Friends of Marymoor Park

Recent Bird Sightings

Report for April 12, 2018                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

We had about 5 hours without rain, from around 5:15-10:15 a.m., and we managed to fit most of a complete Marymoor visit within that period. Matt got rained on when he first got to the park hours before dawn, and we got chased out by rain by 11:00 a.m. It was not terribly birdy, being dark and a bit breezy, and the winter birds are thinning out. But this time of year, even a not-terribly-birdy day has a lot to see, and there are plenty of species that might be found. We found some.


  • Cackling Goose – a few distant flocks at sunrise to show they haven’t all moved on
  • Wood Duck – had a flock of about 10, which is pretty high for Marymoor
  • Band-tailed Pigeon – first time we’ve had them on a survey this year
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove – 1 at the south edge of the East Meadow. First for 2018
  • Anna’s Hummingbird – two nests, one with at least 1 baby
  • TURKEY VULTURE – one yesterday, a distant one today – First of 2018
  • Osprey – pair at nest, so both are back now
  • Western Screech-Owl – Matt and I had brief views pre-dawn
  • Merlin – Sharon saw one
  • SAY’S PHOEBE – two in East Meadow, one in Pea Patch both yesterday and today
  • Barn Swallow – one yesterday, at least 3 today – First of 2018
  • Hermit Thrush – one near start of boardwalk, maybe one more
  • AMERICAN PIPIT – five on grass soccer fields, gravel parking lot – First of 2018
  • BREWER’S SPARROW – one in East Meadow. This is the 6 or 7th sighting ever for Marymoor. First of 2018.  Turns out the bird was present on April 11th as well, and Gloria Conrad got photos (see below).

It was a great day for mammal sightings as well:

  • Eastern Gray Squirrel – of course
  • American Beaver – three seen swimming to the lodge, their broad heads like wedges on the surface
  • Muskrat – one in the slough
  • Eastern Cottontail – pretty much of course
  • MINK – one working the far shore from the Lake Platform gave us long looks. First confirmed sighting since June, 2015

So not a bad day... 68 species, and adding Eurasian Collared-Dove, Turkey Vulture, Barn Swallow, American Pipit, and Brewer’s Sparrow, we’re up to 108 species for 2018.

== Michael Hobbs

Canada Geese.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Juvenile Bald Eagle.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Red-breasted Sapsucker.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Anna's Hummingbird on nest.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Female Downy Woodpecker excavating a nest hole.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Savannah Sparrow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Brewer's Sparrow, 2018-04-11.  Photo by Gloria Conrad

Brewer's Sparrow, 2018-04-11.  Photo by Gloria Conrad

Report for April 5, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

A really good day today. The mizzle abated from about 6:30-9:30; and afterwards it was only mizzle. Steady overcast, but no wind the whole morning. The park was absolutely overrun with AMERICAN ROBINS – I’ll list the count as 400, but I think that’s probably low. Huge amounts of robin song made hearing anything else difficult. By later in the morning (the robins started well pre-dawn), the skies were filled with large flocks of VIOLET-GREEN/TREE SWALLOWS – mostly the former. Total swallow numbers really difficult, but certainly more than 400 and maybe more than 1000, depending on how far out on the lake one wanted to count.


  • Cackling Goose – one flock of ~60; only rarely have had them later in spring
  • TRUMPETER SWAN – one landed in the slough south of Dog Central
  • American Wigeon – four on the lake Killdeer – nest with 4 eggs in grass/gravel field
  • California Gull – at least 1
  • Osprey – one near nest; this was our first sighting of the year actually on the survey
  • BARN OWL – one flying briefly around 8:48, Dog Meadow
  • Western Screech-Owl – Matt saw one east of the boardwalk, 6:00ish
  • – All 5 woodpeckers – Pileated seen by Sharon and Jordan right after the walk
  • N. Rough-winged Swallow – one seen from Lake Platform – First for 2018
  • CLIFF SWALLOW – one found on a late scan of the lake – First for 2018
  • HERMIT THRUSH – one immediately south of Dog Meadow – First for 2018
  • Western Meadowlark – four north of Fields 7-8-9, one singing
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – one male – First of 2018
  • COMMON YELLOWTHROAT – one singing unseen from across the slough – First of 2018

The BARN OWL looked like it might have been flushed by dogs, and then appeared to roost hidden in the triangle separating the south end of the Dog Meadow from the East Meadow.

This is our latest spring sighting confirmed for TRUMPETER SWAN, though we have 2 later sighting of SWAN sp., one from 2017-04-10, and second a very unusual date of 2012-06-14, when 5 unidentified swans flew by.

Conversely, this was our 3rd-earliest CLIFF SWALLOW ever; the earliest was 2004-04-01.

Birds I saw earlier this week were HOODED MERGANSER on 4/3 – our first in 5 weeks; COOPER’S HAWK on 4/2 – appeared to be carrying a twig into the Big Cottonwood Forest – nesting???; BELTED KINGFISHER on 4/3; VARIED THRUSH on 4/4; and at least two ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS on 4/4 – First of 2018.

For the day, 66 species (plus two sightings of unidentified pigeon/dove that may have been EUCD). For the week, 72 species. For 2018, we’re at 100 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Trumpeter Swan in the slough.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male American Robin.  Photo by Michael Hobbs
Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Willow in bloom.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Salmonberry in bloom, 2018-04-03.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Report for March 29, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

We faced only a little mizzle, which dampened down the bird activity for a touch, but mostly it was a really nice morning. Fairly birdy too.


  • American Wigeon – three below weir
  • Red-breasted Sapsuckers – drumming, excavating, flirting
  • Anna’s Hummingbird – female on her nest along the slough near the start of the boardwalk
  • Rufous Hummingbird – still no blooming Salmonberry, but already there are several males, displaying
  • Western Screech-Owl – called from near the “Mysterious Thicket” sign about 6:15am
  • Hutton’s Vireo – seen, heard again near windmill
  • Savannah Sparrow – first time we’ve heard them sing at Marymoor this year
  • American Goldfinch – 2 or 3 males, one singing – First for 2018
  • Western Meadowlark – at least one singing

Wednesday, I did about a 2 1/4 hour walk at Marymoor and found 5 species we didn’t have today: WESTERN GREBE, VIRGINIA RAIL (heard only), AMERICAN COOT, COOPER’S HAWK, and the first OSPREY of 2018.

For the day, we had 64 species, with 69 for the week. I think the addition of OSPREY and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH gets us to 91 species for 2018.

== Michael Hobbs

This Green Heron seems to spend part of every morning on the beaver lodge across the slough from Dog Central.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Northern Flicker.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Adult Bald Eagle.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Tree Swallows.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Female Anna's Hummingbird on the nest.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Anna's Hummingbird. Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for March 22, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

It rained. Sometimes it was just wind-blown drizzle, sometimes it was just steady rain. Some birds sat, motionless and silent, as we walked past. Undoubtedly others took shelter where we could neither see nor hear them. There were exceptions – the RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS were singing and feeding as if they were too small for raindrops to hit. But it was mostly quiet and bird free. That said, we still managed 56 species, because we are doggedly determined, and Matt has good ears.


  • Cackling Goose – Flocks in large strings flying southeast again – too far to hear
  • Wood Duck – first since January – male at Rowing Club, female flying
  • Rufous Hummingbird – one male briefly seen by a couple of us.
  • Green Heron – first in six weeks – landed on beaver lodge again
  • Purple Finch – one singing male was our only finch of any kind
  • Savannah Sparrow – not back in numbers yet; one seen, East Meadow
  • Western Meadowlark – at least 1 singing, did a display flight too

The Rowing Club site was good to us, with WOOD DUCK, RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER and PACIFIC WREN all new for the day, plus our only views of HAIRY WOODPECKER and NORTHERN FLICKER (both previously heard).

We had a pretty good day for ducks with nine species, we had 3 species of gull, and 4 species of woodpecker, which made up for a poor showing by finches, plus many other “misses”. That said, the only birds I was really surprised we didn’t see were Violet-green Swallow and House Finch. And there may well have been Violet-greens flying overhead, but viewing conditions mostly left us at “white-bellied swallow”.

Earlier in the week, I did have HOUSE FINCH, as well as SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, and COOPER’S HAWK, both absent today.

Nothing new for the year today, though I had two BAND-TAILED PIGEONS last Saturday, which were new for 2018.

So, 56 species today, 59 species so far this week (starting Monday), and 93 species for 2018. I am almost dry.

== Michael Hobbs

Killdeer below weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Green Heron on beaver lodge across from Dog Central.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Downy Woodpecker on a Red Elderberry.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

In bad light, Anna's Hummingbirds show very little color.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for March 15, 2018                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

A clear night made for a frigid morning – just 27 degrees to start, with a fair amount of fog. But clear skies and no wind meant things warmed up, reaching 50 degrees when we called it a day just before noon. It was BIRDY, and while we couldn’t find the Loggerhead Shrike seen yesterday at the model airplane field, we did find many species, including a SAY’S PHOEBE in the Pea Patch.


  • Cackling Goose – probably at least 2000 in endless strings of flyover birds heading southeast
  • American Wigeon – pair in slough below weir
  • Lesser Scaup – one bird – first year male?
  • RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD – male harassing chickadees at south end of Dog Meadow – First of 2018
  • Great Blue Heron – I counted 48 at the heronry, with others scattered about
  • Northern Harrier – Sharon saw one as she was leaving the park
  • BARN OWL – We dipped on all owls pre-dawn, but then had a Barn flying the East Meadow at 10 am!
  • - All five common woodpeckers -
  • SAY’S PHOEBE – one in Pea Patch
  • HUTTON’S VIREO – singing in cedars next to windmill
  • Violet-green Swallow – seen flying over weir later in the morning. Yesterday’s ~60 were First of 2018
  • House Finch – a few singing, and actually got to see one. Scarce so far this year
  • Purple Finch – at least one singing, and actually got to see three. Scarce so far this year
  • Pine Siskin – 1 or 2 in mansion area – first since Week 1
  • Savannah Sparrow – at least 1 in East Meadow
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – two in East Meadow
  • Dark-eyed Junco – incredibly numerous and widespread, many singing
  • Western Meadowlark – perhaps 5, some singing
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – both Audubon’s and Myrtle types, singing

We had a good day for animals too, with Eastern Gray Squirrel, American Beaver, Muskrat, Eastern Cottontail, “Black-tailed” Mule Deer, Pacific Treefrog (heard only), Painted Turtle, and Red-eared Slider.

Misses today included Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, Virginia Rail, Wilson’s Snipe, Mew Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Northern Shrike, American Goldfinch, and White-crowned Sparrow.

For the day, we hit 60 species for the first time in 2018. For the year, since last Thursday’s report, we’ve added Rufous Hummingbird, American Kestrel, Say’s Phoebe, Loggerhead Shrike, Violet-green Swallow, Savannah Sparrow, and Western Meadowlark, to bring our 2018 list to 92 species. Quite a 7-day stretch!

== Michael Hobbs

Adult Bald Eagle. Photo by Hugh Jennings

Barn Owl flying the East Meadow at 10 a.m. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Barn Owl flying the East Meadow at 10 a.m. Photo by Mason Flint

Barn Owl flying the East Meadow at 10 a.m. Photo by Jordan Roderick

Tree Swallow in the East Meadow. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Western Meadowlark in the East Meadow. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Say's Phoebe.  Photo by Milt Vine

Say's Phoebe.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Hutton's Vireo in cedar near windmill.  Photo by Milt Vine

Ruby-crowned Kinglet in cedar near windmill.  Photo by Milt Vine

Report for March 09-14, 2018                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

March 10:
Yesterday, Kazuto Shibata got photos of a SAY’S PHOEBE at Marymoor, so I went down this morning to see if I could find it. Alas, it probably flew on during the night. However, my trip was not wasted.

I was greeted by a WESTERN MEADOWLARK in full song at the north end of the East Meadow.

At the end of my walk, there was a male AMERICAN KESTREL on the central perch post in the East Meadow.

Also new for 2018 was a SAVANNAH SPARROW, also in the East Meadow.

Birds we didn’t have on last Thursday’s survey were ROCK PIGEON, VIRGINIA RAIL (first since Week 1), PURPLE FINCH, and LINCOLN’S SPARROW. There were some TREE SWALLOWS flying the East Meadow and a couple of RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKERS near the west end of the boardwalk. I also heard a PILEATED WOODPECKER calling several times.

Not a bad 90 minutes of walk, where of the 36 species, 10 are notable.

So I believe our 2018 list is now at 89 species, with 66 of those being reported this week.

== Michael Hobbs

March 14:

I went down to the model airplane field at Marymoor this morning to see the Say's Phoebe Michael Hobbs reported yesterday (there were two here this morning).  There was also a Loggerhead Shrike working the weed line at the back of the airplane field.

Todd Sahl

Say's Phoebe, 2018-03-09.  Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Barn Owl, 2018-03-13.  Photo by Sravanthi Yalamanchili

Loggerhead Shrike, 2018-03-14.  Photo by Barry Brugman

Loggerhead Shrike, 2018-03-14.  Photo by Barry Brugman

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