Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Going to See the Birdies

To distract ourselves from the pangs of hunger during our post-holiday detox, the hubs and I decided to drive down to Olympia to check out the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge.  I saw something about it on TV and immediately decided I had to go there.  I love birds and we are always watching them out our windows, but decided that it would be nice to see something other than juncos, finches, and chickadees for a change.

And see we did.  It was awesome.  The rain held off and we saw more water fowl than I've ever seen in my life.  To top it off, we even saw three different species of mammal.  So cool.  We were hungry, but it was so nice to spend a few hours outside, taking in the fresh air and being a part of a world that is not quite our own.

The sky was really cool.
We were following these green winged teal because they were so cute.
There was a belted kingfisher on those trees.
Greater yellowlegs!
Did I mention that the sky was really cool?

GBH! GBH! GBH! We were thinking possibly a juvenile.
Geese are big.
 Final species list was as follows:
* Pied-billed Grebe
* Great Blue Heron (tons)
* Canada Goose
* Green-winged Teal
* Mallard
* Gadwall
* Ring-necked Duck
* American Widgeon
* Bufflehead
* Northern Harrier
* Bald Eagle (so many!)
* Greater Yellowlegs
* Ring Billed Gull
* Belted Kingfisher
* Downy Woodpecker
* Northern Flicker
* American Crow
* Black-capped Chickadee
* Marsh Wren
* Song Sparrow
* Dark-eyed Junco
* Mountain Beaver
* Sea Lion
* Harbor Seal

The ones in italics are the ones that are new to my bird list.  I LOVE adding new species to my life list.  I know, I'm a HUGE nerd.

That's 21 birds and 3 mammals.  I got so excited about the beaver that in my excitement I dropped my camera when Shawn and I were switching for binoculars and I scared it away.  But at least I got a shot of it.  It was also really fun to watch the seal and sea lion swimming around in the estuary.  Of course the birds were awesome as well.  My knowledge of water fowl is fairly limited so it was a fabulous way to test my ID powers.

Seriously, go there.  It's easy, only 3 dollars per four people, and a great way to get some laid back exercise.  I don't think there are very many situations where I feel more at peace than in a location where nature is allowed to take over just a little bit.  Thanks birds.

*Update: It has been brought to my attention that the "beaver" we saw is more likely a Nutria, a very large semi aquatic rodent.  They are considered pests so they're not as exciting as beavers, but I've never seen one before, so I'm still happy.

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