Friends of Marymoor Park

Recent Bird Sightings

Report for May 6, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

Today is the last day of Week 18*, the week of the year with the greatest diversity of birds at Marymoor over the years (at least 148 species!), so we were expecting a good day today.  Despite the unsettled weather (variable winds, occasional drizzle-squalls, one bout of hail), things really weren’t too bad.  The birds did seem to be slow in getting active today, but things definitely picked up.  Quite a day.  We again split into two groups, traveling in opposite directions.
 
Highlights:
  • CINNAMON TEAL – Male in slough, and seen at the lake.  This, and next week, are the best weeks of the year for this species at Marymoor
  • Northern Shoveler – about 2 dozen in a mixed flock of ducks far out on the lake
  • Green-winged Teal – getting late for them, but still quite a few
  • Common Goldeneye – our group had a flyby bird – 2nd latest ever spring sighting
  • MOURNING DOVE – Jordan’s group had four; my group had only one, First of Year (FOY)
  • Great Horned Owl – Matt saw one predawn (FOY)
  • Merlin – both groups saw one
  • WESTERN KINGBIRD – Jordan’s group saw two over near the Model Airplane Field
  • SWAINSON’S THRUSH – Matt heard them doing two different calls, predawn (FOY)
  • Western Meadowlark – my group had one north of Fields 7-8-9
  • BULLOCK’S ORIOLE – at least 3, including both males and a female (FOY)
  • NASHVILLE WARBLER – Jordan’s team saw one near the Dog Area portapotties (FOY)
  • Western Tanager – pretty good showing for both groups
  • BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK – several singing males (FOY)
Combined, we had a SEVEN WARBLER DAY, with Orange-crowned, Nashville, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow, Yellow-rumped (both Myrtle and Audubon’s), Black-throated Gray, and Wilson’s Warblers.
 
From the Lake Platform, we saw a large, distant, mixed flock of ducks on the lake.  We were able to pick out quite a few male NORTHERN SHOVELER, but I was eager to see if I could scope this flock after the walk.  It was a bit of a shocker.  The flock totaled about 72 birds:
  • Northern Shoveler ~ 25
  • Gadwall ~ 12
  • EURASIAN WIGEON – 1 male, ONLY OUR 2nd EVER AT MARYMOOR (FOY)
  • American Wigeon ~ 12
  • Green-winged Teal ~ 10
  • LESSER SCAUP ~ 12 – Latest spring sighting ever
I also had two HORNED GREBE, latest spring sighting ever, and two GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS.
 
Tuesday, just 2 days ago, I went to Marymoor for 4 hours starting at 9 a.m., and found NINE SPECIES WE DIDN’T SEE TODAY!
  • Rock Pigeon – two
  • Vaux’s Swift – about 10
  • Virginia Rail – adult and a tiny black fluff ball baby along the boardwalk
  • American Coot – just one; last until fall?
  • LEAST SANDPIPER – two below the weir
  • Wilson’s Snipe – one below the weir; last until fall?
  • GREATER YELLOWLEGS – one below the weir
  • COMMON LOON – one on the lake
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – two
Misses today, besides Rock Pigeon, Vaux’s Swift and Lincoln’s Sparrow, were Hooded Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe, Green Heron, Belted Kingfisher, and Cliff Swallow.
 
Today, Jordan’s team had 58 species.  Mine had 69.  Adding in the predawn birds and the birds I found on the late scan of the lake, and we had a COMBINED 81 SPECIES for the day!
 
Dan Bormann photographed a YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD yesterday, and I had the nine additional species on Tuesday.  eBird shows a few more sightings, so definitely more than 90 species at Marymoor THIS WEEK.
 
With seven new species today, our year list is at 130, I believe.
 
* New Years Day is Day 1 of Week 1 in my reckoning.  Calendar weeks aren’t comparable year-to-year, since if the year starts on Saturday, Week 1 has just one day.  2021 started on a Friday, so we’re just finishing Week 18 today.

Michael Hobbs

Western Screech-Owl, 2021-05-05.  Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Anna's Hummingbird on her nest, 2021-05-05.
Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Report for April 29, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

A fabulous day at Marymoor this morning, as expected.  This week, Week 17, is one of the top-3 for total number of species ever reported (though well short of Week 18).  It’s also historically been a week where many species show up as First of Year (FOY).  With the light overcast, comfortable temperatures (48-63), and no wind, the weather was just about perfect.  We had many participants, and so again split into Team Jordan and Team Michael.
 
Highlights:
  • SNOW GOOSE – fairly sizable flock (120?) flying north
  • Vaux’s Swift – my group had one, but this is still early-ish for them.  More will arrive by mid-May
  • VIRGINIA RAIL – Jordan’s group got to see an adult with two tiny fluffball babies along the boardwalk!  I AM SO JEALOUS
  • Wilson’s Snipe – each group saw one, maybe the same one
  • LEAST SANDPIPER – Jordan’s group had 4 at the weir.  Unfortunately they soon flew, before my group could see them (FOY)
  • SOLITARY SANDPIPER – my group had great looks at one below the weir.  Unfortunately it flew towards the lake before Jordan’s group could arrive (FOY)
  • Greater Yellowlegs – one below weir
  • Common Loon – my group had one from the Lake Platform
  • Cooper’s Hawk – one near the Viewing Mound before 6 a.m.
  • Barn Owl – one from the Viewing Mound at about 5:25 a.m.
  • 5 Woodpecker Day – though my group missed Hairy Woodpecker.  Red-breasted Sapsucker was excavating a hole at the Rowing Club dock
  • Merlin – Team Jordan scored one
  • WESTERN KINGBIRD – one in the East Meadow (FOY)
  • Warbling Vireo – Each group saw two (FOY)
  • Hermit Thrush – Team Jordan scored one.  Historically, this is the best week of the year for Hermits
  • American Pipit – my group had a couple fly over
  • Evening Grosbeak – my group had a couple fly over
  • Red Crossbill – my group had about 15 fly over
  • CHIPPING SPARROW – John Puschock found one which my group enjoyed, NE of the mansion (FOY)
  • Western Meadowlark – Jordan’s group had two near Field 9
  • YELLOW WARBLER – both groups at least heard one singing at the south end of the East Meadow.  This is the 4th earliest spring record for the Marymoor survey (FOY)
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – both groups at least heard one singing west of the windmill
  • WILSON’S WARBLER – one near the Dog Area portapotties (FOY)
  • WESTERN TANAGER – Team Jordan saw one.  This is the 3rd earliest spring sighting for the survey (FOY)
A late scan of the lake turned up BUFFLEHEAD (Jordan’s group had a couple, the late scan turned up dozens), and at least 5 LESSER SCAUP.
 
We thought the goose flock was Cacklers (we were looking through wispy fog towards the sun), but John Puschock took a photo which clearly showed they were all SNOW GEESE.  It's very rare to see Snow Geese at Marymoor after mid-February, but we did have a very similar sized flock flying north on May 3, 2018.

This was just the 7th sighting of SOLITARY SANDPIPER, and the earliest.  We’ve had three May sightings (May 5th, 8th, and 10th), one late-July sighting, and two late-August sightings previously.  LEAST SANDPIPERS have been seen a little more commonly, but this was still only about our 15th sighting.  We’ve now seen them in 12 years out of the 28 years of the survey.
 
So, a 5 shorebird day (counting Killdeer); a 5 woodpecker day; a 6 finch day (Evening Grosbeak, House Finch, Purple Finch, Red Crossbill, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch); a 7 sparrow day (Spotted Towhee, Chipping, Savannah, Song, White-crowned, and Golden-crowned Sparrows, and Dark-eyed Junco); and a 6 warbler day (Orange-crowned, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Gray, and Wilson’s Warbler, and Common Yellowthroat).
 
Misses included Hooded Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot, Green Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Lincoln’s Sparrow, all seen at least half of the previous years for this week. 
 
Today, Team Jordan notched 64 species, Team Michael reached 69 species, there were two species pre-dawn, and one added in the late scan of the lake, to make AN EVEN 80 SPECIES for the day.  Yesterday, I had two COMMON GOLDENEYE to make 81 for the week.
 
Adding EIGHT SPECIES to our 2021 list, we’re now at 123 species for the year.
 
= Michael Hobbs

Report for April 22, 2021                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

An overcast morning with warmer low temps and cooler high temps than we’ve been having.  Also more breeze than is ideal, but not bad.  In some ways is was kind of dark and quiet, especially early on.  The species mix is slowly shifting away from “winter” birds.  Not many surprises, but a good mix of birds.  We again split into two groups, due to a large number of people, with Jordan leading the others in reverse.
 
Highlights:
  • Cackling Goose – only one small flock of ~20
  • American Wigeon – five at the lake; these will be leaving soon
  • GREATER SCAUP – barely seen from Lake Platform, confirmed later.  These were First of Year (FOY) for use
  • Common Goldeneye – just one female, probably our last
  • VAUX’S SWIFT – at least two, with a large mixed flock of Violet-green and Tree Swallows over the Pea Patch and slough – FOY
  • American Coot – only one
  • GREATER YELLOWLEGS – two landed just before the weir – FOY
  • COMMON LOON – two on the lake, calling – FOY. This week and next are historically the best for COLO at Marymoor
  • Pileated Woodpecker – one landed across the slough
  • Merlin – seen by Jordan’s group
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow – two – FOY
  • Hermit Thrush – one at the Rowing Club south pond – FOY.  This week, and the next two, are the best week for HETH at Marymoor
  • Red Crossbill – a couple of very small flyovers
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – one near the Viewing Mound
  • White-crowned Sparrow – both Pugetenis and Gambelii singing
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – pretty good numbers, with singing
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – dozens, nearly equally Myrtle and Audubon’s
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – some near the mansion
A good day for brief critter views, with Virginia Opossum, Eastern Gray Squirrel, American Beaver (predawn), Eastern Cottontail, River Otter, Mule Deer (Black-tailed), and a single Red-eared Slider at the Rowing Club.
 
A late scan of the lake, besides confirming the species of scaup, also turned up about five BARN SWALLOWS – FOY, and a HORNED GREBE.
 
Misses today included Pied-billed Grebe, Rock Pigeon, Double-crested Cormorant, Belted Kingfisher, Hairy Woodpecker, Cliff Swallow, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and Fox Sparrow.  Despite that, my group had 68 species and Jordan’s group had 55 species.  Combining those with the Matt’s pre-dawn adventures and my late scan of the lake, and we came up with a combined 74 species with six new for the year!!!
 
= Michael Hobbs


Northern Rough-winged Swallow and Tree Swallow. Photo by Michael Hobbs

Common Loon. Photo by Michael Hobbs

Report for April 15, 2021                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

A gorgeous day at Marymoor this morning; not a cloud in the sky, just a few puffs of wind, and while the morning started at just 37 degrees at 6:30, temps rose to 62 degrees before we were done.  Mt. Rainier stood shining to the south.  Jupiter was a bright orb to the east before sunrise.  It was good.  Though this will sound rather strange given the list of species, it wasn’t really that birdy today.  There were quite a few one-offs, and the skies were often empty.
 
We did, again, split into two groups, with Jordan leading the second reverse-direction group.
 
Highlights:
  • Cackling Goose – probably at least 2000 streamed by heading NW around 6:00 a.m.
  • American Wigeon – small flock overhead, with more at the lake.  Uncommon at this time of year at Marymoor
  • Band-tailed Pigeon – just one for my group, but our best look of the year so far
  • Great Blue Heron – heronry is expanding into additional nearby trees
  • Cooper’s Hawk – my group had a brief look of one at the south end of the Dog Meadow.  First in a month
  • PURPLE MARTIN – probably at least 6, with some in snags south of the Rowing Club, more at the Lake Platform gourds.  First of Year (FOY)
  • American Pipit – my group had three, Fields 7-8-9
  • RED CROSSBILL – Jordan’s group had 20 near the mansion; my group only heard them (FOY)
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – my group had two separate sightings of single birds.  Only our 3rd record for the year
  • WHITE-THROATED SPARROW – Jordan’s group had one at the south end of the Dog Meadow.  5th latest spring sighting ever
  • BREWER’S BLACKBIRD – at least 21 on the grass soccer fields next to where we park. This is a new High Count for the park.  FOY for us.
  • BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER – one SW of the windmill, another heard near the park entrance.  FOY, and 3rd earliest spring sighting ever
In a late scan of the lake, I found a pair of NORTHERN SHOVELER (FOY)
 
This was our 3rd earliest sighting for PURPLE MARTIN.
 
Based on my experience at Discovery Park on Tuesday, I had anticipated we’d have many Orange-crowned Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets.  But we completely dipped on Orange-crowns, and had just a single RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET.  I had found two Black-throated Gray Warblers at Disco on Tuesday, and was very happy to have a repeat of that today at Marymoor.
 
Big misses today were limited to just Rock Pigeon and Orange-crowned Warbler, as we managed 71 species between the two groups!
 
= Michael Hobbs

Golden-crowned Sparrow. Photo by Bob Asanoma



Male Rufous Hummingbird.  Photo by Karen Snepp


Black-throated Gray Warbler. Photos by Bob Asanoma

Black-throated Gray Warbler. Photos by Bob Asanoma

Report for April 8, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

The rain let up before 6:00 a.m., and the drizzle let up before our 6:30 start time.  We had only periods of mist for the next hour or so, mixed with dramatic sunshine.  Then a light breeze came in and stuck with us under partly cloudy skies.  It was a good day of birding, with much to look at.   Measured by the number of species, it was a great day.  By number of birds, it was fairly quiet.  But there were lots of...
 
Highlights:
  • Greater White-fronted Goose – one flying with a few Canadas
  • Wood Duck – at least 4 total.  A pair kept landing in cottonwood trees
  • CINNAMON TEAL – pair flew up the slough to the lake.  First of Year (FOY)
  • Eleven species of duck, total, including a few American Wigeon
  • Wilson’s Snipe – notably many, with notably many good looks along the slough
  • OSPREY – pairs at/near both nests.  FOY for us (but first sighting for the park was April 3)
  • Pileated Woodpecker – male landed right next to us, below the weir
  • Merlin – two sightings, probably the same bird
  • CLIFF SWALLOW – one or two.  6th earliest spring sighting ever for us (FOY)
  • Bushtit – watched a pair working on their nest at Dog Central
  • Cedar Waxwing – six at the Rowing Club
  • Fox Sparrow – lots of singing.  They should be around for two more weeks
  • Western Meadowlark – one in East Meadow
  • BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD – about three (FOY)
  • ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER – Matt and Brian heard one from near the Mysterious Thicket (FOY)
  • Common Yellowthroat – heard predawn
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – mostly male Audubon’s, but at least 1 female, and at least 1 male Myrtle at the Rowing Club
The only later spring sightings of GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE have been of large flocks flying overhead, and that only twice.
 
While we’ve had CEDAR WAXWING every week of the year, our sightings from January->third week of April are almost all from 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2021.  This year is challenging 2012 for the most pre-May sightings.  We’ve only had Cedars at all in 10 of 27 years, during that period.
 
Several “winter” species were either missing or were in notably smaller numbers than in the last couple of weeks.  No Cackling Geese, Northern Shrike, or Pacific Wren, and only a very few Common Goldeneye, Pied-billed Grebe, and Double-crested Cormorant. 
 
A late scan of the lake turned up a female BELTED KINGFISHER and our earliest spring sighting ever of a CASPIAN TERN (FOY).  Both were right at the mouth of the slough.
 
Notable misses today were limited to just Rock Pigeon and Lincoln’s Sparrow.
 
For the day, 70 species, with 5 new for the year for us.
 
= Michael Hobbs

Bald Eagle.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

"Black" Merlin atop a tall fir.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Rufous Hummingbird.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Pileated Woodpecker.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Pileated Woodpecker.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

 

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