thirty of us enjoyed a nice day at the Refuge with overcast skies in the early morning and sun in the late morning and afternoon. Temperatures started out in the 60's but quickly warmed up to the 70's and 80's with a cool breeze from the north. There was a 12 foot high tide just before the walk, and a Low -1.2 Tide at 2:29pm. We elected to walk the west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail, and make our way to the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail to catch the falling tide. Highlights included lots of recently fledged young. The morning chorus has become significantly quiet - summer doldrums.
Starting out at the Visitor Center at 8am, we observed many baby WOOD DUCKS, and juvenile BARN SWALLOW and NORTHERN FLICKER. BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, and PURPLE FINCH can be heard around the parking lot. Many CEDAR WAXWING feeding juveniles can be heard and seen.
Along the west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail we observed juvenile HAIRY WOODPECKER, SWAINSON'S THRUSH, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, and YELLOW WARBLER. A family of WILLOW FLYCATCHER'S were feeding juveniles at the Twin Barns cut-off. Other species seen included many SONG SPARROW, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, WESTERN WOOD PEWEE, and RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD.
On the Nisqually Estuary Trail we had great looks at juvenile SORA and VIRGINIA RAIL. There were two WILSON'S SNIPE roosting with MALLARDS and a LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER flushed from the freshwater marsh. Out on the surge plain a single GREEN-WINGED TEAL was seen with additional Mallards and CANADA GEESE. We had several fly overs by the PEREGRINE FALCON. Reports of AMERICAN BITTERN and SEMI-PALMATED PLOVER from other bird watchers on the dike. CLIFF SWALLOWS are nesting in the observation tower, other swallows seen included TREE SWALLOW and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW.
On the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail we enjoyed nice observations of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, CASPIAN TERN, BONAPARTE'S GULL, RING-BILLED GULL, CALIFORNIA GULL, GLAUCOUS-WINGED and hybrid GULL, LEAST SANDPIPER, WESTERN SANDPIPER, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, and BALD EAGLE with occupied nest. PURPLE MARTIN are nesting in the human made nest boxes on the piles of the old dock at Luhr Beach. STELLER'S JAY was heard along the west bank of McAllister Creek.
On our return along the east side of the Twin Barns Loop trail we added BROWN CREEPER, PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER, WARBLING VIREO and juvenile RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER being fed by an adult.
We had 66 species for day, with 147 species for the year.
Mammals seen include AMERICAN BEAVER, LONG-TAILED WEASEL, HARBOR SEAL, CALIFORNIA SEA LION, and COLUMBIA BLACK-TAILED DEER.
Until next week when Eric and Dave will lead the walk at 8am from the Visitor Center.