEN-WINGED TEAL that has
been seen over the last 3-4 weeks. There is also a hybrid American X
Eurasian Wigeon in the same area. And great scope views of the nesting
BALD EAGLE along the west bank of McAllister Creek just south of the
platform. We also had great looks of RED-BREASTED MERGANSER, SURF SCOTER,
DUNLIN, LEAST SANDPIPER, and SPOTTED SANDPIPER. Additional Greater
Yellowlegs were seen.


>From the Puget Sound Viewing Platform we were able to scope BRANT GEESE,

DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT and BRANDT'S CORMORANT. There were good numbers
of Larus species with plenty of big pink legged gulls, both WESTERN X
GLAUCOUS-WINGED "Olympic" GULLS and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS.

On our return we picked up COMMON MERGANSER at the Nisqually Overlook and
noticed additional Black-capped Chickadee checking out potential nest
cavities.

A very nice day with 69 species seen and 96 species for the year. Mammals
seen include Long-tailed Weasel, Muskrat, Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Eastern
Gray Squirrel, and Harbor Seal.

Until next week, when Phil will return to lead the walk.

Good birding!

Shep
--
Shep Thorp
Browns Point
253-370-3742
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