Trip Report
Nisqually 2012-02-15
Field pond
Slough north of visitor center
Brushy area near two barns
Marshy ponds within the dike
Sunlit willow beyond the dike
New tidal flats along McAllister Ck
Boardwalk along McAllister Ck
Trail through riparian cottonwoods
2012-02-15 13:00 for 4 hours (photography) 37 sightings Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (WATCNISQ) Nisqually, WA (USA) Lat,Long: 47.08028,-122.71402 Map Elevation: 10 feet
The wildlife refuge covers the western half of the estuary of the Nisqually River and consists of fresh and saltwater marshes, ponds and channels, pastures and hayfields, a few barns and a riparian forest of cottonwood, alder, big-leaf maple and ash, understorey shrubs including salmonberry and Oemlaria, and lots of horsetails. Trails meander through the woodland and follow dikes out into the marshes, offering views of sloughs and flooded fields. Sunny, 46F, light SE breeze, low tide. Susan and I walked the trails and boardwalk out as far as the second shelter (beyond the bird blind). I took photos and we took our time. I recorded sightings rather casually and didn't bother to count all the ducks, particularly the distant waterfowl beyond the dike.
Canada Goose 800   Large flock of Cackling Canada Geese in fields west of the visitor center parking lot. Count estimated from incomplete set of photos. Also saw a few pairs of regular Canada Geese.
American Wigeon 20   Pasture ponds and intertidal pools & channels
Mallard 20   Freshwater pasture ponds and McAllister creek
Northern Shoveler 20   Freshwater pasture ponds
Northern Pintail 40   Pasture ponds and intertidal pools & channels, mostly paired.
Green-winged Teal 10   Pasture ponds, trilled "trreeet" calls.
Ring-necked Duck 8   Mostly paired, in slough N of visitor center
Hooded Merganser 2   Pair in slough N of visitor center
Double-crested Cormorant 1   Over McAllister Creek
American Bittern 1   Skulking and posing along the freshwater side of the dike NW of the two barns. I've been looking for one of these for several years now and was delighted to finally find one.
Great Blue Heron 2   Along the saltwater side of the dike
Bald Eagle 3   Two adults and a juvenile in cottonwoods
Northern Harrier 2   Over fields
Red-tailed Hawk 2   Cottonwoods and snags beyond the dike.
Peregrine Falcon 1   Adult in large cottonwood at corner of parking area, probably female.
American Coot 30   Freshwater slough and marshy pond along the dike
Dunlin 15   Flock along McAllister Creek
Mew Gull 3   Second-cycle birds in intertidal areas. Ring-billed Gull has brighter yellow bill with clear subterminal black ring. Sub-adult Mew Gull has dull greenish-yellow bill with dark tip. Both can have black tips on tail feathers and extensive dark wingtips but sub-adult Ring-bills usually have no mirrors while Mew has white mirrors on P9 and P10.
Ring-billed Gull 1   Adult flying over McAllister Creek. Pale mantle, sharply delineated and fairly extensive black wingtip, golden yellow bill w/ black subterminal band.
Glaucous-winged Gull 35   Several along McAllister Creek, more overhead late in the afternoon.
Great Horned Owl 3   Adult with two fluffy young in hollow cottonwood
Belted Kingfisher 2   Around fresh and salt water
Downy Woodpecker 1   Calling in cottonwoods
American Crow 3   Field near visitor center
Black-capped Chickadee 1   Calling in woods
Brown Creeper 2   Calling in cottonwoods
Bewick's Wren 1   Calling in woods
Pacific Wren 2   Calling in woods, one seen.
Marsh Wren 5   Tangled grass and sedges along the dike. We watched the bird in the photos for a half hour before it finally emerged from under the grass and perched briefly out in the open. Two-note call similar to Pacific Wren but not as hard.
Golden-crowned Kinglet 1   In willow tree near slough
American Robin 7   Lawns and woods
European Starling 30   Flock in willows west of visitor center
Spotted Towhee 1   Grassy area in woods
Fox Sparrow 2   Individuals in brush
Song Sparrow 5   Bushes near water, one singing
Red-winged Blackbird 3   Singing from tops of willows near the dike late in the afternoon
Pine Siskin 20   Flock heard in willows
Cackling Canada Geese
Canada Goose
Female Mallard
Northern Pintail male
Northern Pintail pair
Hooded Merganser
Hooded Merganser
American Bittern camouflaged
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Bald Eagles
Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk
Adult Red-tailed Hawk
Peregrine Falcon
American Coot
American Coot
Mew Gull
Mew Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
GW Gull pursuing Mew Gull
Baby Great-horned Owls
Belted Kingfisher
Marsh Wren
Marsh Wren
American Robin
American Robin running
Spotted Towhee
Fox Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Song Sparrow