This area shows a lot of understory at the refuge. There are several trees at the refuge, but they do not have their leaves back yet. On the ground many of the plants sprawl out or shoot straight up. If there had not been a boardwalk this area would have been difficult to walk through.
Otherwise known as Kinnikinnick, this plant was growing low to the ground towards the end of the loop on the Nisqually trail. The plant did not have red berries yet, but it was budding with pink flowers.
Seen towards end of the Nisqually loop, just before the visitors center. This plant was just buddy and had small leaves. It was nearly seven-nine feet tall and had tall single shoots at the top.
Several wood ducks were seen in a small pond area near the estuary of the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. There were over 40 ducks in the area. The Wood Ducks had a thick white band on top of their head with black on the sides. All of them had primarily brown bodies. The picture shows the ducks in the background, but they are too far away to see. Various kinds of Pintail, American Widgens, and Northern Shovelers ducks were also spotted.
Using a large telescope, a bald eagle was spotted in a tall tree overlooking the wetland, estuary area. The eagle was large and had the traditional white head and dark black body. Please see picture on the observation of the Northern Herringer to see a picture of the area. Both were spotted at this location.
Marsh Hawk found in large open field along Nisqually Wildlife Refuge trail. There were a few stag trees in the area and standing water visible through patches of grass. The bird was dark brown and smaller than the Red-tailed hawk we saw earlier. It was using a technique called "kiting" where the hawk used wind currents to stay up without flapping its wings. It almost seemed like the bird was simply levitating rather than flying. The hawk used this technique quite a few times when it was looking over the grass land area.
Unfortunately the hawk was too far away to get a picture, but I did get a picture of the area.
Two birds swimming upstream in Nisqually River. One was mostly white with a black head and reddish beak. The other (the female) had a gray body, small white spot near its bottom, and a brownish/red head that had somewhat spikey feathers. These birds were identified using a bird guidebook.
Sparrows with yellow on head and two brown stripes on either side. Pecking at buds of bush. Small beaks, but pointy. Light brown/gray body with dark brown spotting and white tips. Due to speed and distance no picture could be taken.
Small Bewick's wren heard in the underbrush near trail, but not seen. Called in using iBird application on the iPhone and the bird flew near use trying to defend its territory. Upon not seeing a bird where the noises were coming from it flew and landed in a dense shrub. Small white stripe on head and brown body (that had splotches of dark and light brown). Picture shows bird in the middle.
Small bird with black head and thick white band on the cheek. The rest of the body was a muted brown color. These birds (approximately 7-10 of them) were in a brush area most likely feeding on gnats. Identification from bird book. Picture of area, but no birds visible in picture.
Beautiful black bird sitting on rock along Nisqually River. This bird is all black except for a small (couple inches) white spot towards it back end. Through binoculars we could see red around the eye of the Cormorant. Another cormorant flew by and dived into the water, but then left afterward. The bird had a yellowish beak. Due to distance no picture could be taken.
Blue Herron along Nasqually River seen. Blue and gray back, long white feathers under beak and a black stripe going from the eye to the back of the head. Black also seen on what appears to be under the wings. Due to distance a picture could not be taken, but I did take a picture of the location. The bird was standing on the edge of the river being very still and looking into the water. After a while it flew away.
Hawk with yellow eyes, big body, brown/white belly and broad wings when flying. Brown/black tail (striped). The bird flew to a tree right next to the trail. It was absolutely amazing to see the hawk that close, and I was surprised that it was not bothered by our large crowd.
Saw a Common Yellowthroat jumping around on a Maple tree and then flying all around the tree. The bird had a soft yellow on its throat and a light brown back. The belly was almost white, but not quite. This bird was identified using a bird guidebook and a sign nearby said they were in the area. Unfortunately do to its speed and distance no picture was taken.
Black Cottonwood trees seen along with large Maple trees. The Cottonwoods had small branches high up while the Maples had larger branches lower to the ground. The Cottonwood has a very straight trunk while the Maple's is less so. Black Cottonwoods surround by mid-understory and the trees were at least 60 feet tall.
Small birds climbing up cottonwood trees and then spiraling down. Possibly feeding on insects. The birds have white bellies with striped/spotted backs of dark and light brown colors (perhaps some black too). Difficult to see these birds because they were constantly moving, and thus no picture was taken.
Plant near standing water area, along with several other plants and grasses. It had pink blooming flowers.
Two Great Horned Owls spotted on branches far from the trail. They were visible with the naked eye if you knew where you were looking, but it was much easier to spot them through binoculars. The two birds were just above the brush line, on two opposite branches on either side of the trunk. They had pointy ears and a dark facial disk. Their bodies were still fuzzy making me believe they were young owls, but there were visible stripes on their bellies. Sorry I could not capture a picture, they were too far away.
Two Canadian Geese near trail at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. It seemed to be a male and female because one goose was larger and taller than the other. The birds were pecking at the ground for food.
Small brown Song Sparrow seen in the thick underbrush of snow berry plants. Has a long melodic song and it brown and gray in color. The bird flicked its tail frequently. In the picture it may be hard to see the bird, but it is in the center. If you can zoom you will see it distinctly.