Date: 6/22/18 1:21 pm From: Shep Thorp <shepthorp...> Subject: [Tweeters] Nisqually NWR, Wednesday Walk for 6/20/2018
approximately 35 of us had a beautiful warm day at the Refuge with temperatures in the 70 to 80's degrees Fahrenheit and a High 9.49ft Tide at 11:48am. The morning chorus was fabulous. Highlights included nice views of many male birds singing on territory, nesting BALD EAGLE, BELTED KINGFISHER, BARN SWALLOW, TREE SWALLOW, CLIFF SWALLOW, CEDAR WAXWING, and SWAINSON'S THRUSH. We have had an influx of second cycle CALIFORNIA GULL and three banded CASPIAN TERN out on the tide flats.
Starting out at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook at 8am, we saw many nesting BARN SWALLOW in the Visitor Center. TREE SWALLOW and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW were foraging over the pond and we had nice looks of HOODED MERGANSER, MALLARD, COMMON YELLOW-THROAT, and SONG SPARROW.
The Orchard was good for both RUFOUS and ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD, WESTERN WOOD PEWEE, SWAINSON'S THRUSH, YELLOW WARBLER, SPOTTED TOWHEE, DARK-EYED JUNCO and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH. CEDAR WAXWING was located on multiple nest sites. Many BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS were heard and seen.
Along the Access Road we picked up BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, BUSHTIT, BEWICKS WREN, and CLIFF SWALLOW. There is an OSPREY on the nest in a cell phone tower south of I5 on the ridge along the west bank of McAllister Creek. A male BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK is singing on territory adjacent to the west parking lot.
The west entrance to the Twin Barns Loop Trail is great for woodpeckers, swallows, warblers, flycatchers and wrens. We added WILLOW FLYCATCHER, PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER, DOWNY WOODPECKER, HAIRY WOODPECKER, RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, BEWICKS WREN and MARSH WREN to our list. VIRGINIA RAIL was heard. The cut off for the Twin Barns has been good for BROWN CREEPER.
The Twin Barns Overlook was good for swallows. The grass in the fields has grown high, and water is no longer visible. For the day we had 6 MALLARD, 2 HOODED MERGANSER, and 20 CANADA GEESE. Probable my personal lowest water fowl count. I suspect many are there hiding in the grass and marsh raising young.
Out on the new dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail, the 9ft high tide pushed many gulls and terns, for closer viewing. We observed a high count of second cycle CALIFORNIA GULL, as well many CASPIAN TERNS. Three terns were banded and will be report to the BBS. There were large flocks of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, 200-300, and GREAT BLUE HERON, 200-300, foraging along the channels. As the eagle flies, so did all the birds on the mud flats. In the fresh water marsh we had nice looks of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD, KILLDEER, WILSON'S SNIPE, MARSH WREN, and SAVANNAH SPARROW. VIRGINIA RAIL was heard.
From the McAllister Creek Viewing Platform on the Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail, you can get great scope views of the BALD EAGLE nest with two chicks. The nest is along the west bank of the McAllister Creek just south and west of the Viewing Platform. The Puget Sound Viewing Platform was good for picking up PURPLE MARTIN off Luhr Beach and BRANDT CORMORANT on the channel marker north of the Nisqually River. We observed two juvenile BELTED KINGFISHER, with parents along the banks of the McAllister Creek.
On our return, we picked up WARBLING VIREO and CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE along the east side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail. As well a nesting SWAINSON'S THRUSH along the Riparian Forest Overlook.
We had 62 species for the day, and the walk has 143 species for the year. Mammals seen included Eastern Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Columbian Black-tailed Deer, Eastern Gray Squirrel and Harbor Seal.
Until next week, when we meet again at 8am at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook, happy birding!
Shep Thorp -- Shep Thorp Browns Point 253-370-3742