Friends of Marymoor Park

Recent Bird Sightings

Report for September 21, 2017                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

The dismal weather report was, as usual, not to be trusted. Yes, the weather was not as nice as most recent days, but it was merely breezy, and we mostly didn’t have rain. We had periodic drizzle at most, and for much of the morning there were blue skies and even rainbows. It felt like the birds were a little timid with the changeable weather, and often stayed hidden and silent, but we managed some sightings.


  • Lesser(?) Scaup – one female with Buffleheads at lake. More scaup were in the air. FOF for scaup spp.
  • -Seven species of duck total-
  • Hooded Merganser – female in slough from RC dock – first since August
  • Herring Gull – one on grass fields, with Mew, Ring-billed, California, Glaucous-winged, and many muddled “Olympic Gulls” – FOF
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – great looks at a juvenile eating a bird on the boardwalk railing about 30 feet away
  • Barn Owl – brief look, East Meadow, maybe 7:00 a.m.
  • Short-eared Owl – better looks, East Meadow, just after 7:30 a.m.
  • Northern Shrike – juvenile in East Meadow hawthorns
  • Varied Thrush – one at the south end of the Dog Meadow in a large Oregon Ash
  • Townsend’s Warbler – at least two in the American Chestnut near the mansion
  • White-throated Sparrow – with Golden-crowns and juncos near the 2nd/3rd Dog Swim beaches

The day was notable for misses – No Western Grebe, any woodpeckers except Northern Flicker, Steller’s Jay, Brown Creeper, Cedar Waxwing, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, or Western Meadowlark. We had terrible looks at two groups of Pigeon sp. that were *probably* Rock Pigeon. One or two distant Pine Siskins were the only finches besides ~20 House Finch. And no really good rarity to share with y’all.

For the day, 55 species, plus a COYOTE that crossed the model airplane field.

== Michael Hobbs

Golden-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Bald-faced Hornet nest along boardwalk.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Sharp-shinned Hawk having a snack near Lake Platform.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Juvenile Northern Shrike.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Rainbow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

American Crows.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

American Crow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for October 26, 2017                                                                                       Birding at Marymoor

An interesting day today at the park. There was a high, dark overcast without a hint of wind, and temps in the 50’s. The wind eventually picked up, and the overcast began to break up. No precipitation. It was on-and-off birdy – as is typical of fall, we’d go long stretches with nothing, and then come across a tree with eight species or something.


  • Cackling Goose – many flocks overhead (hundreds of birds total); only about 50 birds landed
  • Trumpeter Swan – flyover of three birds. One called. First of Fall (FOF), and somewhat early
  • Ring-necked Duck – two from Lake Platform
  • Virginia Rail – at least 4 called, slough and boardwalk
  • Mew Gull – FOF (confirmed) – at least 3 on grass soccer fields along with Ring-billed, California, and Glaucous-winged (+”Olympics”)
  • Northern Harrier – Juvenile over boardwalk area
  • Great Horned Owl – Matt heard and saw one along boardwalk areas very early – FOF
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl – Matt heard and saw one near east end of boardwalk, screeching at the GHOW – FOF.
  • Pileated Woodpecker – two sightings, heard many times. Possibly two birds.
  • Cedar Waxwing – large flocks still around
  • American Pipit – barely heard a couple of times
  • Pine Siskin – one or more flocks of about 80 birds
  • White-throated Sparrow – one working the moss and lichens 15’ and more up a small Oregon Ash along the slough – FOF

We had several overhead flocks of non-Mallard but otherwise unidentified ducks.

This is the earliest confirmed fall sighting for NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL that we’ve had, but the species is fairly newly-known for the park.

After the walk, I re-covered some of the same ground hoping to confirm reports of possible Sora – no luck there, but I did hear a VARIED THRUSH from the Lake Platform, found a NORTHERN SHRIKE juvenile in the East Meadow (FOF), and spotted 4 KILLDEER in the NE fields. I also saw a group of 6 SWANS on the lake out from Idylwood Beach Park – five adults and a juvenile. It’s possible our three Trumpeters joined a family of three on the lake.

For the day, 60 species.

I was out last Sunday leading a field trip for members of the National Audubon Society board. We did an abbreviated loop from the Viewing Mound out to the Lake Platform on a very, very nice mid-morning. We had seven species Sunday that we didn’t have today: SNOW GOOSE (flock of ~20 overhead), WOOD DUCK, GADWALL, AMERICAN WIGEON, EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, and TOWNSEND'S WARBLER, so our list for this week was 67.

Misses for the week include Hooded Merganser, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and White-crowned Sparrow.

== Michael Hobbs

American Coots.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Ring-necked Duck (1st winter?).  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Trumpeter Swans.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Trumpeter Swans.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Cackling Geese.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Not an owl - but it plays one on TV.  Wood lump photographed by Scott Ramos

Report for October 19, 2017                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

It was dark and wet and a little bit breezy and quiet. The weather was not good, though not horrible. The birds were pretty quiet, though we did manage to see a few things. We seem to be past the last remnants of thru-migration, and our winter birds are slowly showing up.


  • Bufflehead – First of Fall (FOF), 2 females
  • RUDDY DUCK – one female at lake – FOF
  • Green Heron – two sightings, beaver lodge at Dog Central, and Rowing Club pond
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – at least 1
  • Cooper’s Hawk – at least 1
  • Barn Owl – two flying the meadows, 6:50-7:18 a.m.
  • Merlin – third week in a row
  • Varied Thrush – at least a couple
  • Western Meadowlark – around 5, grass & gravel lot SE of Climbing Rock

We also saw two deer, and what might have been a MINK (next to the slough, below the weir).

Gulls were playing hard-to-get; we still haven’t had a good flock sit down on the grass fields. Also, no big flocks of geese yet; we had about 23 CANADAs yesterday, and I had about that number of CACKLING GEESE on Wednesday.

For the day, 52+ species (the plus standing for the gulls we couldn’t positively ID).

== Michael Hobbs

Ring-necked Ducks.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Distant flock of Cedar Waxwings.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Female Ruddy Duck from Lake Platform.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Mule Deer.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Great Blue Heron.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Anna's Hummingbird.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Chestnut-backed Chickadee.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Red-breasted Nuthatch.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for October 12, 2017                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

It was drizzly and sometimes breezy, rather chilly and damp, and not totally pleasant this morning. The birds felt the same way, and generally hid inside the bushes, except for the American Robins which streamed and swirled overhead in large numbers all day – hundreds of them. Still, we managed to find low numbers of quite a few species.


  • Ring-necked Duck – Four from the Lake Platform – First of Fall (FOF)
  • Common Merganser – one at weir again
  • Virginia Rail – at least one heard across the slough near the start of the boardwalk
  • Double-crested Cormorants – 2nd of fall, and numbers perhaps beginning to ramp up
  • Bald Eagle – more than just our local pair – perhaps 7 birds
  • Cooper’s Hawk – multiple sightings
  • Barn Owl – one giving us nice looks until about 7:00 a.m., East Meadow
  • Merlin – one seen twice, or two
  • PEREGRINE FALCON – one doing lazy circles over the Rowing Club
  • VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW – at least 6, briefly seen over Big Cottonwood Forest
  • Varied Thrush – a couple near the mansion, at least 5 at Rowing Club
  • PINE SISKIN – first confirmed flock of Fall
  • COMMON YELLOWTHROAT – still one heard, one seen
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – a few about, Audubon’s for sure, maybe a Myrtle’s
  • WESTERN MEADOWLARK – five on fields near eastern softball fields

Good day for mammals, with AMERICAN BEAVER heard pre-dawn from the slough, a mother and fawn MULE DEER seen from the Lake Platform, and at least 2 RIVER OTTERS at the Rowing Club pond. Plus the usual Eastern Gray Squirrels and and Eastern Cottontail.

For the day, an even 60 species of bird. Not bad for drizzly, breezy weather in mid-October.

Misses included Hooded Merganser, Green Heron, Northern Harrier (often a migrant at this time of year), Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Purple Finch.

== Michael Hobbs

American Coot. Photo by Hugh Jennings

Western Meadowlarks.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Varied Thrush.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Mother and fawn Mule Deer.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

I believe this to be Amanita muscaria var. flavivolvata.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Also known as Fly Agaric.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for October 5, 2017                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

A gorgeous fall morning, with a full moon being replaced by a brilliant sun. Several of us were unprepared for the 37 degree start temperature, but it fairly quickly warmed up, reaching 60 by the time we left. We had to detour, as the trail was closed from the lake platform east to the south end of the East Meadow so that they can remove the crumbled pavement from the path. It will become (at least for now) a crushed gravel trail. The day was pretty birdy, though we didn’t have anything really rare, just a pretty complete set of what might typically be present.


  • Cackling Goose – flock of about 25 landed near Teatro Zinzanni
  • Horned Grebe – late stop at lake verified presence of 4
  • Western Grebe – 6+ on lake
  • Ring-billed Gull – confirmed from late view – First of Fall (FOF)
  • California Gull – also confirmed from late lake view
  • Northern Harrier – one over Dog Meadow
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – several views
  • Cooper’s Hawk – several views
  • -All 5 common woodpeckers-
  • Merlin – several quick or distant views
  • Pacific Wren – Just one, near dog swim beach #2. FOF
  • American Pipit – at least one from Viewing Mound around 7am
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – 2
  • Common Yellowthroat – 2
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – a couple of dozen, both Audubon’s and Myrtle’s
  • Townsend’s Warbler – one NE of mansion

The only notable misses for the day were Hooded Merganser and Glaucous-winged Gull. Alas, we had no owls either. And no bunnies.

For the day, 63 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Pre-dawn Fog, from the Viewing Mound.  Photo by Michael Hobbs
Male Belted Kingfisher.  Photo by Hugh Jennings


Pileated Woodpecker.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Adult Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

American Crow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Purple Finch.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Hugh Jennings, belatedly celebrating his 91st birthday, with Sharon Aagaard.  Hugh still manages to walk the main loop of about 3 miles almost every week.
Photo by Michael Hobbs

Garter Snake.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for September 28, 2017                                                                                                                  Birding at Marymoor

The last warm day before the rains at Marymoor turned out to be birdy, but a little lackluster — none of the craziness of last week’s show — we were missing Michael, and it seems he took the rarities with him. Nevertheless, we had a lot of birds flying most all day - nothing like the quiet days of earlier in the month.


  • Western Grebe - 2 on lake
  • Mourning Dove - 1 in fields offering good views
  • Wilson’s Snipe - a few flying and grunting pre-dawn — our first of the fall
  • Virginia Rail - 5 — including one that came out for brief views at the lake viewing platform
  • Steller’s Jay - 30+ - we seemed to have a steady movement that was more than our usual fall movement of Steller’s gathering nuts.
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet - several back, including at least attempts at song
  • Orange-crowned Warbler - 2-3
  • Yellow-rumped Warblers - many many moving through
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler - 2-3

Missing today, many species — no swallows, no gulls, not many ducks, and no solid pipits [or larks or longspurs], despite quite a bit of effort.

For the day, we came up with 49 species [down 29 from last week's total!]

Good birding,

Matt Bartels Seattle, WA

Dawn. Photo by Bob Asanoma

American Crow with a bum foot.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Red-winged Blackbird.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Savannah Sparrow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Mourning Dove.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Song Sparrow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Spotted Towhee.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

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