Date: 6/27/19 5:55 pm From: Shep Thorp <shepthorp...> Subject: [Tweeters] Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk for 6/26/2019
thirty of us enjoyed a nice morning at the Refuge with mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the 50's to 60's degrees Fahrenheit. There was a High 8.54ft Tide at 1:46pm. Highlights included a nice morning chorus with summer breeders, nesting RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, BULLOCKS ORIOLE, and fledgling CINNAMON TEAL and WOOD DUCKS. FOX SPARROW was seen in the Orchard, MEW GULL on the mud flats, and the GREAT HORNED OWL was seen in the riparian stand on the inside of the Twin Barns Loop Trail east side just north of the twin benches.
Starting out at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook, we had good looks of BARN SWALLOW, TREE SWALLOW, SONG SPARROW, NORTHERN FLICKER and MALLARD.
The Orchard was good for YELLOW WARBLER feeding BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD, SWAINSON'S THRUSH, WARBLING VIREO, RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD and WILLOW FLYCATCHER. An unlikely sighting of SOOTY FOX SPARROW was seen by a few birders, plain face with white eye ring.
The Access Road was good for CEDAR WAXWING, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE, CANADA GOOSE, and numerous swallows. In addition to Barn Swallow and Tree Swallow, many CLIFF SWALLOWS with some BANK SWALLOWS were seen.
The west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail was good for Yellow Warbler, SONG SPARROW feeding Brown-headed Cowbird, Willow Flycatcher Swainson's Thrush, AMERICAN GOLDFINCH, BUSHTIT, and DOWNY WOODPECKER with young. A Rufous Hummingbird nest with female in the nest is easily observed in a Maple Tree limb hanging directly over the trail just north of the last twin bench overlook before the Twin Barns cut-off.
The Twin Barns Overlook was a great spot to see BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK. At the fork of the Access Road Loop immediately adjacent to the Twin Barns, we observed a BULLOCK'S ORIOLE mobbing a BALD EAGLE. We suspect the Bullocks Oriole have a nest very near the fork as this species has been regularly reported seen and heard in the immediate vicinity.
Out on the dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail we heard first of autumnal migration LEAST SANDPIPER and GREATER YELLOWLEGS. SAVANNAH SPARROW and MARSH WREN are still singing on territory. Both CINNAMON TEAL and Mallard female with young were seen. The fresh water marsh was full of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS and swallows. Mostly Cliff Swallow, but several Bank Swallow as well.
The Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail will only be open for another week prior to closure for bridgework between the Observation Tower and Photo Blind. Here we had good sightings of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, CALIFORNIA GULL, RING-BILLED GULL, CASPIAN TERN, GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL. A rare sighting of a MEW GULLL was observed by many on the mudflats. NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW, and BAND-TAILED PIGEON were seen just south of the Observation Platform. We had good looks at both Bald Eagle nests with young.
On our return, we picked up COMMON MERGANSER at the Nisqually River Overlook. PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER, WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, BROWN CREEPER, and HAIRY WOODPECKER were seen along the east side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail. We relocated are GREAT HORNED OWL, just north of the twin benches on the inside of the trail and had terrific looks at Warbling Vireo and WOOD DUCK with young.
A pretty nice summer day with 64 species observed and 144 species for the year.
Mammals seen included Eastern Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Eastern Gray Squirrel, Harbor Seal, River Otter, Columbia Black-tailed Deer and Muskrat.
Until next week when we will do it all over again!