[Tweeters] Billy Frank Jr Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk for 6/19/2019
shepthorp at gmail.com
Thu Jun 20 12:36:29 PDT 2019
about 25 of us had a nice spring walk at the Refuge with mostly overcast
skies and temperatures in the 50's to 60's degrees Fahrenheit. There was a
Low -2.10ft Tide at 1:42pm, and we were treated to a nice morning chorus
that warmed up through out the day. Highlights included juvenile WOOD
DUCK, MALLARD, BARN SWALLOW, TREE SWALLOW, CLIFF SWALLOW, CHESTNUT-BACKED
CHICKADEE, DOWNY WOODPECKER and BALD EAGLE.
The Refuge plans to perform work on the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail
and Riparian Forest Overlook this summer sometime in July and August. The
Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail requires a longer span bridge over a
channel that drains into Shannon Slough between the Observation Tower and
the Photo Blind. Therefore the entire Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail
will be closed for many weeks during this two month period of time. The
Riparian Forest Overlook has been closed since the winter when a large
Cottonwood fell and broke the bridge over a tidal fresh water channel.
Hopefully this will reopen in the Fall.
Starting out at the Visitor Center at 8am, we enjoyed baby WOOD DUCK and
MALLARD in the Pond. We had great looks at BARN SWALLOW and YELLOW WARBLER.
The Orchard was good for WARBLING VIREO, RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, BLACK-HEADED
GROSBEAK, TREE SWALLOW, AMERICAN GOLDFINCH, CEDAR WAXWING and BROWN-HEADED
COWBIRD. BULLOCK'S ORIOLE was heard.
I decided to lead the walk in reverse, hoping to listen for Red-eyed Vireo
(not heard) near the Riparian Forest Overlook cut off, so we entered
through the east side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail. A pair of BUSHTIT have
a nest immediately adjacent to the opening along the south side.
PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER, BEWICKS WREN, AND WILSON'S WARBLER were singing.
We had good looks of WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, SWAINSON'S THRUSH and additional
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK along the east side. As well a family of
CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE feeding young.
The Nisqually River Overlook was quiet with a few Mallard.
The north side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail has a DOWNY WOODPECKER nest
cavity in a multi-trunked snag outside the trail. Adults were in the area
and a chick was calling from the nest cavity. We also had good looks at
WILLOW FLYCATCHER, ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD, and more Cedar Waxwing.
The Twin Barns Overlook provided nice observation of Tree Swallow, nest and
young. CLIFF SWALLOW, Willow Flycatcher and Cedar Waxwing. The grass is
very high making spotting difficult. The bramble, Alder and Cottonwood
Trees along the slough are growing tall enough to block views north of the
salt water estuary.
Out on the dike, or Nisqually Estuary Trail, we had good looks at BANK
SWALLOW, PURPLE MARTIN, and NORTHERN FLICKER. We probably observed upwards
of 8 Bank Swallow over the fresh water marsh and many of us speculate that
these may be local breeders from further up Nisqually River and/or
McAllister Creek. Other sightings included SAVANNAH SPARROW, MARSH WREN,
COMMON YELLOW THROAT, and good numbers of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD.
The Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail was good for Cliff Swallow mud hut
nests at McAllister Creek Viewing Platform. Both BALD EAGLE nests, west
bank of McAllister Creek, have chicks/juvenile that are about to fledge.
BELTED KINGFISHER and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW are nesting along the
west bank of McAllister Creek as well. We observed RING-BILLED GULL,
GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, CALIFORNIA GULL and CASPIAN TERN on the mudflats.
RED-TAILED HAWK were soaring on thermals over McAllister Creek Ridge.
Dozens of GREAT BLUE HERON were feeding along the mouth of McAllister Creek
during the low tide. Numerous DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT and gulls were
observed roosting on the reach.
On our return, we had additional sightings of previous birds. The morning
chorus extended into the afternoon with the cooler temperatures.
55 species for the day, nothing new for the year with 144 species seen thus
far on the walk.
Mammals seen included Eastern Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Townsend's Chipmunk,
Muskrat, Harbor Seal and California Sea Lion.
Phil Kelley is well, but on leave for the next few weeks. I'll be leading
the walk with the help of other volunteers and regulars. With our many
spotters we look forward to observing juveniles and the the return of peeps
with post breeding migration of shorebirds southward with the start of
Summer next week! Until then...
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