April 1, 2012 Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

The second day of our field trip was very different from the first day as we were exploring the intertidal ecosystem here in the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. It is located in Thurston, WA (47.09 and -122.71), which is about 18 miles southeast of Olympia.
Along the trail were many red alders and common shrubs, including Indian plum, red flowering currant, snow berry, salmon berry, and nootka rose.

  • see written journal for more detail

In addition to the common shrubs, the Nisqually is also habitats of many birds. In between the red alders hid a great horned owl (bubo virginianus), who was resting peacefully on the tree branch. Furthermore, a juvenile red-tailed hawk was also spotted resting on a bigleaf maple.

As we walk along the trail toward the estuary, we found a garter snake hiding inside the westland grass. It was a black (or even dark green) with neon green strips. These little guys like to hang out in aquatic areas.

There were several Northern shovelers hanging out in the pond. At first glance, one might mistaken them with mallards, which also have green heads and colorful fur. However, the shovelers' beaks are black and a little longer and wider than mallards'. Due to competition, only male shovelers have colorful fur that change during breeding seasons. At the estuary, there was a marsh hawk or Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) circling around in the air, waiting for the perfect moment to catch its food. The marsh hawks tend to scare off the crows on the field before preying for food.

  • See written journal 2 for more detail

[Species List]
Red alder
Indian plum
Red flowering currant
Snow berry
Alder berry
Salmon berry
Nootka rose
Skunk cabbage
Great horned owl
Ted-tailed hawk
Garter snake
Northern shoveler
Marsh hawk
Great blue heron
Canada Geese

Publicado por hsin119 hsin119, 30 de abril de 2012

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