Friends of Marymoor Park

Report for September 14, 2017                                                                                       Birding at Marymoor

With the change in the weather, the migratory floodgates opened. After weeks of doldrums, today was super birdy, with large flocks of warblers in many locations, plus a lot of other good birds. We had seven species of warbler, and six species of sparrow.


  • Pied-billed Grebe – at least 8 on the lake, up from 1’s and 2’s
  • Vaux’s Swift – at least 30 – quite a large number for Marymoor
  • Virginia Rail – one called spontaneously across from Lake Platform
  • Northern Harrier – our first for 2017 – cruising high heading west
  • Pileated Woodpecker – three seen together
  • Falcon sp. – “not a Merlin” was about all we could agree on – distant, in flight
  • Willow Flycatcher – one along edge of Dog Meadow
  • Western Wood-Pewee – two near east end of boardwalk – first in 5 weeks
  • Warbling Vireo – one heard, one seen
  • Violet-green Swallow – at least 10 mixed in with Vaux’s Swifts. First in 5 weeks
  • Barn Swallow – only one
  • Black-capped Chickadee – large flocks, with warblers mixed in
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee – widespread, and mixed in BCCH/warbler flocks
  • Swainson’s Thrush – a very few, heard-only, pre-dawn
  • AMERICAN PIPIT – at least 20 on grass soccer fields at 7:00 a.m. – First of Fall
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – Maybe a dozen, mostly celata, with several lutescens, and one orestera
  • Common Yellowthroat – still the most common warbler
  • Yellow Warbler – maybe 4 – first in 5 weeks
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – about 5 drab birds
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – Probably at least 8; many sightings
  • Townsend’s Warbler – First of Fall – at least 2
  • Wilson’s Warbler – one Lincoln’s Sparrow – 2-4 – First of Fall
  • Golden-crowned Sparrow – 3 – First of Fall
  • Western Meadowlark – 2 in East Meadow – First of Fall

Our only notable misses today were Hooded Merganser, Glaucous-winged Gull, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Marsh Wren, and Western Tanager.

For the day, 61 species – a big increase over our recent counts.

== Michael Hobbs

Canada Geese.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Adult White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Downy Woodpecker.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male House Finch.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Black-capped Chickadee eating Himalayan Blackberries.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Black-capped Chickadee.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

American Coot, seen from Lake Platform.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Juvenile Bald Eagle.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for September 7, 2017                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

It was smoky and quiet at Marymoor this morning, though we saw quite a few more species than last week. I don’t think the smoke is what keeps the bird count low, I think it’s the drought. We’ve had only traces of rain in months and months, and there are trees dead from drought, and leaves brown and curled all over. I think the insect population is far lower than normal, and of course there are no puddles. I’d pay good money for three days of steady rain!


  • Gadwall – a pair in the slough (maybe 2 pair) – first since June
  • Common Merganser – one flew up the slough below the weir
  • WESTERN GREBE – two on lake – early for fall, and first since April
  • American Coot – at least 2 at lake – first since April
  • Cooper’s Hawk – small adult seen twice
  • Western Screech-Owl – Matt heard one early along west leg of boardwalk
  • - All 5 Woodpeckers – Only confirmed one Pileated, but heard often – maybe multiple
  • Empidonax sp. – probably Willow – one bird in Dog Meadow
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – at least 3
  • Common Yellowthroat – ubiquitous
  • Black-throated Gray – two
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – two drab “Audubon’s”

The smoke was so thick, there was no moonset, nor sunrise. At maybe 8 a.m., we could look at the sun with our binoculars, unshielded, and observe the sunspots!!!

For the day, counting the empid and gull spp., we had 50 species – a decent improvement over last week’s 38. Still, it’s low for this time of year.

Misses included Hooded Merganser, Vaux’s Swift, Glaucous-winged Gull, Bald Eagle (off on summer break), Warbling Vireo, Bushtit (prob. heard some but couldn’t confirm), Brown Creeper, Yellow Warbler, and Western Tanager. Still waiting on our first fall Lincoln’s Sparrow, which are often back this week as well.

== Michael Hobbs

Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Adult Great Blue Heron at the weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Adult White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Our sun, Sol, through the smoke, showing sunspots.  No filter needed.
Photo by Hugh Jennings

The sun's reflection on the Rowing Club pond.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Golden-crowned Kinglet.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Golden-crowned Kinglet.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Our sun, Sol, through the smoke, showing sunspots.  No filter needed.
Photo by Hugh Jennings

The sun's reflection on the Rowing Club pond.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for August 31, 2017                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

Well, we decided that since ~6 of us made the trip over to see the Swallow-tailed Gull at Carkeek Park directly after Marymoor [some even before the end of Marymoor], it really ought to count as one of our park birds for the day. Right? Right?

Except for that amazing post-Marymoor fun, it was another quiet August day at Marymoor. The first surprise today was misty drizzle - pretty much all morning we had a light bit of liquid falling on us — nice change!

The bird #s were almost as low as ever, but we did have some fun with signs of fall migration sneaking in. The species total was a low low low 38 for the day, but the mix was a bit different.

Notable sightings:

  • Swainson’s Thrush — definitely a good movement of them before dawn - at about 5:30, I took a count of flight calls — 40+ in 90 seconds. If we use the Danzenbaker formula of 2-3 calls per bird, that’d mean there were ~10ish per minute going past for at least a half hour, probably more — we also had a couple nice sightings during the day to prove they really were coming through.
  • Red-necked Grebe - 2 out on the lake - unusual for Marymoor, but right on schedule for a fall visit.

We had ~3 groups of migrants pass through, including 2 with multiple Warbling Vireos. They also included a couple Orange-crowned Warblers, a Wilson’s Warbler, & several Black-throated Gray Warblers.

Misses were plentiful and included: Green Heron, Purple Finch, Red-tailed Hawk, Steller’s Jay, Killdeer, Yellow-rumped Warbler — and of those leaving the area, no Willow Flycatchers, Western Wood-Pewee or Black-headed Grosbeak.

Good birding,

Matt Bartels Seattle, WA

Common Mergansers at the weir.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Common Mergansers at the weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

American Crow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Dark-eyed Junco and RAIN.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for August 24, 2017                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

Another exceptionally quiet day. Overcast, breeze for the first hour or so. There weren’t even many dogs in the dog park, and people seemed to be walking around half-asleep. I think the entire park is waiting for a cleansing rain.


  • CINNAMON TEAL - one flying with Mallards – first fall sighting ever
  • GREEN-WINGED TEAL – one female flyby, 4th-earliest fall sighting ever
  • Virginia Rail – one heard across slough from near start of boardwalk
  • Spotted Sandpiper – two across from 3rd Dog Swim Beach
  • Cooper’s Hawk – juvenile on soccer goals, fields 7-8-9
  • Warbling Vireo – at least a couple
  • Black-capped Chickadees – especially numerous
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee – especially numerous and widespread
  • Swainson’s Thrush – heard about 5
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler - 3+
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – one juvenile

Misses today included Vaux’s Swift, Green Heron, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Marsh Wren, European Starling, Purple Finch, Savannah Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Red-winged Blackbird.

== Michael Hobbs

Canada Geese and American Crows.  Photo by Hugh Jennings


Great Blue Heron looking under the weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Anna's Hummingbird, having a difficult molt moment.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for August 17, 2017                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

Well, still in the doldrums — Marymoor Park today did a good job of showing just how quiet the mid-August birding can be — it was mighty quiet almost all day — Brian Bell & I substituted for Michael Hobbs in leading this week’s walk — weather was great, in the low-to-mid 60s - but the birds were mostly quiet. Highlights:
  • Greater Yellowlegs - one heard at about 5:30, from the meadow viewing mound. Likely our first for the year at the park.
  • Green Heron - 2 juvies along the slough, 1 adult at the Rowing Club
  • Barn Owl - one flying in the east meadow and model airplane field around 5:30 - 5:45
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler - 1 seen in south end of dog meadow
  • Yellow Warbler - only 1, heard singing

Only 1 Willow Flycatcher heard, and other heard-only birds included Purple Martin, Pileated Woodpecker, Killdeer, Red-breasted Nuthatch and more. We missed things that might be moving on like Black-headed Grosbeak, Swainson’s Thrush, and Spotted Sandpiper , as well as a few locals like Bushtit and Red-breasted Sapsucker.

We did have a nice show of Vaux’s Swifts late, with a flock of ~20 over the entrance bridge.

For the day, 43 species, well below the total for the last several weeks.

Good birding,
Matt Bartels Seattle, WA

Great Blue Heron on the weir, showing very low water levels. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Black-capped Chickadee.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

East Meadow, looking very dry. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for August 10, 2017                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

We’re at the heights of Summer Doldrums, but we’re beginning to get the chance for something to “turn up”. They day, though, was rather airless. It started out foggy, and quickly became hazy. The sun was very orange at sunrise, though the moon wasn’t that colored at moonset, so it seems the smoke is worse to the east. Birds were quiet for the most part, and not a lot was flying overhead before about 8:30.


  • Common Merganser – group at weir – family? First in five weeks
  • Virginia Rail – one heard along slough – only 2nd since April
  • Cooper’s Hawk – several sightings
  • Barn Owl – one over East Meadow, early; looked like a juvenile
  • Pileated Woodpecker – Seen well at Rowing Club
  • Purple Martin – at least 2 babies in gourd at Lake Platform
  • Yellow Warbler – a couple at least
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – a couple of VERY drab juveniles
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – very nice male, and at least 1 more drab bird
  • CHIPPING SPARROW – adult, with juncos, near the windmill. Only our 3rd or 4th fall sighting ever

Though we ended up with 57 species, several were notably represented by only single birds. This included California Gull, Red-tailed Hawk, Violet-green Swallow, Swainson’s Thrush, and Red-winged Blackbird.

A couple of us saw a Raccoon right around 6:00, our first for 2017.

== Michael Hobbs

American Goldfinch.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

American Goldfinch.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Adult Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

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