[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday walk 8/21/13 and WFO field trip 8/22/13

Shep Thorp shepthorp at gmail.com
Fri Aug 23 22:06:21 PDT 2013

Hi Tweets,

Here's a combined report for the Wednesday Walk and my Western Field Ornithologists field trip Thursday. Both days were beautiful summer days with temperatures in the 60's and 70's and an outgoing tide around noon.

The Refuge biologist has started to flood the fields along the entrance road and south to the Access Road. Only a flock of Canada Geese were seen checking out the changes, but with the fields adjacent to the Twin Barns and Nisqually Estuary Trail drying out, I suspect this will be a good area to check with migration in full swing.

The Visitor Center Pond Overlook was a good place for observing Pied-billed Grebe, Wood Duck, Common Yellowthroat, Song Sparrow and Willow Flycatcher. Black-headed Grosbeak and Swainson's Thrush were heard and seen around the southwest corner of the Twin Barns Loop Trail. Barn Swallows predominate in this area.

The fields along the Access Road are quiet with occasional views of Savannah Sparrow, immature White-crowned Sparrow, Red-tailed Hawk, and Northern Harrier.

The Twin Barns Loop Trail was fairly birdy with many juvenile Song Sparrow, Marsh Wren, Common Yellowthroat, and American Goldfinch along the west side. A nice mixed flock of Black-capped Chickadee, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Brown Creeper, Downy Woodpecker, Bewick's Wren, Wilson's Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Warbling Vireo, and Hutton's Vireo were seen along the east side that runs parallel to the old Nisqually River Dike. A few Western Wood-pewee, and Yellow Warbler were seen as well.

In contrast to Wednesday, on Thursday we flushed approximately 4 Green Herons, one from the Visitor Center Pond, three from the slough along the Twin Barns, and one from the Nisqually River Overlook.

The Nisqually Estuary Trail or new dike produced Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Semi-palmated Plover, Western Sandpiper, Sora and Virginia Rail. Many swallows fly around this area, and along with the many Barn Swallows, we picked out/heard Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Bank Swallow and Tree Swallow.

The shorebird viewing has not been as productive as hoped at this time, but depending on your luck occasionally you find yourself looking down on a small flock, 6-12 individuals, of Least Sandpiper on the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail. There are good numbers of yellow legged gulls to study, Ring-billed Gull, California Gull and Mew Gull. We saw approximately 30 plus Caspian Terns feeding along McAllister Creek and roosting on the mud flats of the reach. Band-tailed Pigeon were seen flying along the west bank of McAllister Creek. At low tide 50-100 Great Blue Herons feed along the mouth of creek. From the Puget Sound Viewing Platform we observed a single Great Egret, several Bald Eagles, Double-created Cormorant, and Purple Martin over Luhr Beach.

Additional finds included Vaux's Swift, possible Solitary Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Eurasian Collared Dove, Killdeer, Rufous Hummingbird, Pileated Woodpecker, Belted Kingfisher, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, and Pacific Wren.

Between 70-80 species seen. Mammals seen included American Beaver, Columbia Black-tailed Deer, Cotton Tail Rabbit, and Eastern Gray Squirrel.

Until next week when we meet again at 8am on Wed, the 28th, good birding!

Shep Thorp
Browns Point
sthorp at theaec.com

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