Monthly Archives: February 2016

February Visit to Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

I love to take photographs at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge (recently renamed the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge).  It’s a popular attraction for birders and nature lovers.  On any nice weather day, you’ll find lots of visitors with binoculars, fancy cameras, and scopes.  Visitors come from miles around for a chance at seeing a rare bird or just to enjoy a nice walk in the woods and along the estuary!

Here’s what I saw this time!

Immature Bald Eagles – Up close!

Immature Bald Eagle near Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail

Immature Bald Eagle near Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail

Bald eagles are a very common sight at Nisqually.  You often see them soaring high, or sometimes sitting in tree tops near the visitor center, or just about anywhere.  However, it’s not every day that you see them near the boardwalk!  I really lucked out at getting these close-up photos.  I watched this one for awhile, hoping he would do some hunting (I’d love to get a photo of him with a fish or something), but he was just relaxing.  There were actually two of them near the Estuary Boardwalk, and here’s a photo I got of the other one as he was flying away:

Immature Bald Eagle Flying

Immature Bald Eagle Flying

Canada Geese Pairing off… Fighting.. Honking

Canada Goose in a Tree!

Canada Goose in a Tree!

Canada Geese are busy this time of the year, trying to win over a mate and defend their territory.  Canada Geese are numerous at Nisqually NWR year round.  During this time of the year (and probably through the next couple of months, as Spring starts), you see them flying high up in the trees!  I’m used to seeing them on the ground, so when I first saw them in a tree, I was quite surprised!  But if you visit Nisqually often, you will get used to this behavior!  One visitor said that one of the geese landed on the Great Horned Owl nest and got quite a surprise from the mother owl!

Canada Geese Honking

Canada Geese Honking

The Owl is Still on the Nest

Great Horned Owl in Nest

Great Horned Owl in Nest

We are all waiting anxiously for owlets to appear!  Sorry that I don’t have a better photo… Other way more patient photographers probably got better photos.

Hooded Mergansers

Hooded Mergansers in the Nisqually Visitor Center Pond

Hooded Mergansers in the Nisqually Visitor Center Pond

These are beautiful, small ducks!  A common sight at the Nisqually visitor center pond!

American Coot – It’s NOT a duck!

IMG_5551-coot

These funny looking birds are also a common sight!  They have a funny white beak, a red eye, and are otherwise mostly black or gray.  Most of the time you see them in the water, eating grass like vegetation, but this one got out of the water (mostly) and started grooming:

American Coot Grooming

American Coot Grooming

Pied-billed Grebe – Cute Little Duck Like Bird!

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

 

Greater Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs

Greater Yellowlegs

These shorebirds were near the beginning of the Estuary Boardwalk.

Greater Yellowlegs Pair

Greater Yellowlegs Pair

Common Goldeneye (Female)

Common Goldeneye (Female)

Common Goldeneye (Female)

This little lady was foraging in the calm waters along the eastern segment of the Twin Barns Loop trail.  She was quite the diver and often swam for 3 feet or so underwater… She swam away fast when two Canada Geese started to approach!

IMG_5529-ed

Well, that’s it for this time!