[Tweeters] Wednesday Walk, Billy Frank Jr Nisqually NWR,
for Wednesday 7.17.2019
shepthorp at gmail.com
Thu Jul 18 11:36:15 PDT 2019
we had a cool moist breezy morning at the Refuge with cloudy skies,
intermittent light rain, and gusty winds. The wind was our biggest
challenge for spotting in comparison to rain. Temperatures in the 60's to
70's degrees Fahrenheit. A High 11.98ft Tide at 5:39am and a Low -1.8ft
Tide at 12:45pm. Highlights included nice sightings of WESTERN TANAGER,
ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD, YELLOW WARBLER and WILLOW FLYCATCHER. FOY SEMIPALMATED
PLOVER on the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail and GREAT HORNED OWL on the
inside of the Twin Barns Loop Trail south of the Beaver Deceiver on the
east side of the trail.
With the High Tide at 5:39am, I arrived at the Refuge at 5:45am to catch
the tidal push along the dike. With a 9ft-11ft tide, the shorebirds are
pushed closer to the dike both in the surge plain and along the west side
of Leschi Slough. I had nice looks of 300-400 peeps, and picked up our
early arrival second cycle MEW GULL on the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk
Trail. Reminder - the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail may be closed at
any time over the next 2 months for repairs.
Starting out at 8am at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook, we had nice looks
at MALLARD ducklings and BARN SWALLOW.
The Orchard was quiet, but we had nice looks of TREE SWALLOW, MOURNING
DOVE, CEDAR WAXWING, WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE and WESTERN TANAGER.
Along the Access Road we had good looks at ANNA HUMMINGBIRD, RUFOUS
HUMMINGBIRD, NORTHERN FLICKER and fly over BALD EAGLE. A few BANK SWALLOW
and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW were seen mixed in with the other foraging TREE
and CLIFF SWALLOW. With the breezy conditions several juvenile BARN
SWALLOW were observed roosting on the gravel road waiting to be fed by
On the west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail, we observed NORTHERN
ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW foraging over the Visitor Center Pond. We had great
looks at YELLOW WARBLER feeding young. Several SWAINSON THRUSH, both adult
and young, were foraging for insects along the waters edge. Both
BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE and CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE were seen. We had
nice looks at a family of WILLOW FLYCATCHER in the area of the Twin Barns
Abundant CEDAR WAXWINGS and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH were seen through out the
Refuge. The Twin Barns Overlook was good for observing swallows feeding
over the fields and large flocks of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and EUROPEAN
The Nisqually Estuary "dike" Trail provided distant views WESTERN
SANDPIPER, LEAST SANDPIPER and KILLDEER. Near the Access Road Sally
spotted WILSON'S WARBLER. In the fresh water marsh on the inside of the
trail we observed many swallows including BANK SWALLOW, numerous MALLARD
and MARSH WREN. SAVANNAH SPARROW were seen along Leschi Slough.
Out on the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail, there is a colony of 40 plus
CLIFF SWALLOWs nesting in the McAllister Creek Viewing Platform. BALD
EAGLE chicks are still visible in the south nest. Pat Coddington spotted
an early arrival SEMIPALMATED PLOVER on the inside of the trail foraging on
mud flats with WESTERN SANDPIPER. Towards the mouth of McAllister Creek,
we picked up BELTED KINGFISHER and SPOTTED SANDPIPER. Numerous RING-BILLED
GULL and CALIFORNIA GULL were seen with several CASPIAN TERN and a couple
of GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL. From the Puget Sound Observation Platform we
scoped BRANDT'S CORMORANT, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT and numerous GREAT BLUE
HERON and BALD EAGLE.
On our return, we had looks at BELTED KINGFISHER upstream from the
Nisqually River Overlook, as well three River Otter playing in the River.
Eric Slagle had reported a GREAT HORNED OWL which we located on the inside
of the Twin Barns Loop Trail 10 feet south of the twin bench overlook.
We saw 55 species for the day, and with our FOY Semipalmated Plover now
have 152 species for the year.
Mammals seen included Eastern Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Eastern Gray Squirrel,
Townsend's Chipmunk, Harbor Seal, and River Otter.
Until next week when we meet again at 8am at the Visitor Center Overlook,
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