Friends of Marymoor Park

Recent Bird Sightings

Report for January 3, 2019                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

We had steady light rain (occasionally fading to drizzle) until maybe 9:30, but then the rain held off until we were done. Otherwise, it was pretty warm, and we mostly missed out on the gusty winds. So, not too bad (though not nearly as nice as New Years Day). As for birds, the day featured no surprises, but few disappointments either.


  • Cackling Goose – about 1000, but a very uniform flock
  • Wood Duck – pair in the slough
  • Common Goldeneye – female from Lake Platform – only 4th sighting of the winter, all of single birds!
  • Mew Gull – maybe 750 on grass soccer fields! Quite possibly a High Count for Marymoor
  • Ring-billed Gull – 2-3, first in six weeks
  • Ring-necked Pheasant – male persists at Pea Patch
  • Green Heron – *heard* at Rowing Club
  • Western Screech-Owl – Matt heard one early
  • Hairy Woodpecker – one seen very distantly across Dog Meadow
  • Pileated Woodpecker – one seen even more distantly west of Lake Platform
  • Northern Shrike – seen, again between Compost Piles and model airplane field; *might* have been 2

Misses included American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal (seen 1/1/19), Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser (seen 1/1/19), Wilson’s Snipe, and Lincoln’s Sparrow.

I visited the park on New Day, and besides the GWTE and HOME noted above, I also had VIRGINIA RAIL, PINE SISKIN, and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH. Hank Heiberg ebirded GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE on 1/2/19.

So today, we had 53 species. With my 5 additional species, plus Hank’s geese, the 2019 Marymoor list stands at 59 species. Not too bad a start for the New Year.

== Michael Hobbs

Pied-billed Grebe.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Common Merganser.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Bufflehead.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Ring-necked Pheasant in the Pea Patch.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Cackling Geese.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Red-breasted Nuthatch. Photos by Bob Asanoma

Report for December 31, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

Like last year's New Years Eve day, I didn't get down early, and by the time I got there, I was amongst a hoard of dogs.  The weather was good, though, and I had a fine day to end 2018.


  • Ring-necked Pheasant - male in Pea Patch again; New for Week 53
  • Horned Grebe - one out on lake amongst a flotilla of Pied-billed Grebe
  • Virginia Rail - responded from boardwalk
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk - near Pea Patch
  • Hairy Woodpecker - 9th straight week!
  • Pileated Woodpecker - almost as frequently found this winter as Hairy
  • Northern Shrike - one near Viewing Mound

For the (short) day, 46 species.

= Michael

Report for December 27, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

The weather was as good as could be hoped for today, with zero precipitation from the 7:00 am – noon (but with some wet immediately before and some immediately after), no wind, thin enough overcast for pretty good seeing, and not *too* cold (37-43). It was fairly birdy too, though unsurprisingly there weren’t any surprises amongst the species seen. Still, it was a great walk and we had some good stuff, even enjoying things like a bathing GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET with his crest up full.


  • Virginia Rail – responded to clapping at the crook in the boardwalk
  • Killdeer – I counted 40 on Fields 7-8-9, and certainly missed some amongst the more numerous mole hills
  • Mew Gull – a couple hundred on grass soccer fields; ALL Mews except for a couple of Glaucous-winged Gulls
  • Downy Woodpecker – somewhere around 5 birds
  • Hairy Woodpecker – several sightings, both male and female seen
  • Northern Flicker – possibly into double-digits
  • Pileated Woodpecker – two males at Rowing Club
  • Northern Shrike – adult between Compost Piles and model airplane field again
  • Pine Siskin – biggest flock yet for this winter
  • Western Meadowlark – 8 in Dog Meadow

Best sighting was probably the 5 RIVER OTTERS in the slough just below the southernmost dog swimming beach, eating fish. One was later in the Rowing Club pond.

Only 8 species of geese and ducks, and low numbers of most of those. Misses included Ring-necked Duck, Ring-billed Gull, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and Red-winged Blackbird.

Singing birds included Anna’s Hummingbird (singing and displaying), Black-capped Chickadee, Pacific Wren, Song Sparrow, and Golden-crowned Sparrow. Some of the Mallards were doing head bobbing.

And for the day, we managed to find a respectable 53 species.

== Michael Hobbs == \

American Crow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Belted Kingfisher.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Brown Creeper.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Double-crested Cormorants.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

River Otters.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Report for December 20, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

It was a pretty awful day, with plenty of dark windy wetness. Only a small group of us were there to suffer through one of the quietest days of the year.

In anticipation of the days getting longer very, very soon now, I heard 2 PACIFIC WRENS, several SONG SPARROWS, at least one GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, and a BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE singing today. I enjoyed their optimism, especially the PACIFIC WREN singing repeatedly at 6:30 a.m., in the pitch darkness, in the rain, down near the Rowing Club dock.

Other highlights:

  • Cackling Goose – down from 2000 in some recent weeks to perhaps as low as 5 birds today
  • Wood Duck – three at Rowing Club pond
  • American Wigeon – one flock overhead for sure, maybe several others
  • Green Heron – *heard only* at Rowing Club pond
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – juvenile Hairy Woodpecker – at least 1
  • PEREGRINE FALCON – juvenile landed west of slough – tried hard to turn it into a Prairie, but no luck there :)
  • Western Meadowlark – Eric had 6-10 near the Viewing Mound. We were beset by awful weather when we arrived, and had none

Misses today included Ring-necked Duck, Common Merganser (one likely candidate could not be confirmed), Wilson’s Snipe, Ring-billed Gull, Cooper’s Hawk, Brown Creeper, Purple Finch, and Red-winged Blackbird.

With that many misses, it’s no surprise that our species tally for the day was just 50.

== Michael Hobbs

Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Hooded Merganser pair.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for December 13, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

Well, there have to be a few bad weeks to make the rest of birding look good. Today was dark, damp, and devoid of birds, though things picked up a little at the end.


  • Greater White-fronted Goose – two with one of the many flocks of Cacklers
  • Ring-necked Pheasant – Lonesome George the 2nd in Pea Patch again
  • Mew Gull – probably close to 100, all seen in flight
  • Green Heron - Brian saw one a the Rowing Club
  • Cooper’s Hawk – 2-3 sightings, probably all the same juvenile
  • Hairy Woodpecker – one female at Rowing Club
  • Northern Shrike – continuing adult, NE of Viewing Mound
  • Purple Finch – one male south of windmill
  • Pine Siskin – a dozen at the Rowing Club
  • American Goldfinch – ditto

All of those highlights came from the East Meadow and after...

Mammals included a BEAVER from the Lake Platform and a River Otter in the Rowing Club pond.

Misses today included Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Wilson’s Snipe, Ring-billed Gull, Brown Creeper, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and Red-winged Blackbird. Those were almost joined by NORTHERN FLICKER, not seen until our way out of the Rowing Club.

I’ll be back Saturday morning for the Eastside Audubon CBC, so maybe the week list will improve. Until then, it’s at 52 species today (which included “Pinwidgeons” – a flock of American Wigeon and/or Northern Pintail).

== Michael Hobbs

Male Hooded Merganser.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Female Hooded Merganser.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Mallard pair, with adult male (right) and juvenile male (left) Hooded Mergansers.
Photo by Bob Asanoma

Greater White-fronted Goose, with Cackling Geese  Photo by Bob Asanoma

River Otter in Rowing Club pond.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

River Otter in Rowing Club pond.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for December 6, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

It was a gorgeous day; though it dawned a bitter 23 degrees, it was fogless and sunny, with only occasional winds. During the morning, it warmed 19 degrees by the time we finished at the Rowing Club. It was birdy too, especially for the first few hours. And several birds, that were previously MIA this winter, decided to show up.

After the walk, I went back to the Pea Patch, and after a half an hour of searching, I finally spotted the PALM WARBLER working the sunny side of the wall between the Pea Patch and the Pet Garden. This bird was first seen by Hank Heiberg about 10 days ago, and not noted again to my knowledge until yesterday morning. It is a very drab juvenile, showing only a trace of a reddish crown, and a hint of an eye line. The breast has a lot of blurry streaking. The undertail coverts are bright yellow, though, up the white spot at the end of the underside of the tail.


  • Greater White-fronted Goose – at least 1 juvenile in with a couple of thousand Cacklers – First of Fall, finally
  • TRUMPETER SWAN – five adults in a slow fly-over. Thankfully they called – First of Fall
  • Northern Shoveler – four at lake – first since late October
  • - 8 species of duck total – nothing notable, except this is the best showing we’ve had. Included both Common and Hooded Mergansers
  • Ring-necked Pheasant – male at Pea Patch again
  • Horned Grebe – one on lake
  • Green Heron – far side of slough, north of last dog swim area
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl – Matt heard one well pre-dawn
  • Merlin – Mark saw one flying north near the mansion
  • Northern Shrike – adult, 2 sightings
  • PINE SISKIN – suddenly everywhere – maybe 100. First of Fall
  • Western Meadowlark – one for the group near the Viewing Mound. Six for me just before 8 am
  • PALM WARBLER – after the walk; see notes above

Our only big misses today were American Wigeon and Mew Gull. A really good day, with 63 species (counting the Palm Warbler).

== Michael Hobbs

COLD, but sunny.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Downy Woodpecker.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

American Crow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

One of the many Pine Siskin.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

The huge flocks of Cackling Geese continue.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Boeing's "Dream Lifter", a modified 747.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for November 29, 2018                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

We had views of Venus and the moon in the early pre-dawn, but then the fog rolled in from about 7am-9am, before rising, and then clearing. More overcast moved in later in the morning, but we never had wind or precipitation, and we did have birds! Many of our common winter birds seemed especially numerous, and gave us some really fantastic looks. Best Bird of the day was a SWAMP SPARROW that really showed off below the Viewing Mound.


  • Cackling Goose – hard to count, but maybe 2500, on grass soccer fields
  • Horned Grebe – one or two very far out on the lake
  • Virginia Rail – one responded from along the boardwalk
  • California Gull – 1 or 2, seen late
  • Green Heron – 1 on beaver lodge across the slough from Dog Central
  • Western Screech-Owl – one heard east of boardwalk around 6:30 a.m.
  • Great Horned Owl – Matt heard one west of the park entrance just after 5 a.m.
  • Hairy Woodpecker – pair came in right near us, for awkwardly close looks
  • PILEATED WOODPECKER – two flew north far across slough; later one very close near Park Office
  • Northern Shrike – First seen inside a hawthorn pre-dawn; roost tree? Adult seen near Viewing Mound during the regular walk
  • Bushtit – one flock of 20-25
  • Kinglets – many seen in mixed flocks, GCKI and RCKI both plentiful and giving us excellent eye-level views
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – one seen briefly below Viewing Mound
  • SWAMP SPARROW – one gave fabulous looks below Viewing Mound
  • Western Meadowlark - 10+ near Viewing

Mound Misses today included Ring-necked Duck, mergansers, Ring-billed Gull (probable, but fog-obscured), Pine Siskin.

This winter is unusual. Duck numbers, both of species and of individuals, are remarkably low. Diving ducks have been almost completely absent. Even adding in a late scan of the whole north end of the lake today, I could only find about 2 dozen BUFFLEHEAD and 2 COMMON GOLDENEYE. We’ve had no more than 4 Ring-necked Ducks on any day, no Scaup at all, and only 1-2 mergansers at most each week. Only twice have we had a Hooded Merganser since the end of August.

Besides Scaup, we’ve also had no Swans, Greater White-fronted Geeese, Ruddy Duck, large gulls besides GWGU, no Kestrel, Raven, Hermit Thrush, Varied Thrush, Red Crossbill, or Pine Siskin. And we’ve only had Northern Shoveler once (mid-October), one Short-eared Owl (mid October), one Northern Saw-whet Owl (mid-October), one flock of Evening Grosbeak (late September), one White-throated Sparrow (in early October), and one Townsend’s Warbler (early November).

An ebird report dated 2018-11-25 from Hank Heiberg includes photos of a BRANT with Cackling Geese, and a PALM WARBLER in the Pea Patch. The later is a new bird for Marymoor Park!!! We were not able to find either species today.

For today, we ended up with 57 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Inset shows Green Heron on a favorite perch on the beaver lodge.
Photos by Bob Asonoma

American Crow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Cackling Geese.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Swamp Sparrow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Swamp Sparrow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Brown Creeper.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Pileated Woodpecker.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for November 21, 2018                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

At Thanksgiving, the survey is run a day early. Today featured a rumpled overcast the occasionally dripped on us, but it was in the high 40’s, and the total accumulation was just a trace. Birds didn’t seem to want to fly much today, and there were long quiet stretches. Not that many birders (i.e. Matt had to work), and but a pretty good show of birds.


  • Cackling Goose – around 2000 flew around, then landed on the grass soccer fields, where they spent the morning. Quite a sight!
  • American Wigeon – lone female at the weir
  • Green-winged Teal – below weir and at Rowing Club, 4 or more.
  • RING-NECKED PHEASANT – male flew to Pea Patch from the west. First since 2011. Likely not of wild origin.
  • Green Heron – one remains at Rowing Club pond
  • All 5 standard Woodpeckers – including an apparently pure Red-breasted Sapsucker this week
  • Northern Shrike – adult north of Viewing Mound
  • RIVER OTTER – 4 or 5 on lake, 1+ in slough, 1 at Rowing Club pond

Few misses to report today; just Hooded Merganser, accipiters, Pine Siskin, and Lincoln’s Sparrow. In my short pre-dawn search, I had no owls. Last week’s might have been the final Cedar Waxwings for the year.

We’d had no diving ducks at all, but a late lake view turned up 4 Ring-necked Ducks, 2 Bufflehead, and 2 Common Merganser.

With those three ducks, that made 57 species for the day.

Back to Thursday next week :)

== Michael Hobbs

Part of the flock of Cackling Geese.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Part of the flock of Cackling Geese.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Pileated Woodpecker.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

"Sooty" Fox Sparrow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Ring-necked Pheasant in the Pea Patch.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Ring-necked Pheasant in the Pea Patch.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Male Belted Kingfisher.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

River Otter in the Rowing Club pond.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

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