[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk 5/24/2017
shepthorp at gmail.com
Fri May 26 10:36:35 PDT 2017
thirty-five of us enjoyed a partly cloudy day with temperatures in the 50's
and 60's degrees Fahrenheit. There was a Low -1.49ft Tide at 11:18am.
Highlights included FOY WILLOW FLYCATCHER and LAZULI BUNTING. We had great
looks BLUE-WINGED TEAL, CINNAMON TEAL, CALIFORNIA SCRUB-JAY, LONG-BILLED
DOWITCHER, BULLOCK'S ORIOLE, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD and BUSHTIT nesting.
Before the walk at 7am I observed a breeding plumage FRANKLIN'S GULL
foraging with RING-BILLED GULL on the mud flats between Shannon Slough and
McAllister Creek south of the Observation Tower.
Starting out at 8am at the Visitor Center Observation Platform, we had nice
observations of WOOD DUCK, HOODED MERGANSER, NORTHERN FLICKER, TREE SWALLOW
and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW. There are 4 BARN SWALLOW nests in the
Visitor Center that are occupied. The morning chorus was rich with
AMERICAN ROBIN, SWAINSON'S THRUSH, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, YELLOW WARBLER,
WILSON'S WARBLER, SONG SPARROW and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH.
The Access Road west of the parking lot adjacent to the old McAllister
Creek Access Road is good for SAVANNAH SPARROW, GREEN-WINGED TEAL,
Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, MALLARD, AMERICAN WIGEON, CANADA GOOSE,
and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW. We observed that a number of species seen last
week were not to be found. It seems that the Northern Shoveler, Northern
Pintail, Ring-necked Duck and Bufflehead have migrated out of the Refuge
towards breeding grounds north and east in the past week.
The west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail is now open again after being
closed from a fallen tree for two weeks. The weedy riparian habitat is
great for all passerines and along with previous listed species we had nice
observation of WARBLING VIREO, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, BEWICKS WREN, and
SPOTTED TOWHEE. The California Scrub-Jay made an appearance in the tall
Douglas Fir in the middle of the visitor pond. The cut-off to the Twin
Barns was hopping with sightings of BAND-TAILED PIGEON, Willow Flycatcher,
CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE, CEDAR WAXWING, Lazuli Bunting, and Bullock's
The Twin Barns Observation Platform is great for scanning for waterfowl.
There's dozens if not a hundred CLIFF SWALLOW working on mud huts under the
eves of the Twin Barns and Observation Tower.
Out on the dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail we picked up 5 Long-billed
Dowitcher, observed nesting AMERICAN COOT, MARSH WREN, RED-WING BLACKBIRD.
We had great looks at a male and female YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD. KILLDEER,
SORA and VIRGINIA RAIL were heard.
Due to the low tide, I did not walk the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail,
but earlier in the morning the usual species were seen in good numbers
including GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, GLAUCOUS-WINGED X WESTERN GULL HYBRID,
RING-BILLED GULL, CASPIAN TERN and DOUBLE CRESTED CORMORANT. A
non-breeding plumaged BONAPARTE'S GULL was observed in the surge plain
prior to the walk.
The east side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail has two active Bushtit nests.
One south and inside of the northeast corner of the loop trail, the other
west of the cut-off extension towards the Nisqually overlook. WESTERN WOOD
PEWEE and PURPLE FINCH were heard in multiple areas. The riparian habitat
was hopping with Swainson's Thrush, Yellow Warbler, Cedar Waxwing, and
American Goldfinch. Plenty of RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD to enjoy as well.
All in all a great spring day with over 65 species seen, putting the
Wednesday Walk list at 140 species for the year. Mammals seen included
Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Eastern Gray Squirrel, Columbia Black-tailed Deer,
Muskrat and River Otter.
Until next week when Phil may return from another golf tourney,
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