[Tweeters] Wednesday Walk Nisqually NWR 4/26/17
shepthorp at gmail.com
Thu Apr 27 08:45:33 PDT 2017
35 of us enjoyed a wet and sunny spring day at Nisqually NWR with
temperatures in the 50's degrees Fahrenheit and a Low -0.87ft Tide at
12:25pm. Highlights included good numbers of migrating warbler with FOY
NASHVILLE WARBLER, BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER, YELLOW WARBLER and WILSON'S
WARBLER. We also terrific looks at 100+ VAUX'S SWIFT moving through, and
baby sightings including GREAT HORNED OWLET, BALD EAGLET, and CANADA
Starting out at the Visitor Center at 8am we observed WOOD DUCK, HOODED
MERGANSER, and MALLARD. An AMERICAN ROBIN is nesting in the eves over the
Nature Shop entrance door with vocal nestlings and a Canada Goose is
incubating eggs on a grass island in the pond. The Riparian Forest was
full of song with a morning chorus of Robin, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, SONG
SPARROW, BEWICK'S WREN, MARSH WREN, and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER.
The Orchard was good for SPOTTED TOWHEE, GOLDEN-CROWN SPARROW, WHITE-CROWN
SPARROW, TREE SWALLOW and RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD. We had many ORANGE-CROWNED
WARBLERS with great views, and a brief glimpse of a BLACK-THROATED GRAY
WARBLER on the other side of the maintenance entrance road. The flooded
field across from the Orchard has been good for RED-TAILED HAWK.
The flooded field south of the gravel Access Road, south of the parking
lot, must have been ripe with a midge hatching, as we got to enjoy hundreds
of swallows and swifts at close range. TREE SWALLOW, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW,
CLIFF SWALLOW, BARN SWALLOW, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW, and Vaux's
Swift were all well represented. South of I5 in a cell phone tower an
OSPREY is building a nest.
The flooded fields west of the Access Road south of the Twin Barns and
either side of the old McAllister Creek Access Road was good for waterfowl
including NORTHERN SHOVELER, NORTHERN PINTAIL, AMERICAN WIGEON,
GREEN-WINGED TEAL, CINNAMON TEAL, RING-NECKED DUCK, BUFFLEHEAD, Canada
Goose, and AMERICAN COOT. A PEREGRINE FALCON swooped in chasing Barn
Swallows that were perched on the top of grasses over the field.
The west entrance to the Twin Barns Loop Trail was busy with good numbers
of AUDUBON'S and MYRTLE YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER and Orange-Crowned Warbler.
It was here that we picked up our first of five NASHVILLE WARBLER and a
WARBLING VIREO as well. An ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD female was well observed.
BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD was heard and seen.
The cut-off to the Twin Barns was very active with two additional Nashville
Warbler, dozens of Yellow-rumped Warbler, additional Orange-crowned
Warbler, and DOWNY WOODPECKER. The northeast section of the Twin Barns
Loop Trail provides good viewing of the 'cocktail fork' shaped tall
Cottonwood nest tree of the GREAT HORNED OWL. During the day one adult was
observed just south of the nest tree, and one owlet was observed in the
nest. Over the weekend, one of the local birders photographed three owlets
in the nest tree. In this same area an additional Nashville Warbler was
seen, as well WILSON'S WARBLER and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT.
>From the Twin Barns Observation Platform we got great looks of waterfowl,
and scoped the Bald Eagle nest on the west bank of the McAllister Creek
south of the McAllister Creek Viewing Platform. Some of us could see two
eaglets and an adult feeding young. Nine CACKLING GEESE flew in, but we
did not see any larger flocks migrating through.
Out on the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail, we picked up great looks of
SAVANNAH SPARROW, PIED-BILLED GREBE, NORTHERN HARRIER, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD
and both VIRGINIA RAIL and SORA were heard calling. There is plenty of mud
on the edges of the fresh water marsh, but sadly we did not see any
shorebirds in this area.
On the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail, we did have good looks of a few
GREATER YELLOWLEGS and 10-15 LEAST SANDPIPER. The tidal channels and
McAllister Creek were good for DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, COMMON GOLDENEYE,
Bufflehead, MEW GULL, RING-BILLED GULL, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, WESTERN GULL
and CASPIAN TERN. From the Puget Sound Viewing Platform we were able to
pick up BRANT GEESE out on the reach.
On our return we observed 7 GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE along the center
access road in the fresh water marsh. Picked up two COMMON MERGANSER in
Nisqually River at the Overlook. HAIRY WOODPECKER, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER
and additional warblers were seen along the east side of the Loop Trail.
There are four BUSHTIT nests and three Rufous Hummingbird nests along the
east side of the trail.
Despite the disappointing numbers of shorebirds, a really fun day of
birding with lots of warbler and baby action. We had 77 species for the
day and the Wednesday Walk has 124 species for the year (we have missed the
American White Pelican, MacGillivray's Warbler, and Sandhill Crane reported
earlier this year).
Mammals seen include Raccoon, Muskrat, Cotton-tailed Rabbit and Harbor Seal.
Until next week when Phil Kelley returns,
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