Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Saturday April 28 Nisqually NWR

We went out with high hopes today. Rudy and I were finally home together after our separate travels, the bird migration up to Alaska was on and we had a Saturday to spend searching for migrants at Nisqually NWR. All reports were good, it was even supposed to be descent weather. Well gosh, about none of those things turned out to be true--other than Rudy and I were finally together. When we got there the swallows were in force so that was a nice reception. Cliff swallows (#81) and barn swallows (#82) were nesting around the visitors center. Swooping in and out like only swallows can do. In fact I think the word swooping was invented to describe swallows. We decided to try to get out to the mudflats as quick as possible--since the tide was right. Of course we were quite distracted on the way out. We checked out more swallows and saw the northern rough wing swallows (#83) by the twin barns.

tree swallow

We kept a watchful eye out for the owls--but no luck, again. Out to the boardwalk there was a red-tailed hawk feeding on the ground by the trail. Out toward the flats we saw a few Savannah sparrows (#84) a white-crowned sparrow (#85) and in the marsh some cinnamon teals (#86).

cinnamon teals

But where are the hundreds of migrating shorebirds stopping by to pick up nutrients on their way to Alaska? We walked out most of the way on the boardwalk but there was not much. We did see a few Caspian terns (#87) with some seagulls. They really are one of my favorite birds and one of them decided to perform for us, flying high and then dropping into the water to catch a bit of dinner. We also saw a few greater yellowlegs (#88) picking around in the mud. But other than those few birds there wasn't much. Of course there were great blue herons, mallards and some dabblers but not even many of those. It wasn't even that great of weather--for a few brief moments the sun would poke through the clouds and warm us up but then disappear and cool us down again.

We gave up on the mudflats and decided to try our hand at the woods so back along the river we traipsed. We did see quite a few yellow-rumped warblers (#89), both Audubon and Magnolia.

see the yellow rump?

 But other than those we didn't see much. So we called it a day, disappointed in the amount of birds that weren't there but happy that we added nine to our count. That's the point anyway, isn't it?

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