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Recent Bird Sightings

Report for January 11, 2018                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

I was joined by two intrepid souls today, trudging through unceasing, steady, soaking rain all morning. It was decidedly dark and wet, though not overly cold (low 40’s), and with only occasional bits of breeze. Needless to say, birds were often hard to come by. But we did have a few good birds.


  • Wood Duck – pair again in small pond at Rowing Club
  • Lesser Scaup – four males in slough
  • Mew Gull – dozens
  • Ring-billed Gull – at least 1
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – one, probably male by size
  • Cooper’s Hawk – at least two I think; we had ~5 sightings of accipiters
  • MERLIN– perched on tall conifers around mansion
  • Bushtit – ~10 along boardwalk, our first since early December
  • Brown Creeper – finally got a look, after thinking we heard some several times
  • Cedar Waxwing – flock of around 15 flew NW

We had some notable misses – no finches at all, and a single NORTHERN FLICKER was our only woodpecker. Other misses included Ring-necked Duck, Common Merganser, Red-tailed Hawk, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and White-crowned Sparrow. Did I mention it was wet?

Matt had car trouble and never made it to the park this morning; in his absence it’s no surprise we had no owls. Of course, if he read the weather forecast, maybe he had “car trouble, uh huh, uh-huh”... Did I mention the unceasing rain? [Nah. He’s willingly (stupidly???) intrepid when necessary, and I hope his car’s health improves quickly.]

We had 9 species we didn’t have last week (all of the highlight birds except Wood Duck), so our 47 species today brought our 2018 list to 61 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Rainy slough. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Belted Kingfisher at Dog Central. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Adult Bald Eagle.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Merlin.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for January 4, 2018                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

I’ve been doing this a long time – this my 24th year of weekly bird surveys at the park, yet there are still surprises almost every week. There was a lot of nothing-special today; with the weather not too cold, but with overcast and dead air [windless, barometer dropping], we had lots of walking around seeing/hearing nothing. But every now and then... :)


  • Greater White-fronted Goose – one with Cackling Geese
  • Wood Duck – two at small Rowing Club pond
  • Greater Scaup – three in slough
  • Horned Grebe – one far out on lake
  • Western Grebe – three far out on lake, seen late
  • Virginia Rail – one seen well *
  • Wilson’s Snipe – three along slough below weir, seen well
  • Green Heron – one at Rowing Club main pond
  • Barn Owl – our only owl – one at windmill really early, 1-2 East Meadow after 7am
  • Pileated Woodpecker – one heard calling, seen flying distantly to the SE
  • COMMON REDPOLL – two at Rowing Club **

* The VIRGINIA RAIL was a shocker, not because we don’t have them this time of year, but because it was walking down the very narrow trail, through the blackberries, that runs from the Dog Area sheds near the first Dog Swim Beach to the Pea Patch. As we approached, it ducked into the blackberries and disappeared. This is at least 100 feet from the slough, and is nowhere near any marshy area!

** The COMMON REDPOLL were great. We were at the Rowing Club, bemoaning the fact that the only finches we’d seen were some terrible looks at a few HOUSE FINCH, when Matt alerted to two flying finches. I tracked them, noting the deeply notched tail and the lack of siskin-like longitudinal wing stripes, and listening to the call, while Matt whipped out his phone and started to play the redpoll calls. Though distant, the two finches immediately turned and descended, landing in the alder next to us! This was my first Common Redpoll sighting at Marymoor since Halloween day, 1996! This is only the 4th-ever Marymoor Common Redpoll report that I know of ever, the other two being 1-2 birds seen by Brian Bell amongst hundreds of Pine Siskins on 2008-01-10, and one bird photographed by Barry Brugman on 2016-03-21. [A few minutes later, we had a flock of about 40 PINE SISKIN, our 3rd finch species for the day]

Misses today included American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, Mew Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Cooper’s Hawk, Downy Woodpecker (maybe heard), Bushtit, Brown Creeper, Marsh Wren (maybe heard), Purple Finch, and Lincoln’s Sparrow.

So, a ho-hum start to 2018 for the Marymoor Survey, with 52 species, and nothing of note – Hah!

== Michael Hobbs

Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Common Goldeneye.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Wilson's Snipe.  Photo by Brian Bell

Wilson's Snipe.  Photo by Brian Bell

Mixed flock of sparrows: White-crowned (top), Dark-eyed Junco, Song Sparrow.
Photo by Hugh Jennings

Backlighting and foreground branches made photographing the Common Redpolls very challenging.  Photo by Brian Bell

Common Redpoll.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Common Redpoll.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for December 31, 2017                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

Week 53 is the blip on the end of the year - just a single day unless it's a leap year.  I went down on the 31st mid-morning, amongst a hoard of dogs, trying to document poor Week 53.  No photos, and nothing dramatic to be seen, but a couple of highlights:
  • Greater White-fronted Goose - TWO this time, with Cacklers and Canadas
  • American Wigeon - a couple below the weir - first since October
  • Lincoln's Sparrow - one from Viewing Mound

Report for December 28, 2017                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

It was warm and damp, but we didn’t get more than a little mizzle today, despite a threatening overcast. There was a bit of breeze that cleared the fog. It was not very birdy, and I felt quite a sense of accomplishment that we found as many species as we did.


  • Greater White-fronted Goose – our lone adult seems to show up every week
  • Cackling Goose – maybe 800, seemingly all “minimas”
  • Greater Scaup – a handful, maybe with a Lesser or two
  • Killdeer – around 25 – unusual for Marymoor this time of year
  • Green Heron – found on the beaver lodge AGAIN
  • Hairy Woodpecker – female across from Rowing Club dock
  • CEDAR WAXWING – seven near East Kiosk – uncommon at best in Dec. at Marymoor
  • Pine Siskin – three at Rowing Club; only 2nd sighting in the last 5 weeks

Matt heard NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL and WESTERN SCREECH-OWL predawn, and saw a GREAT HORNED OWL as well. BARN OWL (2?) were seen from the Viewing Mound after 7am

For they day, on our last regular visit of 2017, we had 55 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Green-winged Teal in the slough below the weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Great Blue Heron.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Gadwall.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Green Heron on beaver lodge - easy to overlook.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Hooded Merganser pair.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for December 21, 2017                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

We had a cold and foggy morning, though eventually the fog lifted exposing a thin overcast, and the temperature got above freezing. A complete lack of wind let us keep tolerably warm, though. But it was pretty quiet, and the fog limited sightings. Still, not a bad day.


  • Greater White-fronted Goose – 1 adult, NOT with the huge flock of Cacklers
  • Cackling Goose – about 1000 on mowed grass soccer fields
  • Wood Duck – pair at small Rowing Club pond
  • Lesser Scaup – at least 4 from Lake Platform
  • Hooded Merganser – at least 10
  • Western Grebe – three from Lake Platform
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – two from Viewing Mound in blackberries
  • “Slate-colored” Junco – one male at Pea Patch
  • Western Meadowlark – two near Viewing Mound

We also saw two RIVER OTTERS from the Lake Platform – they were out on the long dock

Misses today included Ring-necked Duck, Anna’s Hummingbird, Ring-billed Gull, Northern Shrike, Bushtit, Pine Siskin, and American Goldfinch.

For the day, 55 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Male Belted Kingfisher.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Buffleheads.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Western Meadowlarks.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Cackling Geese.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

"Slate-colored" (bottom) and "Oregon" Dark-eyed Juncos.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Hooded Mergansers.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

The beavers have been very busy.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Frosted spider web.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for December 14, 2017                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

A gorgeous morning with lots of birds today. Owls were a highlight, with everyone getting to see a day-roosting Barn Owl, and with two more species seen pre-dawn. More than 1000 Cackling Geese were also special.


  • Greater White-fronted Goose – adult present, possibly same bird as last week
  • Cackling Goose – maybe 1200
  • Green-winged Teal – around 50 below weir
  • Lesser Scaup – seen from Lake Platform (verified later)
  • Band-tailed Pigeon – one, close flyby, first December sighting ever, and only 5th ever for Nov-Feb
  • Virginia Rail – one heard from bend in boardwalk
  • Green Heron – one sitting on beaver lodge across from Dog Central
  • Cooper’s Hawk – many sightings, unsure of how many birds (maybe 1)
  • Barn Owl – seen after 7 a.m. briefly, then found roosting in willows along east edge of East Meadow
  • Western Screech-Owl – Matt & I saw one predawn near east end of boardwalk
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl – Matt saw one early predawn near east end of boardwalk
  • Hairy Woodpecker – two sightings, including a white-bellied “interior west” female at Pea Patch
  • Common Raven – First of Fall – two, which flew around and perched, calling
  • Cedar Waxwing – flock of five at Rowing Club
  • Townsend’s Warbler – Milt spotted one near mansion

After the walk, I made a quick scan of the lake, trying to confirm the identity of the SCAUP (3 were LESSER, a 4th may have been GREATER), and to figure out if a grebe we’d seen had been WESTERN or HORNED GREBE – still don’t know, since I was able to find one Horned and four Western on the late scan. :) New for the list were one male HOODED MERGANSER and 7 COMMON MERGANSERS. I also had a large numbers of PIED-BILLED GREBE (30+) and BUFFLEHEAD (80+), where we’d had about 2 and 15 respectively from the Lake Platform.

After weeks of limited/no sightings of ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRDS, we had males on all of their usual territorial perches today. Maybe the coming solstice is telling them to get back to their spots and attract some females.

For the day, 63 species, which is pretty decent for December.

== Michael Hobbs

Morning fog.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Purple Finch.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Common Goldeneye.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Common Goldeneye.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male American Robin.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Dark-eyed Junco.  Photo by Milt Vine

Barn Owl along east edge of East Meadow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Adult Greater White-fronted Goose.  Photo by Milt Vine

"Rocky Mountain" form of Hairy Woodpecker, with pure white belly, etc., but limited white in wing coverts.  Photo by Milt Vine

"Rocky Mountain" form of the Hairy Woodpecker, typical from E. Washington east to Colorado, but rare in Western Washington.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

"Rocky Mountain" form of Hairy Woodpecker.  Photo by Milt Vine

Female Townsend's Warbler.  Photo by Milt Vine

Report for December 7, 2017                                                                                       Birding at Marymoor

As I drove into the park, the temperature plummeted. At my house, it was 34. Even just a half mile away, and already down in the valley, my thermometer read 31. But by the time I got to the Viewing Mound, it read just 27 degrees. Brrr. Luckily, no wind. Unluckily, we were beset by bands of fog on and off all morning.

From the Lake Platform we could only see to the close buoys. But it was a pretty good day nonetheless, and at times the scenery was gorgeous, with sun shining through fog causing fog-bows, etc.


  • Greater White-fronted Goose – finally, First of Fall. One adult with Cacklers
  • Cackling Goose – about 1500 landed early. On a late drive-through, the flock had moved to the cricket field, and looked to have grown to 2000-2500. Impressive.
  • Rock Pigeon – a half-dozen near SR-520 were our first in weeks
  • Green Heron – One at Rowing Club pond and one in slough from Rowing Club dock, at the same time
  • Barn Owl – great views from the Viewing Mound after 7 a.m.; no other owls
  • FIVE woodpecker day – with our first Red-breasted Sapsucker in two months (near the windmill), and the other four simultaneously in the old heronry
  • American Goldfinch – amazingly, two at the Pea Patch were our first in a month
  • Townsend’s Warbler – in cedars near windmill
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – one along SE edge of East Meadow
  • Western Meadowlark – five in East Meadow

I drove over to the NE corner of the lake to look at what we missed from the Lake Platform in the fog, and found:

  • Scaup sp. - Four, only our second scaup sighting of the fall
  • Bufflehead – About 60, compared to ~10 from the Lake Platform
  • Common Merganser – at least 7, compared with 1 from the Lake Platform
  • Pied-billed Grebe - ~15, compared to 1
  • Horned Grebe – one
  • Western Grebe – one
  • Ring-billed Gull – one

Misses included American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, Mew Gull, and Northern Shrike.

For the day, 57 species, plus 4 more at the NE corner of the lake. Not bad for a cold day in December.

== Michael Hobbs

Lake Platform view, pre-dawn. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Just one of dozens of flocks of Cackling Geese flying in around sunrise.
Photo by Bob Asanoma

Cackling Geese landing on grass soccer fields.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Cackling Geese.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

All of the Canada Geese were in the slough.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Great Blue Heron in a cottonwood.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Northern Flicker.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

On several occasions we saw a "fog bow" like this.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Adult Cooper's Hawk at Pea Patch.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Red-breasted Sapsucker near the windmill.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Green Heron at Rowing Club pond.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Red-tailed Hawk.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

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