[Tweeters] Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk for 10/9/2019

Shep Thorp shepthorp at gmail.com
Thu Oct 10 11:47:26 PDT 2019


Hi Tweets,

thirty-five of us enjoyed a cool but sunny day at the Refuge. Temperatures
were in the 40's to 50's degrees Fahrenheit with breezy conditions.
Highlights included first of year BARRED OWL, EVENING GROSBEAK, and MARBLED
GODWIT. We were not able to relocate the Northern Pygmy-Owl or Rusty
Blackbird seen over the weekend, but did have nice looks of BLACK-THROATED
GRAY WARBLER, quick peek at RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, first of season DUNLIN,
and late PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER. There was a Low 1.75ft Tide at 9:32am,
so I finished up the morning walk by 2pm. We then did a second walk 2p-4p
to catch the incoming High 13.04ft Tide at 4:39pm.

Starting out at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook at 8am, we had sightings
of WOOD DUCK and WILSON'S SNIPE. Ken Brown called in on an early morning
scout to report BARRED OWL on the inside of the east side Twin Barns Loop
Trail just north of the twin bench overlook. We hurried out, but by the
time we arrived the bird had flown. We did relocate the Barred Owl just
south of the twin benches for many of our group to see. This species is
unusual for us to see with our resident Great Horned Owls. We did check
the northeast section of the loop trail but did not relocate the Northern
Pygmy Owl seen over the weekend. We also were unable to find the Rusty
Blackbird reported around the west side of the Visitor Center. A VIRGINIA
RAIL was seen in the sedges across from the Riparian Forest cut-off.

The Orchard was hopping with flocks of AMERICAN GOLDFINCH and PINE SISKIN.
We also had nice looks at BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER. There were several
YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, both Audubon's and Myrtle variety. We observed 4
species of woodpecker, RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, DOWNY WOODPECKER, HAIRY
WOODPECKER and NORTHERN FLICKER. We had nice looks of GOLDEN-CROWNED
SPARROW, ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD, VARIED THRUSH, GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET,
RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, BROWN CREEPER and numerous CHESTNUT-BACKED
CHICKADEE. A few DARK-EYED JUNCO and FOX SPARROW were heard and seen as
well.

Along the maintenance road or Access Road the southern field is flooded and
hosted hundreds of CACKLING GEESE, minimas, we also had good looks of
AMERICAN WIGEON, NORTHERN PINTAIL and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. A RED-TAILED HAWK
was perched and hunting across the field, and unexpectedly we had a late
OSPREY fly overhead with a flounder. Whittier and others heard EVENING
GROSBEAKS fly over, and we have seen them in this stand of woods during
this season in previous years. Heading north between the parking lot and
mowed fields to the west we had a fly over MERLIN with prey being mobbed by
AMERICAN PIPITs. From the old McAllister Creek Access Road green gate, we
had a brief sighting of the RED-SHOULDER HAWK. The bird was perched in a
Willow along a line of bramble just north of the McAllister Creek Access
Road, then flew south along the bramble line to trees along the Mcallister
Creek Access Road. Distinctive barred tail and white crescents at base of
primary flight feathers.

The west entrance to the Twin Barns Loop Trail was good for CEDAR WAXWING,
WILSONS SNIPE and PIED-BILLED GREBE. The twin bench overlook south of the
Twin Barns cut-off had a remaining CINNAMON TEAL, mixed in with MALLARD,
GREEN-WINGED TEAL, and AMERICAN WIGEON. PACIFIC WREN was heard and seen in
the vicinity.

The Twin Barns Overlook was quiet and cool in the shade, so we quickly
headed out to the dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail to warm up in the sun.
The Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail is still closed for bridge work.
Hopefully this will reopen in November. On the mudflats of the surge plain
we observed BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER and RING-BILLED GULL. An AMERICAN
KESTREL, male, has been repeatedly seen and reported hunting from the
artificial snags in the restored area. We had nice sightings of PEREGRINE
FALCON hunting GREEN-WINGED TEAL, RED-TAILED HAWK, and BALD EAGLE. A
Coyote was hunting adjacent to the fresh water marsh, not far from where we
had seen Columbian Black-tailed Deer earlier. Several WESTERN MEADOWLARKS
were seen flying around the freshly moved fields. We also picked up
GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, CALIFORNIA GULL, DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT and a
single SAVANNAH SPARROW. No swallows to be seen.

The Nisqually River Overlook was good for BELTED KINGFISHER and River
Otter. On our return the east side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail was good
for Chickadee, Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and a late PACIFIC-SLOPE
FLYCATCHER - small prominent eye-ring empid with two wing bars, moderate
primary projection, and spatulated bill with yellow mandible and yellow
belly. Jon got photos of the flycatcher foraging in the top of a Red Alder
next to the slough with the beaver deceiver.

We finished up the walk around 2pm, started a new eBird list, and made our
way back out to the dike. We were rewarded with nice looks of MARBLED
GODWIT x 5, and good looks of FOS DUNLIN, BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER,
DOWITCHER'S, WESTERN SANDPIPER and GREATER YELLOWLEGS. It's certainly nice
to see the large shorebirds using the Refuge as a rest stop on their
migration. Hopefully it's not too late to find a Curlew.

We saw approximately 70 species for the day, with 164 species for the year
on the Wednesday Walk. Barred Owl, Evening Grosbeak and Marbled Godwit
were new for the year. Mammals seen were Eastern Cotton-tailed Rabbit,
Eastern Gray Squirrel, Columbian Black-tailed Deer, Coyote and River
Otter. The American Beaver has been very busy around the west side of the
Twin Barns Loop Trail.

Until next week, happy birding!

Shep

--
Shep Thorp
Browns Point
253-370-3742
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