[Tweeters] Billy Frank Junior,
Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk 2/22/2019
shepthorp at gmail.com
Thu May 23 10:06:57 PDT 2019
we had beautiful weather yesterday for our Wednesday walk with overcast
skies early, clearing to sun and temperatures in the 50's to 70's degrees
Fahrenheit. There was a High 11.55ft Tide at 7:41am and a Low -1.64 Tide
at 2:47pm. The morning chorus was beautiful with numerous species of
warbler, thrush, sparrow, finch, flycatcher, swallow and woodpecker
contributing. Aside from the morning song, highlights included babies,
nesting behavior, and the arrival of late migrant WILLOW FLYCATCHER.
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE and BULLOCK'S ORIOLE. The cotton wood trees are
dispersing seed, with a lot of white fluffy seed dispersed on trails
through out the riparian stand.
Starting out at 8am at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook, we had great looks
of a female WOOD DUCK with twelve ducklings. On of our birders notices 4
HOODED MERGANSER ducklings mixed in with 8 Wood Duck ducklings. Numerous
BARN SWALLOW are nesting under the bridge and in the breezeway. CEDAR
WAXWINGS were perched high in the Douglas Fir we call the "Peregrine Tree."
The Orchard was good for YELLOW WARBLER, WARBLING VIREO, WHITE-CROWNED
SPARROW, and ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER. TREE SWALLOWS are actively nesting in
several next boxes. We also observed several BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD.
The flooded fields adjacent to the Access Road are drying up (water
management), providing great habitat for COMMON YELLOWTHROAT and SAVANNAH
SPARROW. We had good looks at CLIFF SWALLOW, NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED
SWALLOW, and BANK SWALLOW in addition to previously mentioned swallow
adjacent to the green gate for the old McAllister Creek Access Road.
WILSON'S SNIPE was heard in the fields earlier in the morning.
The west entrance to the Twin Barns Loop Trail was good for BLACK-CAPPED
CHICKADEE, AMERICAN GOLDFINCH, and SWAINSON'S THRUSH. There is a RUFOUS
HUMMINGBIRD nest with young on the inside of the loop trail between the
last overlook and the Twin Barns cut-off in a very twiggy Willow Tree
abutting the boardwalk - approximately 10 feet high. We heard and observed
WILLOW FLYCATCHER, and had good audible of the WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE. A pair
of BULLOCK'S ORIOLE are very active in the area from the northwest loop
trail and the tall stand of Cottonwood and Maple immediately adjacent to
the Twin Barns. TURKEY VULTURE and PURPLE MARTIN were seen flying overhead.
Twin Barns Overlook provides good views of the area habitat, but vegetation
prevents viewing of waterfowl. TREE SWALLOW, AMERICAN GOLDFINCH, CEDAR
WAXWING and ROCK PIGEON are active in this area.
Out on the new dike, Nisqually Estuary Trail, we struggled to find
BLUE-WINGED TEAL, CINNAMON TEAL, GREEN WINGED TEAL, NORTHERN SHOVELER and
AMERICAN WIGEON mixed in with MALLARDS because of the growth of vegetation
in the fresh water marsh. Earlier a BALD EAGLE hunted the fresh water
marsh flushing these birds, as well as GADWALL, so the distribution and
numbers are there, but difficulty to see. Many MALLARD ducklings and
CANADA GOOSE goslings were observed. Many RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS, and MARSH
WREN are nesting. VIRGINIA RAIL was heard. On the salt water side with
mud flat expanse we had High Counts of CASPIAN TERN, approximately 100, and
good sightings of RING-BILLED GULL, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, and a CALIFORNIA
GULL. I suspect the Whimbrel have moved on in their migration and during
the high tide at 7:00am a single BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER was observed.
The Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail was good for gulls, BELTED
KINGFISHER, VIOLET GREEN SWALLOW, and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW.
Kingfisher and N. Rough-winged Swallow breed along the west or left bank of
the McAllister Creek. Both BALD EAGLE nests have young along the west bank
ridge, one closer to the McAllister Creek Viewing Platform and the other
closer to the Puget Sound Viewing Platform. We observed upwards of 40-50
Bald Eagles over the entire reach, and Purple Martin off Luhr Beach.
On our return we observed PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER, BROWN CREEPER, and
CHESTNUT BACKED CHICKADEE along the west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail.
Upwards of 70 species for the day, with 140 species for the Wednesday Walk
for the year. Mammals seen included Eastern Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Columbia
Black-tailed Deer, and Harbor Seal.
Until next week, when we meet again at 8am.
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