[Tweeters] Informal Wednesday Walk at Billy Frank Jr Nisqually NWR
shepthorp at gmail.com
Fri Mar 18 20:26:16 PDT 2022
We had a really nice day at the Refuge with partly cloudy skies, occasional
light rain, and temperatures in the 40's-50's degrees Fahrenheit. There
was a Low 5.53ft Tide at 12:07pm, so we decided to do our regular walk.
Highlights included PILEATED WOODPECKER and VARIED THRUSH in the Orchard,
FOY WOOD DUCK in the northwest section of the Visitor Center Pond, FOY
RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD at the Twin Barns Overlook along with great looks of
AMERICAN BITTERN and EURASIAN GREEN-WINGED TEAL, FOY HERMIT THRUSH along
the new dike where bramble along the slough meets the dike, FOY GREATER
WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE mixed in with CACKLERS, and a great variety of plumages
of HORNED GREBE in McAllister Creek. We did not relocate Red-shouldered
Hawk, Cinnamon Teal, or Sandhill Crane.
Starting out at 8am at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook, we had great
viewing of RING-NECKED DUCK, HOODED MERGANSER and PIED-BILLED GREBE. Many
TREE SWALLOWS were flying over the pond and checking out cavities in snags
and trees for nesting.
The Orchard was good for BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, CHESTNUT BACKED CHICKADEE,
GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, FOX SPARROW along with our
observations of PILEATED WOODPECKER and VARIED THRUSH. There were good
numbers of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, Audubon's variety, in the Orchard and
across the entrance road where the Access Road goes over the slough towards
the flooded fields.
The flooded fields were terrific for enjoying VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW,
CACKLING GEESE (both minima and taverner's), NORTHERN SHOVELER, AMERICAN
GREEN WINGED TEAL, AMERICAN WIGEON, NORTHERN PINTAIL, MALLARD, and AMERICAN
COOT. We ended up seeing three EURASIAN WIGEON amongst the American
Wigeon. And by afternoon the GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was mingling with
The Twin Barns Loop Trail provided folks with looks of WOOD DUCK, BEWICK'S
WREN, PACIFIC WREN, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, RUBY CROWNED KINGLET and BROWN
The AMERICAN BITTERN continues in the slough adjacent to the Twin Barns
Overlook. We had really spectacular views of our FOY RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD
perched atop an Alder Tree overlooking Indian Plumb in bloom. The EURASIAN
GREEN-WINGED TEAL was relocated in the flooded fields immediately west of
the Twin Barns, along with nice viewing of all waterfowl. We did not hear
or see the Red-shouldered Hawk. Over the weekend, there were reports of
Sandhill Crane and Cinnamon Teal, neither of which made an appearance. The
BALD EAGLE nest in the Cottonwood Trees over the Twin Barns is active with
restorations by the breeding pair.
MARSH WREN were very vocal along the new dike or NISQUALLY ESTUARY TRAIL.
A FOY HERMIT THRUSH was seen and heard by many in the bramble where the
slough runs under the dike. The freshwater marsh had a good number of
GREAT BLUE HERON roosting. A WILSON'S SNIPE was picked out across from the
boardwalk . NORTHERN HARRIER hunted both sides of the dike.
The Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail was great for COMMON GOLDENEYE,
BUFFLEHEAD, SURF SCOTER and RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. There were many
GREATER YELLOWLEGS foraging along the watersedge. We also had good looks
of gulls including SHORT-BILLED GULL, RING-BILLED GULL, GLAUCOUS-WINGED
GULL, WESTERN X GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL and WESTERN GULL. There were 6 HORNED
GREBE in McAllister Creek in various stages of molt from non-breeding
plumage to breeding plumage leading to much discussion about possible Eared
Grebe and Red-necked Grebe (neither of which were seen). SPOTTED SANDPIPER
and BELTED KINGFISHER were also seen. From the Puget Sound Viewing
Platform we had decent looks of BRANT GEESE, GREATER SCAUP and large flocks
of DUNLIN out on the reach.
On our return we picked up COMMON MERGANSER in Nisqually River, and
RED-TAILED HAWK in the riparian forest surrounded by the Twin Barns Loop
We observed 75 species for the day, with 107 species for the year. Mammals
seen included Eastern Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Eastern Gray Squirrel, and
Until next week, happy birding. Be well!
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