Friends of Marymoor Park

Recent Bird Sightings

Report for September 13, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

I’m glad we were out yesterday, and not this morning. Instead of soaking showers, we had a thin overcast and little to no wind. It was very pleasant; good owling weather pre-dawn, and a good morning of birding after that featured a good mix of species, if lacking in huge numbers of birds and great looks.

Predawn, we had an eight-year-old girl and her dad out by 5:00 a.m. to try for owls, and we were at least fairly successful. Wonderful to nurture the excitement of preadolescent learning!


  • Vaux’s Swift – still a couple around flying with swallows
  • Green Heron – juvenile at Rowing Club pond again
  • Osprey – two sightings
  • Bald Eagle – one adult at lake
  • Northern Harrier – one over Dog Meadow
  • Cooper’s Hawk – two sightings
  • Red-tailed Hawk – several
  • Barn Owl – a couple of brief views, one early, one just before sunrise
  • Western Screech-Owl – heard very well east of boardwalk; don’t know how we never saw it
  • – Four woodpecker day – and we may have heard Pileated as well
  • MERLIN – seen twice, second time going after Barn Swallows
  • Willow Flycatcher – still a couple
  • PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER – juvenile in Dog Meadow
  • Violet-green Swallow – At least 20
  • Barn Swallow – At least 100, with another hundred+ swallows over lake, too far for ID
  • Swainson’s Thrush – should be gone in a week or two, but still had 2 sightings, 3+ more heard
  • – EIGHT sparrow day – including: FOX SPARROW – First of Fall, fairly early date, and GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW – First of Fall – At least 2
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – seen at several locations - 5+ birds
  • Common Yellowthroat – a few around, and still singing mature males
  • Yellow Warbler – seen at several locations - 4+ birds
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – one in Dog Meadow pine tree

On my way out, I added GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL and ROCK PIGEON; that got us to 60 species for the day, despite missing Hooded Merganser, Band-tailed Pigeon (might have glimpsed), American Coot, Marsh Wren, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Western Tanager (possibly glimpsed).

Over the next two weeks, extensive changes in the species list are expected, coinciding with the equinox.

== Michael Hobbs

Adult Pied-billed Grebe.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

American Goldfinch.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for September 6, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

A gorgeous and birdy day at Marymoor today. I got there a little after 5:00 a.m., and the sky was dark and clear, with brilliant stars (Orion, the Pleiades, etc.) showing well despite a shining crescent moon. Just a little ground fog, no wind, and warm enough that I didn’t even care that we struck out on owls. After sunrise, the birds were out, and there was a lot to see.


  • Vaux’s Swift – about a dozen in one flock
  • American Coot – one from Lake Platform; first since April
  • Osprey – only 1-2, juvenile(s?)
  • Cooper’s Hawk – one
  • Red-breasted Sapsucker – several sightings, maybe 4 birds?
  • Western Wood-Pewee – one at Rowing Club
  • Willow Flycatcher – at least 3 sightings
  • Pacific-slope Flycatcher – one, west edge of Dog Meadow
  • Warbling Vireo – a couple
  • Barn Swallow – only 2, and no other swallows
  • Swainson’s Thrush – 2 seen, a few more heard; far fewer than last week
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – 1 seen at each of 3 disparate sites
  • Red-winged Blackbird – 60 or more – large number for Marymoor
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – one, south of East Meadow
  • MacGILLIVRAY’S WARBLER – one, hawthorn in NW corner of Dog Area
  • Common Yellowthroat – still many, including singing adult male(s)
  • Yellow Warbler – many (6+)
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – at least 1
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – many (5+)
  • Western Tanager – at least 1, East Meadow
  • Black-headed Grosbeak – 2 south of windmill

So a 4-woodpecker, 3-flycatcher, 5-warbler day!

Misses today included Hooded Merganser, Rock Pigeon, gulls, Green Heron, and Violet-green Swallow. Rufous Hummingbirds have apparently all left (on schedule). Bald Eagles are on vacation, as they often are at this season. We could not find a Wilson’s Warbler either; we’ve had them more that 1/3 of the time this week of the year, but not today.

Also had a couple of Mule Deer bucks, and Matt heard a beaver while not hearing owls.

For the day, 56 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Sunrise.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Red-winged Blackbirds.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Juvenile Osprey.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Juvenile Osprey.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Yellow Warbler.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Yellow Warbler.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Black-throated Gray Warbler.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Anna's Humminbird.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Mule Deer bucks.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Male Yellow-headed Blackbird.  Photo by Joseph Calev

Report for August 30, 2018                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

A pleasant morning under a thin overcast. “Threatening” mizzle failed to arrive. But birds were pretty scarce too.


  • Gadwall – seen in slough from entrance bridge – first in months
  • Green Heron – two, including juvenile at Rowing Club
  • CALIFORNIA QUAIL – male SEEN along far shore across from 1st Dog Swim Beach
  • Barn Owl – two sightings, East Meadow at 5:30, and south of there at 6:10
  • Western Screech-Owl – heard from across the slough from the Lake Platform predawn
  • Willow Flycatcher – one seen was our only flycatcher
  • Violet-green Swallow – maybe a half-dozen after recent zero counts
  • Barn Swallow – still dozens
  • Marsh Wren – several, after weeks of zero, or one heard
  • Swainson’s Thrush – one glimpsed, ~20 heard calling
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – only warbler besides yellowthroats, maybe 6
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – one seen briefly at Viewing Mound – First of Fall

For the day, just 51 species, but that’s 5 more than last week.

== Michael Hobbs

Male California Quail.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Canada Geese in the slough.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Juvenile Green Heron at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for August 23, 2018                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

This morning dawned breezy, cloudy, and exceptionally smoky. Despite the breeze, it seemed as though all of the smoke had been compressed below the clouds; the smell of smoke was very strong, and visibility was quite restricted. By about 7:30, though, we began to get mist and then mizzle. By later in the morning we even got a little drizzle. By the time we were at the Rowing Club, we saw actual BLUE SKY with no hint of orange through the holes in the cloud cover.

As far as birds, it was very quiet, however.


  • Rufous Hummingbird – still at least one in the Pea Patch
  • GREATER YELLOWLEGS – heard very distant Tu-Tu-Tu calls from somewhere to the east. First of 2018
  • Western Screech-Owl – heard pre-dawn near east end of boardwalk
  • Pileated Woodpecker – heard distantly, seen distantly, finally seen close up from boardwalk.
  • Western Wood-Pewee – Adult feeding juvenile near weir; maybe 4 birds total
  • Willow Flycatcher – Maybe 5 total
  • Warbling Vireo – at least 1
  • Barn Swallow – maybe as many as 35 (some of those have to go down as “swallow sp.” due to distance, but they looked right for Barn)
  • Swainson’s Thrush – Heard maybe 8; saw none
  • Yellow Warbler – 1 or 2; only warbler seen for sure besides Common Yellowthroat
  • Black-headed Grosbeak – still a couple

Misses included Hooded Merganser, Vaux’s Swift, Green Heron (may have heard pre-dawn from boardwalk), Violet-green Swallow, Marsh Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet (may have heard), Savannah Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird (may have glimpsed one), and Orange-crowned, Black-throated Gray, and Wilson’s Warblers.

For the day, just 46 species, our lowest species total for 2018!

== Michael Hobbs

Adult Great Blue Heron.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Mother and 5 baby Common Mergansers.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Osprey.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Juvenile Dark-eyed Junco - a generic little brown/gray job.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

The extent of the "rain"; my car window after the walk.
Photo by Michael Hobbs

Report for August 16, 2018                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

Michael was out today, so Sharon & I [mostly Sharon] kept track of sightings at Marymoor for the weekly walk. It was still hazy, but cooler most all of the morning — there was a decent variety of birds for a mid-august walk, but the #s were pretty low throughout. On the ‘moving out’ side: Willow Flycatchers & Swainson’s Thrush were only heard pre-dawn; Savannah Sparrows were not in evidence; and swallow #s were down [poor light made it difficult to id as many as usual to species as well].


  • Rufous Hummingbird - still one around at the garden
  • 5 woodpecker day - we haven’t had one of those for a long time - The Red-breasted Sapsucker was well across the slough and on a high snag
  • Merlin - one brief sighting by mansion
  • Pacific-slope Flycatcher - 1 imm
  • Purple Martin - still two nestlings in gourd at lake-viewing platform
  • Orange-crowned Warbler - saw a couple, maybe heard others
  • Wilson’s Warbler - one male
  • Western Tanager - one at the first dog launch in the off-leash area, prdik -ing away.

Notable misses: Violet-green Swallow [though we did have many un-id’d swallows], European Starling, Marsh Wren, Black-thorated Gray Warbler, Savannah Sparrow,

Matt Bartels Seattle, WA

Nice portrait of a typical female Mallard.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Female Mallard being very atypical, sitting in a bush.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

The day's ONLY Great Blue Heron.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

The last of the nestling Purple Martins.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Young Garter Snake.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Hooded Mergansers at the Rowing Club pond.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for August 9, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

A beautiful day today at Marymoor, with a pretty good number of post-breeding visiting species to keep things quite interesting. Little actual singing, of course, and many hatch-year birds seen. A delightful 60 degrees pre-dawn, it warmed up to nearly 80 by the time we were done. Fairly birdy overall.


  • Common Merganser – female with 4-5 ducklings at the weir
  • Rock Pigeon – flyover flock – first since early May!
  • Vaux’s Swift – 20-30 in flock at Rowing Club. Migrants?
  • Rufous Hummingbird – still one at Pea Patch
  • Spotted Sandpiper – apparent juvenile at weir
  • California Gull – 3; ID verified during late lake scan
  • Caspian Tern – 1
  • Green Heron – juvenile
  • Barn Owl – juv. heard in windmill, 1-2 glimpsed in East Meadow fog pre-dawn
  • Western Screech-Owl – one heard pre-dawn near East Footbridge
  • Hairy Woodpecker – across slough from Lake Platform
  • Pileated Woodpecker – male in firs NE of mansion
  • Willow Flycatcher – still abundantly singing
  • Warbling Vireo – adult and juvenile
  • RED-EYED VIREO – great looks near last Dog Beach – first since 2013!
  • Purple Martin – most have fledged; many birds overhead, at least 1 still in a gourd
  • Cliff Swallow – seen during late lake scan; may have seen one over East Meadow earlier
  • Swainson’s Thrush - 2+ heard calling just before sunrise; no others detected
  • Savannah Sparrow – only 1-2, East Meadow
  • Common Yellowthroat – MANY, but I didn’t see/hear any adult males
  • Yellow Warbler – 2-3, at least one a singing male
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – one, west edge of East Meadow
  • Wilson’s Warbler – One in Cottonwood Forest
  • Black-headed Grosbeak – Only 1 or 2

RED-EYED VIREO were previously summer residents at Marymoor, with 1 or 2 singing males, and successful nesting noted some years. They were dependably reported 12+ weeks each summer, from late-May through early September, every year from 1995 (when I learned their song from Brian Bell) through 2008. Then they suddenly became scarce.
     2009: 6 reports
     2010: 2 reports
     2011: 1 report
     2012: 4 reports
     2013: 2 reports
And then no more reports after that before today (though there is one ebird report each from 2014 and 2015).

Misses today included Hooded Merganser, Red-tailed Hawk, Violet-green Swallow, and Marsh Wren.

For the day, 60 species. For the year, adding RED-EYED VIREO, the park list is at 144.

== Michael Hobbs

Sliver of a crescent moon, 4:30am.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Juvenile Green Heron.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Hatch-year Willow Flycatcher.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Juvenile Warbling Vireo.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Red-eyed Vireo.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Song Sparrow about to feed Brown-headed Cowbird chick.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Some kind of band-winged grasshopper.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

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