[Tweeters] Nisqually NWR Wednesday walk for 7/15/15
shepthorp at gmail.com
Fri Jul 17 17:26:38 PDT 2015
forty of us had another beautiful sunny day at the Refuge with temperatures
in the 60's - 70's degrees Fahrenheit and a Low -1'10' Tide at 11:55am.
Highlights included a NORTHERN BOBWHITE and breeding plumage LONG-BILLED
Starting out at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook at 8am, we had great looks
of PIED-BILLED GREBE, WOOD DUCK, HOODED MERGANSER, AMERICAN BITTERN,
NORTHERN FLICKER, BARN SWALLOW, and AMERICAN ROBIN.
Along the Access Road and Orchard we picked up TREE SWALLOW, COMMON
YELLOWTHROAT, SAVANNAH SPARROW, several juvenile WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW and
We entered to east side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail and heard a nice
chorus of SWAINSON'S THRUSH, YELLOW WARBLER, SONG SPARROW and SPOTTED
TOWHEE. OSPREY was seen flying overhead. At the Riparian Forest Overlook
we had terrific looks of several WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, BLACK-CAPPED
CHICKADEE, and heard WARBLING VIREO singing south of the cut-off.
Along the east branch of the Twin Barns Loop Trail we had great looks of
YELLOW WARBLER, WILSON'S WARBLER, and BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK. PACIFIC-SLOPE
FLYCATCHER has been reliably heard east of the old Nisqually River dike.
At the Nisqually River Overlook we enjoyed seeing a BELTED KINGFISHER.
Sadly, at the cut-off to the Twin Barns, we watched a WILLOW FLYCATCHER
feeding two BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD chicks. This is the first time I've
observed a WIFL feeding two BHCO chicks. Fortunately, at the Twin Barns
Overlook we found a juvenile WIFL feeding along the slough. We also picked
up many CLIFF SWALLOWS foraging and nesting under the eves.
On the inside of the Nisqually Estuary Trail or new dike, we observed
MALLARD, SCAUP, CINNAMON TEAL, VIRGINIA RAIL, SORA, WILSON'S SNIPE and
three breeding plumage LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERs feeding in the shallow water
along the water's edge with mud and grass. There were plenty of RED-WINGED
BLACKBIRDS and EUROPEAN STARLINGS to see. We observed two BANK SWALLOW in
this area as well. A spectacular looking RED-TAILED HAWK flew overhead and
we had nice looks of fly by GREEN-WINGED TEAL and peeps over the mud flats
of the estuary.
On the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail, despite the low tide, we still
had very decent looks of LEAST SANDPIPER and WESTERN SANDPIPER between the
Observation Tower and McAllister Creek Viewing Platform. The BALD EAGLE'S
nest south was empty, but with adults perched in nearby trees. There were
two full grown juveniles in the nest tree north. McAllister Creek was good
for observing CANADA GOOSE, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, RING-BILLED GULL,
CALIFORNIA GULL, GREAT BLUE HERON and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW. The
single CAGU had a fish hook stuck in it's mouth. Our white primary
leucystic Great Blue Heron made a regular appearance as well. PILEATED
WOODPECKER and STELLER'S JAY could be heard from across the creek. From
the Puget Sound Viewing Platform we picked up CASPIAN TERN, and observed
many GREAT BLUE HERON, BALD EAGLES, AMERICAN/NORTHWESTERN CROWS and larus
On our return, we received a phone call that Bert Bartleson and spotted a
NORTHERN BOBWHITE on the inside of the west branch of the Twin Barns Loop
Trail just north of the parking lot and west entrance where the riparian
stand opens up for the trail to view the pond. Sure enough, we were able
to relocate the bird thanks to other bird watchers, to find a rather rough
and tired looking female Northern Bobwhite. In disbelief, I tried to
convince myself and others that it must be a juvenile Ruffed Grouse, but
after close inspection and lots of discussion we concluded we were
observing an exhausted traumatized female NOBO.
65 species for the day, and 157 species for the year on my list. Mammals
seen included Columbia Black-tailed Deer, Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Mink,
Eastern Gray Squirrel and Harbor Seal.
Until next week when we meet again at 8am, good birding!
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