Date: 5/31/19 6:16 pm From: Shep Thorp <shepthorp...> Subject: [Tweeters] Billy Frank Jr Nisqually NWR - Wednesday Walk for 5/29/2019
twenty-five of us had a very nice spring day at the Refuge with overcast skies in the morning transitioning to sunshine in the later morning and afternoon with temperatures 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. There was a Low 2.9ft Tide at 9:50am. Highlights included FOY OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, beautiful morning chorus, and many babies and nesting birds.
Starting out at the Visitor Center Overlook we observed WOOD DUCK ducklings and enjoyed close looks of CEDAR WAXWING and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH. BARN SWALLOW and CLIFF SWALLOW are nesting in the visitor center, and male GADWALL was observed chasing female in flight.
The Orchard has nesting TREE SWALLOW and we enjoyed great looks of WARBLING VIREO and YELLOW WARBLER. We also observed RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD.
The Access Road along the drying fields were good for BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and SWAINSON'S THRUSH. Foraging over the fields we observed additional swallow species BANK SWALLOW and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW. High flying VAUX'S SWIFT were spotted. A BULLOCK'S ORIOLE was heard in the Cottonwood Tree's near the green gate at the old McAllister Creek Access Road. BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK were heard in several areas of Riparian Stand.
The west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail was good for SONG SPARROW, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD and additional SWAINSON'S THRUSH. YELLOW WARBLER are everywhere and nesting. The northwest corner near the Twin Barns Loop Trail near the cut-off for the Twin Barns had singing WILLOW FLYCATCHER, WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, MARSH WREN, PURPLE FINCH and BULLOCK'S ORIOLE. Along the north section of the loop trail we observed nesting BUSHTITS on the outside of the trail across from the old Great Horned Owl nest tree. High in a snag I misidentified a silent OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER as a pewee that was sallying for insects. Fortunately, several other birders in our group questioned my misidentification by pointing out the streaked olive sides, barely visible wing bars, and downy feather sticking out dorsal to the folded wing. We rarely see Olive-sided Flycatcher, usually during migration as one day wonders, and this was that day, thanks to our groups continued observation/queries and discussion.
The Twin Barns Overlook was great for nesting Tree Swallow and Common Yellowthroat.
Out on the dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail we had good looks at swallow, including PURPLE MARTIN. SAVANNAH SPARROWS and Red-winged Blackbird are singing on territory. Baby HOODED MERGANSER and CANADA GEESE were observed in the fresh water marsh. Ducks are very difficult to find in the tall grasses and cattails. On our way out we counted MALLARD and CINNAMON TEAL, and on our return we picked up BLUE-WINGED TEAL and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. A KILLDEER was flushed when a PEREGRINE FALCON passed over the marsh. During the falcon fly over, you could hear the change in the Red-winged Blackbirds calls.
The Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail was good for DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, CASPIAN TERN, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL, "OLYMPIC GULL" or WESTERN X Glaucous-winged Gull hybrid, and a single RING-BILLED GULL. Both BELTED KINGFISHER and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW are nesting along the west bank of McAllister Creek. We have BALD EAGLE chicks in both the south nest, south the the McAllister Creek Viewing Platform, and north nest, across from the Puget Sound Viewing Platform.
On our return we picked up BROWN CREEPER, WESTERN TANAGER, PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER and WILSON'S WARBLER along the east side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail.
62 species for the day with 141 species for the year. Mammals seen include Muskrat, Eastern Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Columbia Black-tailed Deer, Coyote, Eastern Gray Squirrel, Harbor Seal and Townsend's Chipmunk.
Until next week, when we meet again at 8am, happy birding!