[Tweeters] Informal Wednesday Walk Billy Frank Jr Nisqually NWR for
shepthorp at gmail.com
Wed Jan 12 19:58:55 PST 2022
We had a surprisingly dry day at the Refuge with the recent rains from the
"atmospheric river". We started out at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook at
8am with light precipitation and temperatures in the 50's degrees
Fahrenheit. Highlights included SNOW GOOSE, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER,
RED-SHOULDERED HAWK and three RED-THROATED LOONS in McAllister Creek.
The Visitor Center Pond was good for HOODED MERGANSER and RING-NECKED
DUCK. There was also MALLARD, BUFFLEHEAD, AMERICAN COOT and SONG SPARROW.
The Orchard provided nice looks of SPOTTED TOWHEE, FOX SPARROW, and
GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW. We also enjoyed BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE and
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, Audubon's variety.
The flooded fields south and west of the Access Road are great for
waterfowl including CACKLING GEESE, both Minima's and Taverner's, NORTHERN
SHOVELER, NORTHERN PINTAIL, AMERICAN WIGEON and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. Two of
our highlights included sightings of the two SNOW GEESE, and BLACK-BELLIED
PLOVER. At one point several hundred DUNLIN flew in to roost on the mud,
and were quickly pursued by a PEREGRINE FALCON.
The west side of the Twin Barns Loop trail had many GOLDEN-CROWNED
KINGLETS. One of our birders found a RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER in the Maple
Tree just south of where the access road cuts across the trail. We had
great looks of DOWNY WOODPECKER foraging in the flooded riparian forest on
a tree just 6 inches above the water.
The Twin Barns Overlook is great for viewing waterfowl in the flooded
fields. It's also been a good spot to see the RED-SHOULDERED HAWK that's
been wintering along the access road in the restricted sanctuary between
the Twin Barns and the old McAllister Creek access road. AMERICAN BITTERN
was seen by some of our group in the slough that runs along the side of the
Out on the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail, MARSH WREN and LINCOLN'S
SPARROW were seen by some. Good numbers of waterfowl were observed in the
surge plain, tidal mudflats and freshwater marsh. We had good looks of
BALD EAGLE, RED-TAILED HAWK, continuing RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, NORTHERN
HARRIER and additional PEREGRINE FALCON. We were not able to relocate the
SHORT-EARED OWL that has been recently seen along Leschi Slough north of
the dike. A few GADWALL were seen. We had good flocks of DUNLIN upwards
of 1000-2000, many GREATER YELLOWLEGS, RING-BILLED GULL and GREAT BLUE
While on the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail, we were able to follow
another highlight of the day, three RED-THROATED LOONS in McAllister
Creek. We also had great looks at SURF SCOTER, HORNED GREBE, RED-BREASTED
MERGANSER, COMMON GOLDENEYE and BUFFLEHEAD. Many GREATER YELLOWLEGS were
foraging on the marsh plain just south of the confluence, we picked up two
SPOTTED SANDPIPER along the west bank of the creek and about 20 LEAST
SANDPIPERS in the pickleweed next to the boards near the end where the gate
closes ofF that last 700 feet of the trail.
>From the trail closure gate, we scoped the reach and added BRANT GEESE,
COMMON LOON, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, BRANDT CORMORANT, SHORT-BILLED GULL,
GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL and "Olympic Gull" to our list for the day.
On our return we had nice looks of PURPLE FINCH along the north side of the
Twin Barns Loop Trail. A single female COMMON MERGANSER was seen at the
Nisqually River Overlook. BROWN CREEPER was seen along the east side of
the loop trail.
65 species for the day with 72 species for the year. Mammals seen included
Eastern Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Coyote, Harbor Seal, California Sea Lion,
Eastern Gray Squirrel and Columbia Black-tailed Deer.
Until next week, be well, and happy birding.
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