[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk - 7/8/2015
shepthorp at gmail.com
Thu Jul 9 15:11:09 PDT 2015
thirty of us enjoyed another beautiful sunny day at the Refuge with
temperatures in the 60's-80's, and a High 9'11" Tide at 11:23 am.
Highlights included a LAZULI BUNTING, WILSON'S SNIPE, BANK SWALLOW,
possible SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, and hundreds of LEAST and WESTERN
Starting at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook at 8:00 am, we had great looks
of NORTHERN FLICKER nesting in the tall snag on the left or west of the
platform. In the pond PIED-BILLED GREBE and WOOD DUCK. BARN SWALLOW and
AMERICAN ROBIN continue to nest at the Visitor Center.
Sadly the BULLOCK'S ORIOLE nest south of the Entrance Road and east of the
flag pole had a deceased juvenile with an entrapped foot in the nesting
material. I've not observed this problem before but it makes sense that
there is a risk with the string like nesting material used to build a
nest. Oriole nests in Western Washington look different to me then nests
in Eastern Washington. The west side nests look smaller, less
pedunculated, and have more leaves covering the top surface. Perhaps these
are strategies for making a warmer, more insulated and waterproof nest.
Around the Orchard and Access Road entrance we observed CEDAR WAXWING,
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, and PURPLE FINCH. The fields west of the Access Road
and on either side of the old McAllister Creek Road, Nathanael Swecker
spotted a LAZULI BUNTING that several other birders observed. We also had
nice looks of TREE SWALLOW, SAVANNAH SPARROW, and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH.
The west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail had many family groupings as
parent birds are busy raising young. We observed COMMON YELLOWTHROAT,
YELLOW WARBLER, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, and DOWNY WOODPECKER juveniles
being reared by adult birds. Also seen were BEWICK'S WREN and MARSH WREN.
At the Twin Barns Overlook, we enjoyed nesting CLIFF SWALLOW and American
Robin. We could also scope juvenile occupied BALD EAGLE nests south and
north of the McAllister Creek Viewing Platform along the west bank of
On the inside of the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail (fresh water
side), we observed two BANK SWALLOW, AMERICAN COOT, CINNAMON/BLUE-WINGED
TEAL, GREATER/LESSER SCAUP, MALLARD, WILSON'S SNIPE X 2, RED-WINGED
BLACKBIRD, and heard VIRGINIA RAIL calling. On the outside of the
Nisqually Estuary Trail (salt water tidal estuary side) we enjoyed
GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, RING-BILLED GULL, CALIFORNIA GULL, GREAT BLUE HERON,
and many peeps.
Speaking of peeps, we observed good numbers on the Nisqually Estuary Trail
and Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail with a 9'11' tide, which seemed
perfect for pushing the birds close to these walkways without losing the
mud to keep them put for 2 hours. Upwards of 400 LEAST SANDPIPER and 150
WESTERN SANDPIPER were enjoyed at close range. Russ Smith and a few others
spotted a good candidate for a Semipalmated Sandpiper, but no thanks to a
close fly by from a PEREGRINE FALCON, and we were not able to relocate the
The Observation Tower has nesting Barn Swallow and Cliff Swallow which can
be observed at close range. Along McAllister Creek we saw VIOLET-GREEN
SWALLOW and nesting NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW. From the Puget Sound
Viewing Platform we could scope CANADA GOOSE, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT,
BONAPARTE'S GULL, and PURPLE MARTIN (our 7th swallow for the day!).
On our return, we picked up BELTED KINGFISHER at the Nisqually Overlook.
On the east side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail, we added BROWN CREEPER
(juvenile being fed), WILSON'S WARBLER and WARBLING VIREO to our list.
We had 65 species for the day, and I have 156 species for the year on my
list with some notable dips.
Mammals seen include Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Columbia Black-tailed Deer (two
fawn seen), Muskrat, and Harbor Seal.
Until next week when we meet again at 8am at the Visitor Center.
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