[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday walk 8/28/13

Shep Thorp shepthorp at gmail.com
Thu Aug 29 10:50:54 PDT 2013

Hi Tweets,

twenty-six of us enjoyed a cloudy day at the Refuge with temperatures in
the 60's-70's degrees Fahrenheit and a High 10'9" Tide at 1:14pm.
Highlights included Greater White-fronted Goose, Bank Swallow, thousands
of 'peeps' mostly Western Sandpipers, and good numbers of migrating

Starting out at 8:00am at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook we observed good
numbers of Barn Swallow and Common Yellowthroat Warbler. There are Western
Wood-pewee's calling from the deciduous stand adjacent to the parking lot.

The fields adjacent to the entrance road and Access Road south are now
flooded to provide habitat for early arriving waterfowl. On the flooded
field south of the Access Road we observed a first of season Greater
White-fronted Goose which appeared large to me for a Greater White-front
and had a dark gray-brown neck and breast indicative of the Tule
subspecies. This orange billed and legged goose was loosely associated
with a flock of 60 Western Canada Geese. A Greater Yellowlegs flew in and
out of the waters edge.

Surveying the mowed and disked fields to the west of the Access Road we
observed Downy Woodpecker, Anna's Hummingbird and Willow Flycatcher along
the edge habitat or riparian Willow Trees on the south side. We also had
very nice looks at Savannah Sparrow and enjoyed the swallows flying around.
The two Bank Swallows seen were observed over the field just south of the
Twin Barns and had gray brown backs, white throat and belly, a dark band
across the breast, and appeared slightly smaller then the surrounding Barn

Entering the west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail was very birdy with
nice observation of Swainson's Thrush, Warbling Vireo, Yellow Warbler,
American Goldfinch and Cedar Waxwings. The entire west section of the Twin
Barns Loop Trail was very active with multiple mixed flocks. Most of the
group enjoyed nice observation of Bewick's Wren, Marsh Wren, Black-capped
Chickadee, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat,
Wilson's Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Song Sparrow, Western
Tanager and Black-headed Grosbeak. We also had nice looks of Mallard,
Pied-billed Grebe, Western Wood-pewee and Willow flycatcher.

>From the Twin Barns Observation Platform we could survey both the fresh

water and estuary side of the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail. From
this view point the Refuge seemed quiet. A Northern Harrier was spotted
hunting over both sides and several Bald Eagles were seen perched near and
far over the Estuary. Spotted Towhee, White-crowned Sparrows and
additional Willow Flycatcher were seen in the Elder Berry bushes along the
slough adjacent to the Twin Barns.

Out on the Nisqually Estuary Trail, we enjoyed seeing approximately 1,500
'peeps' flying over the mud flats. When close enough to identify, most
were Western Sandpipers. We did identify many Least Sandpipers and one
Semipalmated Sandpiper foraging on the mudflats. Waterfowl were difficult
to find, Hooded Merganser was seen and additional Mallards. Several
immature Brown-headed Cowbird tend to flock up with whom ever is around
including slow walking birders. Sora and Virginia Rail were heard from the
fresh water marsh, many had good looks at an immature Sora feeding along
the edge of cattails.

>From the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail, birders enjoyed Ring-billed

Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Western Gull, Caspian Tern, Double-crested
Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Belted
Kingfisher, and Semipalmated Plover.

On our return we picked up Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Pacific Wren and
Chestnut-backed Chickadee.

We observed 63 species for the day and have seen 167 Species for the year.
Mammals seen included American Beaver, Otter, and Harbor Seal.

Until next time when we meet again at 8am at the Visitor Center, good

Shep Thorp
Browns Point
sthorp at theaec.com
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