[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk for 2.13.2019
shepthorp at gmail.com
Wed Feb 13 18:19:48 PST 2019
8 of us enjoyed a snow covered walk at Nisqually this Wednesday. Partly
cloudy skies with temperatures in the 30's to 40's degrees Fahrenheit with
snow covered terrain. We had a High 13.10ft Tide at 10:56am. Highlights
included WILSON'S SNIPE, VARIED THRUSH, VIRGINIA RAIL and RED-THROATED LOON.
Starting out at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook at 8am, we had great looks
of two WILSON'S SNIPE on the right hand side of the Pond near the spring.
We also had very nice observation of NORTHERN SHOVELER, RING-NECKED DUCK,
BUFFLEHEAD, BELTED KINGFISHER, and Audubon's variety of YELLOW-RUMPED
WARBLER. There was a very nice mixed flock of BROWN CREEPER, BLACK-CAPPED
CHICKADEE, CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, RUBY-CROWNED
KINGLET, SPOTTED TOWHEE and SONG SPARROW in the conifers across the
entrance road from the east parking lot between the Visitor Center and
The Orchard was good for FOX SPARROW, GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW and ANNA'S
HUMMINGBIRD. With all the snow we had nice looks of VARIED THRUSH, which
are usually hard to find at the Refuge. KILLDEER were observed in the
frozen flooded fields south of the Access Road, and we had a quick look at
a HERMIT THRUSH where the Access Road turns north just southwest of the
west parking lot where the slough goes under the road.
The west side of the Twin Barns Look Trail was good for HOUSE FINCH,
RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, AMERICAN COOT, HAIRY WOODPECKER, MARSH WREN and our
first of two VIRGINIA RAILs walking on snow. There was a fly over of
The tide was right for a very nice push of waterfowl and shorebirds towards
the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail. We had really nice looks of
GREEN-WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN WIGEON, GADWALL, NORTHERN PINTAIL, GREATER
YELLOWLEGS and 500 or so DUNLINS. LINCOLN'S SPARROW and MARSH WREN were
much easier to see in the snow compressed reed canary grass of the surge
plain. We also had very good looks at raptors including NORTHERN HARRIER,
BALD EAGLE, RED-TAILED HAWK, and PEREGRINE FALCON. We had several
groupings of gulls including MEW GULL, RING-BILLED GULL and GLAUCOUS-WINGED
GULL. A young Coyote put on a great show hunting along the dike with leaps
and bounds, eventually catching a vole.
Out on the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail we enjoyed BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON
GOLDENEYE, HOODED MERGANSER, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER and SURF SCOTER. The
Puget Sound Observation platform had great visibility and was good for
scoping BRANT GEESE, BRANDT'S CORMORANT, COMMON LOON, HORNED GREBE, SCAUP
and PIGEON GUILLEMOT. A RED-THROATED LOON swam adjacent to the marsh for
nice close up views. Adjacent to the platform we had great looks of
EURASIAN WIGEON, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, and LEAST SANDPIPER. A male NORTHERN
HARRIER was observed out over the marsh.
On our return, we picked up a second VIRGINIA RAIL walking on snow covered
frozen water in the fresh water marsh. As per the usual, COMMON MERGANSER
were seen at the Nisqually River Overlook. We added RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER
and DOWNY WOODPECKER in a large mixed flock, which was very active, near
the beaver dam.
For the day, we had 69 species, with 86 species for the year. Mammals seen
include Coyote hunting and catching Vole, and Harbor Seal.
Until next week when we will meet again at 8am, happy birding!
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