[Tweeters] Nisqually Wednesday Walk 7/1/2015.
shepthorp at gmail.com
Thu Jul 2 11:51:56 PDT 2015
approximately 45 of us enjoyed a very warm and sunny day at the Refuge with
temperatures in the 70's-80's degrees Fahrenheit, a nice northerly breeze,
and a Low -2'3" Tide at 11:53am. We observed 63 species with highlights
including nesting WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, BULLOCK'S ORIOLE, CLIFF SWALLOW and
BALD EAGLE. Great looks at WARBLING VIREO, WILSON'S SNIPE. And the
autumnal migration return of LEAST SANDPIPER, WESTERN SANDPIPER, and
Starting out at the Visitor Center at 8am. There are BARN SWALLOWs nesting
under the walkway and NORTHERN FLICKER occupying a cavity in the top of a
large snag to the left of the platform. PIED-BILLED GREBE, WOOD DUCK and
MALLARD are regularly seen from the platform.
In the stand of trees between the Entrance Road and Access Road, 100 feet
east of the Flagpole behind a felled Maple that now looks like a bush
Maple, the BULLOCK'S ORIOLE are nesting. This is the fourth year we have
observed oriole nesting at the Refuge. Directly south and adjacent to the
green gate on the Access Road, WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE are nesting and feeding
young. The Access Road and Orchard are good areas to observe WILLOW
FLYCATCHER, VAUX'S SWIFT, TREE SWALLOW, BEWICK'S WREN, and CEDAR WAXWING.
There are many AMERICAN ROBIN, SWAINSON'S THRUSH, YELLOW WARBLER, SONG
SPARROW, and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH through out the riparian forest of the Twin
Barns Loop Trail. We did our walk backwards, and along the east side of
the loop trail we observed PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER, DOWNY WOODPECKER,
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, BROWN CREEPER, WILSON'S WARBLER, BLACK-HEADED
GROSBEAK, WESTERN TANAGER, and Yellow Warbler feeding BROWN-HEADED
COWBIRD. We had great looks at a WARBLING VIREO at the Riparian Forest
Overlook, I suspect they are breeding in this area.
We picked up BELTED KINGFISHER at the Nisqually River Overlook and heard a
SORA on the cut-off to the Twin Barns.
The Twin Barns Overlook is a great spot to observe colony nesting of CLIFF
SWALLOW under the eves of the roof. COMMON YELLOWTHROAT is also very
active in the area. The fields south are lush with grasses providing great
habitat for passerines, but making it impossible to observe any puddles or
mud for waterfowl or shorebirds.
Out on the new dike or the Nisqually Estuary Trail, a PEREGRINE FALCON
perched in a snag on the surge plain north of the dike and east of Leschi
Slough. On the inside of the dike or on the fresh water side, we saw a
SCAUP - probably GREATER, three WILSON'S SNIPE, a juvenile AMERICAN COOT,
HOODED MERGANSER, many MALLARD/RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD/EUROPEAN STARLING, and
heard a couple of VIRGINIA RAIL.
Along the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail, the Cliff Swallows are nesting
in the Observation Tower providing great views. We suspect the Great
Horned Owl predates on the mud hut nests around the Visitor Center, so it's
nice to see this species nesting here for up close observation. A few
small groups of LEAST SANDPIPER foraged on the mudflats, upwards of 20
birds. A whiter, white throated peep was suspected to be a WESTERN
SANDPIPER, and a YELLOWLEGS, suspected to be GREATER, dropped down into the
fresh water marsh. From the McAllister Creek Viewing Platform, we observed
one juvenile BALD EAGLE in the south nest and two in the north nest, all
very large at this time. Last week a breeding pair of BALD EAGLES caught a
GREAT BLUE HERON in flight. Along McAllister Creek is a good area to see
SPOTTED SANDPIPER, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL,
RING-BILLED GULL. At the Puget Sound Viewing Platform we picked up
STELLER'S JAY, PURPLE MARTIN, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW, CASPIAN TERN and many
GREAT BLUE HERON/GULLS/BALD EAGLES on the reach.
On our return we observed a family of SPOTTED TOWHEE'S with two or three
brown streaked young (ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny).
Mammals seen included Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Columbia Black-tailed Deer with
four fawn seen, River Otter and American Beaver.
Again, 63 species for the day, I've seen 152 species for the year which may
be less then Nathanael and Doug, as I was away much of the time in April,
May and June.
Until next week when we meet again at 8am at the Visitor Center.
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