[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday walk, July 23rd.

Shep Thorp shepthorp at gmail.com
Thu Jul 24 14:31:48 PDT 2014


Hi Tweets,

ten of us actually enjoyed a fairly birdy day at the Refuge with first of
year MCGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER, lots of other warbler action, and great looks
at VIRGINIA RAIL, SORA, WILSON'S SNIPE, LONG-BILLED/SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER,
and BANK SWALLOW. The weather was intermittent rain with temperatures in
the 50's degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately we did not have any
thunderstorms. We observed many frogs on the old Nisqually River Dike, and
saw at least three different species including Bullfrog, Red-legged Frog
and Pacific Chorus Frog.

At 8 am at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook we observed the GREAT BLUE
HERON, described previously by Jerry Broadus on Tweeters last week, with
white primaries (5th-10th on left wing, approximately 5th-6th on right
wing), and patchy yellow skin on legs. Many BARN SWALLOW, CLIFF SWALLOW
and TREE SWALLOW surround the area, but nesting seems over. WOOD DUCK,
CEDAR WAXWING, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, WESTERN TANAGER, and AMERICAN
GOLDFINCH were also seen.

SPOTTED TOWHEE and BEWICK'S WREN was observed at the east entrance to the
Twin Barns Loop Trail. Many BROWN CREEPER were seen feeding along the
Riparian Forest Overlook with lots of vocalization. Nathanael discovered a
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE nest with two juveniles on the inside of the loop trail
75 feet north of the Riparian Forest Overlook cut-off approximately 75 feet
high in a Maple Tree. The adults were actively feeding.

Along the east branch of the loop trail we saw many birds. At the south
overlook we observed are FOY MCGILLIVRAY'S WARBLER. As well we saw a pair
of WILSON'S WARBLER feeding a BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD juvenile, several YELLOW
WARBLER, DOWNY WOODPECKER, RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, SWAINSON'S THRUSH, and
CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE. Further down the trail we picked up BALD EAGLE,
and PACIFIC SLOPE FLYCATCHER.

At the Nisqually River cut-off, there were dozens of plain green frogs
jumping around on the old Nisqually River Dike. There were faint spots on
the topside of the rear legs, and white undersides. Initially we thought
they were Red-legged Frogs, but after some research I think they may have
been immature Bullfrogs. Ken found a Red-legged Frog later on near the
Twin Barns. Several Pacific Chorus Frogs were also observed.

At the Nisqually River Overlook, we were treated to three BELTED
KINGFISHERS. Another BEKI was seen at the Twin Barns Overlook, as well
NORTHERN HARRIER, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW, WARBLING VIREO, and a SONG SPARROW
feeding a Brown-headed Cowbird.

Out on the Nisqually Estuary Trail, we enjoyed scoping the mudflats on the
salt water side and the marsh on the freshwater side. The mudflats of the
tidal estuary were actively foraged by hundreds of swallows. We observed
approximately 100 peeps in the distance with the low tide, most likely
LEAST SANDPIPER and WESTERN SANDPIPER. Several RING-BILLED GULL were
feeding. Two GREATER YELLOWLEGS were observed feeding in Leschi Slough.
An adult DOWNY WOODPECKER male was seen feeding a juvenile on dead
Elderberry bush and Cattail leaves. Many SAVANNAH SPARROW, COMMON
YELLOWTHROAT, and MARSH WREN were seen. On the fresh water side, we had
great views of VIRGINIA RAIL, SORA, WILSON'S SNIPE and LONG-BILLED
DOWITCHER. There were two black cotton ball like Virginia Rail chicks with
one of the adults. We closely examined the Dowitchers (22) to find two
with spotting on the sides of the breast, light bellies, and broader white
barring on the tail to convince us we had two SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHERS in
the group. Picking through the waterfowl which is predominantly MALLARD,
we also observed GADWALL, CINNAMON TEAL, HOODED MERGANSER, and AMERICAN
COOT. Although unconfirmed from our photo on eBird last week, we had great
looks at a BANK SWALLOW foraging over the fresh water marsh. The BANS was
smaller then the surrounding immature Tree Swallows, with a brown back,
lighter brown lower back, thinner wings, white throat, and distinct dark
brown neck tie across the breast. We also had a fly over of 5 PURPLE
MARTIN, many CANADA GOOSE, and BALD EAGLE.

On our return, we observed WILLOW FLYCATCHER. We also saw a Common
Yellowthroat feeding another Brown-headed Cowbird.

59 Species for the day, and 166 species for the year. Not a bad day
considering the rain showers.

Mammals seen Muskrat and immature Long-tailed Weasel or Mink. Frogs seen
Bullfrog, Red-legged Frog, and Pacific Chorus Frog.

Until next week when we meet again at 8 am.

Good birding,
Shep Thorp
Browns Point
sthorp at theaec.com
253-370-3742
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