[Tweeters] Billy Frank Jr Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk for 9/11/2019
shepthorp at gmail.com
Thu Sep 12 12:54:26 PDT 2019
a great late summer walk at Nisqually. We had a cool and cloudy morning
with partly sunny afternoon and temperatures in the 50's to 70's degrees
Fahrenheit. There was a Low 0.34ft Tide at 10:50am, and sadly the
Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail is closed until the end of October for
bridge replacement over a north tributary channel off Shannon Slough which
drains a large area of the mudflats north of the stretch between the dike
and McAllister Creek Viewing Platform. Highlights included three
RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS, FOY LESSER GOLDFINCH and good numbers of migrating
warblers and vireos.
Starting out at the Visitor Center at 8am things were slow. We had good
looks at GREAT BLUE HERON, MALLARD, and SONG SPARROW. Glynnis Nakai, Head
of the Refuge, and Jennifer Cutillo, Visitor Services Manager, updated us
that the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail would be closed until the end of
October. They also updated us that our maintenance person, Bob, would be
plowing the fields in preparation for field flooding starting in two weeks
for habitat for winter resident waterfowl.
The parking lot adjacent to the Education Center Entrance and the Orchard
was hopping with a nice mixed flock of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE,
CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE, BROWN CREEPER, DOWNY WOODPECKER, YELLOW WARBLER,
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER, HUTTON'S VIREO, and GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET.
We also observed a Long-tailed Weasel attack a young Cotton-tailed Rabbit.
The Weasel was then chased off by a larger adult Rabbit, but it did not
look good for the youngster. The Orchard provided looks at COMMON RAVEN,
COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, FOX SPARROW, SPOTTED TOWHEE, DARK-EYED JUNCO,
WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW and plenty of Song Sparrow. Two BAND-TAILED PIGEONS
were observed flying over the Refuge.
The Access Road along the fields was good for BARN SWALLOW and VIOLET-GREEN
SWALLOW. No Tree Swallows were seen, all probably gone by now, we did see
a single NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW. At the right hand turn along the
Access Road we picked up NORTHERN FLICKER, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH and
Along the west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail we had additional
sightings of chickadee, creeper, Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, and
Warbling Vireo. PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER and WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE showed
nicely from the last observation platform and the Twin Barns cut-off. In
this area we heard our first RED-SHOULDERED HAWK, repeatedly calling
"keer," from within the loop trail, as well as additional Common Raven.
The hawk was observed by the front part of the group to fly out towards the
Twin Barns, our group did split at this time with some headed out onto the
dike to chase the Red-shouldered Hawk. ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD and HAIRY
WOODPECKER were observed in the tall Maple Trees adjacent to the Twin Barns.
>From the Twin Barns Observation Platform, we had a quick look at the
RED-SHOULDERED HAWK flying south along the Access Road from the dike to
McAllister Creek Road. Continued vocalization was heard from this area.
The hawk had a strongly barred tail and light crescent windows along the
base of the primaries. We also picked up VAUX'S SWIFT from this view point.
By the time I had gotten out on the dike, there were reports of three
Red-shouldered Hawks being seen by multiple birders from our group. A
single bird perched along the access road from the dike to McAllister Creek
Road. And two additional birds interacting and circling each other that
flew along McAllister Creek Rd and westward across Shannon Slough and
landing out of sight on the west bank of McAllister Creek. Perhaps this
explains earlier reports of Red-shouldered Hawk being heard several weeks
ago, and more recent observations over this past weekend. Other raptors
seen out on the dike included BALD EAGLE, RED-TAILED HAWK, COOPERS HAWK,
PEREGRINE FALCON and male AMERICAN KESTREL. There were numerous Common
Raven seen. Closer towards the trail closure, we observed a small flock of
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH in an Elder Berry snag with a LESSER GOLDFINCH in the
mix. Hartman Rd south of the I5 has had reports of Lesser Goldfinch over
the years, possibly breeding there, but we do not see them on the Refuge so
this was a FOY. Dark green yellow goldfinch with black bill, black wings
and a white mark or "handkerchief" at the base of the primaries. Peeps and
Gulls were observed flying around distantly with the low tide. A single
GREATER YELLOWLEGS flew overhead and VIRGINIA RAIL and MARSH WREN were
heard calling from the marsh. We had good numbers of SAVANNAH SPARROWS
flying around, a variety of plumage's from migrating transients.
On our return we picked up CASSIN'S VIREO along the east side of the Twin
Barns Loop Trail.
We observed 56 species during the day, and picked up two FOY (RSHA, LEGO),
getting us to 160 species for the year!
Mammals seen included Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Long-tailed Weasel, Eastern
Gray Squirrel and Townsends Chipmunk.
Until next week when Phil returns and we get to do it all over again, happy
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