Date: 7/11/19 5:13 pm From: Shep Thorp <shepthorp...> Subject: [Tweeters] Billy Frank Jr Nisqually NWR Wednesday Walk for 7.10.2019
about 14 of us enjoyed a cool to warm, moist/humid day at the Refuge with temperatures in the 60's to 70's degrees Fahrenheit with cloudy skies and intermittent rain. Highlights included FOY SOLITARY SANDPIPER and SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER, and many very nice sightings of recently fledged young being feed by parents.
We started out at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook at 8am and were greeted with great looks of a SOLITARY SANDPIPER foraging the mudflats just to the right of the observation deck where the spring feeds the pond. We usually check this area for Wilsons Snipe, but today found our FOY Solitary. BARN SWALLOW continue to nest in the Visitor Center and we had good looks of SONG SPARROW and TREE SWALLOW. BELTED KINGFISHER was heard. Two PURPLE MARTINS spent some time perched in the Douglas Fir or "Peregrine Tree."
The Orchard was good for SWAINSON'S THRUSH, SPOTTED TOWHEE, CEDAR WAXWING, AMERICAN GOLDFINCH, PINE SISKIN and BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK. Many of our Alder Trees are missing leaves on the crown, and those leaves still on the crown are riddled with holes. Many of our Song Sparrow were working the top portion of Alder Trees for what we suspect are worms foraging on leaves . I only observed one web worm nest through out the Refuge, so there must be another variety of foraging worm. We do have many paper yellow jacket/wasp/hornet nests in trees, more than usual, perhaps because of the very dry and warm June.
Along the Access Road we had nice observation of WILLOW FLYCATCHER, SAVANNAH SPARROW, WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW, PURPLE FINCH, and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW.
On the west side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail, there were good numbers of Swainson's Thrush foraging for insects along the water edge. We observed a WARBLING VIREO feeding a BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD and had nice sightings of YELLOW WARBLER, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, and DOWNY WOODPECKER. WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE and BUSHTIT were heard. A COMMON RAVEN was observed flying over-through the Refuge.
The Twin Barns Overlook was good for additional sightings of Willow Flycatcher, Cedar Waxwing, and Yellow Warbler feeding Brown-headed Cowbird.
Out on the dike or Nisqually Estuary Trail, we picked up MARSH WREN, VIRGINIA RAIL, HOODED MERGANSER, and many additional Mallard in the fresh water marsh. There were high numbers of RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD and EUROPEAN STARLING feeding in the marsh, as well as many Swallows.
The Observation Tower at the start of the boardwalk was the place to be at noon on an incoming hide tide. Here we got to observe about 300 peeps foraging on the west side of Shannon Slough including FOY SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER. We had good numbers of WESTERN SANDPIPER and LEAST SANDPIPER. A LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was heard and seen flying into the fresh water marsh.
The Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail was nice for DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT, RING-BILLED GULL, CALIFORNIA GULL, CASPIAN TERN, GREAT BLUE HERON and SPOTTED SANDPIPER. We observed a pair of MERLIN catch, drop and pick up a Barn Swallow kill. We speculated this may have been a parenting lesson on hunting for this years juvenile? The McAllister Creek Viewing Platform is soiled in dirt and guano from a colony of CLIFF SWALLOW. Very large BALD EAGLE chicks are still hanging out in nests along the west bank of the creek. At the mouth of the Nisqually River we observed a diving duck that looked most like a GOLDENEYE, but definitive ID was tough. COMMON MERGANSER x 30 plus are flocking up along the mouth of the River and along Animal Slough or Six Gill Shark Slough just west of the mouth.
On our return we picked up BROWN CREEPER and CHESTNUT-BACK CHICKADEE along the east side of the Twin Barns Loop Trail. PACIFIC SLOPE FLYCATCHER demonstrated territorial behavior in the mature stand of deciduous trees east of the Old Nisqually Dike Trail.
Back at the Visitor Center Pond Overlook, we ended the day with nice looks of male BULLOCK'S ORIOLE.
For the day we had 63 species, with 151 species for the year. Mammals seen included Eastern Cotton-tailed Rabbit, Columbia Black-tailed Deer, Eastern Gray Squirrel, Muskrat, and Harbor Seal.
Until next week, when we will do it all over again, good birding!