Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sunday March 18, 2012 Nisqually NWR

We didn't feel satisfied from our birding on Saturday so we decided to skip church and go down to Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge to see what we could see. Once again, so cold, wet and miserable. Why are we doing this? To start I checked at the Center. There had been reports from the day before of the fledgling great horned owls flying around an alder grove by the boardwalk, so that's where we headed. On the way we were following a very good birder. He recognized a Pacific wren and then a warbler--we didn't catch either of those. Well we did see the warbler but we couldn't tell for sure which kind. Probably a yellow-rump warbler but we couldn't confirm it so no count. We should see some later this year. Hoping we couldn't miss a good size owl we moved onward. We reached the alder area and watched, along with some other birders. Nothing. There was a gentleman with a very large lens who had been there the day before and seen the birds. The weather had been hailing and bad and he couldn't get any good photos that day so he had come back but no owls, no photos. Oh well, we still had about 4 miles of trail left, there should be something.  It had stopped raining and we were hopeful for clearing, but the clouds didn't look good. Anyway, we proceeded out toward the boardwalk but before we could even get to the beginning it started to rain, hail and the wind picked up and it was so cold. We almost turned around but covered up the gear and moved on. It looked like it might be temporary. We did see some tree swallows (#67) flying up and around. That means spring is coming. Hopefully the birds know more than the weatherman. We headed for the beginning of the boardwalk where there is a gazebo where we could dry out for a moment. It was so cold. Our hands were so cold we couldn't keep the binocs up to our eyes very long--our fingers just hurt. That birder we had met earlier was there and helped us identify a Lincoln sparrow (#68) in the scrub bushed below the gazebo. We still had all of the boardwalk to go so we set out and went to the end and back, fighting hail, then a bit of sunshine then hail, cold and wind. No new birds. We walked back by the ponds. I checked in at the center before we got back to the car to see if anyone had seen the owls, but no reports. A day late all around.

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