[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR - Wednesday walk - 6.28.2017
shepthorp at gmail.com
Wed Jun 28 19:08:58 PDT 2017
Thirty of us enjoyed a cool morning at the Refuge with highlights including
many breeding species, aerial display of WILSON'S SNIPE, high counts of
CASPIAN TERN, and the autumnal return of shorebirds including LEAST
SANDPIPER and WESTERN SANDPIPER.
Starting out at Visitor Center at 8AM, we had great looks of BARN SWALLOW
and AMERICAN ROBIN with occupied nests in the building. Other swallows
feeding around the pond included TREE SWALLOW and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED
SWALLOW. WILLOW FLYCATCHER and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH were also seen.
Along our way on the Access Road we were treated to two Wilson's Snipe
doing an aerial display circling the fields south of the Twin Barns. We
also had great looks of COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and CLIFF SWALLOW. SORA was
We hoofed it out to the Nisqually Estuary Trail or new dike to catch the
9am high tide. Three OSPREY were hunting the estuary. In the surge plain
just east of Leschi Slough we got decent looks of early fall migrants Least
Sandpiper and Western Sandpiper. Approximately 70 GREAT BLUE HERON flew
into the estuary to feed during the falling tide and were joined by
hundreds of CASPIAN TERN. I recently heard from an ornithologist from
Portland who keeps track of the Caspian Tern breeding colony on East Sand
Island in the Columbia River Estuary, apparently the colony has totally
failed this year. At Nisqually we have more Caspian Terns then previous
years, and speaking with other local birders it seems high counts are being
observed in Olympia and Tacoma as well.
In the fresh water side of the dike we observed MALLARD, GREEN-WINGED TEAL,
CINNAMON TEAL, BLUE-WINGED TEAL, HOODED MERGANSER, and RED-WINGED
BLACKBIRD. VIRGINIA RAIL and AMERICAN BITTERN were heard. On either side
we had sightings and vocalization of SAVANNAH SPARROW and MARSH WREN.
Out on the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail, we had great looks of DOUBLE
CRESTED CORMORANT, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, GLAUCOUS-WINGED X WESTERN GULL
HYBRID - OLYMPIC GULL, RING-BILLED GULL and CALIFORNIA GULL. We enjoyed
close looks at 8 BONAPARTE'S GULL, mostly immature but one adult.
>From the Puget Sound Viewing Platform we picked up CANADA GOOSE, BRANDT'S
CORMORANT and PELAGIC CORMORANT. We finally located the north BALD EAGLE
nest with two chicks. The nest is on the hillside west of McAllister Creek
just south of the glass fronted house on the top of the hill. This nest is
one mile north of the south nest which also has two chicks. Our two pairs
of breeding Bald Eagles seem to be doing just fine raising young in close
On our return, we had distant views of COMMON MERGANSER hen with two chicks
in the Nisqually River at the overlook. We had great looks of SWAINSON'S
THRUSH, RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, HAIRY WOODPECKER with juvenile and WESTERN
WOOD-PEWEE along the east side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail. YELLOW
WARBLER, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK and WARBLING VIREO were seen and heard in
multiple locations. BROWN CREEPER and WESTERN TANAGER were showing. For
the past three weeks we have heard a BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER singing on
territory near the Riparian Forest cut-off, an area where this species has
The BULLOCK'S ORIOLE is still active around it's nest in a tall skinny
Cottonwood from the green space that separates the entrance road from the
Education Center parking lot adjacent to the Orchard.
A wonderful summer day at the Refuge with 71 species seen and 145 species
for the year. We were not able to relocate the American White Pelican
reported from the weekend, perhaps next week!
Mammals seen included Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Columbia Black-tailed Deer,
Mink, Long-tailed Weasel, Eastern Gray Squirrel, Muskrat, Harbor Seal and
California Sea Lion.
Until next week when we walk again at 8am, happy birding!
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