Friends of Marymoor Park


Bird Sightings Week 5
January 29-February 4


Rarities for Week 5:

Redhead 01-Feb-96  
Barrow's Goldeneye 01-Feb-96 Two birds
Dunlin 04-Feb-04  
Dunlin 01-Feb-06  
Red-naped x Red-breasted Sapsucker hybrid 29-Jan-09 Rowing Club

...American Tree Sparrow

29-Jan-09 Compost Piles.  Present 15-Jan to 19-Feb
Swamp Sparrow 02-Feb-05 Below weir
Northwestern Salamander 04-Feb-16 Being eaten by a Green Heron, Rowing Club pond

Report for February 1, 2024                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

This year's Imbolc edition of the Marymoor Survey was pretty good.  A touch of mizzle now and then, and a little too overcast, but it was warm and calm and fairly birdy.  With the cross quarter day (half-way between the solstice and the equinox), there was suddenly a lot more singing, herons at the nests, big buds on the Indian Plum, and many calling Pacific Tree Frogs pre-dawn.

  • Wood Duck - One beautiful male in the slough near the start of the boardwalk
  • Ruddy Duck - A pair, I believe, on the lake FAR OUT.  The male was barely recognizable; the probable female was sticking with him
  • Anna's Hummingbirds - Several singing males, and the first displaying male of spring
  • Cooper's Hawk - One across the slough below the weir.  First of Year (FOY)
  • Merlin - One atop a fir NE of the mansion
  • CEDAR WAXWING - Flock of about 30 in a berry-filled European Hawthorn in the northern part of the Dog Meadow.  (FOY)
  • Pine Siskin - A couple of good-sized flocks
  • White-throated Sparrow - One with Golden-crowns near the 2nd Dog Swim Beach bench
Singing birds included Black-capped Chickadee, Pacific Wren, Bewick's Wren (many), American Robin, Song Sparrow, and Red-winged Blackbird.

Misses today included Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, Short-billed Gull, Hairy Woodpecker, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and White-crowned Sparrow.

For the day, 52 species.  We are now at 66 species for the year.

= Michael Hobbs

Cedar Waxwing. Photo by Tony Ernst

American Coots along the slough. Photo by Tony Ernst

Ruddy Duck: middle bird, and maybe one or both of the two birds to the right.
Photo by Tony Ernst

Ruddy Duck, zoomed in, showing black-and-white face. Photo by Tony Ernst

Ruddy Duck; another zoomed-in photo
Photo by Tony Ernst

Wilson's Snipe in flight. Photo by Tony Ernst

Report for February 2, 2023                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

It was a gorgeous day for our Imbolc/Groundhogs Day visit this morning.  Sunrise was stunning!  This being February, it wasn't terribly birdy today, but it wasn't boring and dull either.  Once the morning freeze warmed up a bit, it was a real delight to walk around.
  • Cooper's Hawk - juvenile at NW corner of Pea Patch all morning, adult seen from boardwalk
  • Great Horned Owl - calling continuously from SE part of park pre-dawn.  About 6:45 a.m., it made its way NE towards the mansion
  • Merlin - One atop tall fir NE of the mansion.  First of Year (FOY)
  • Hermit Thrush - One just south of Dog Area on slough trail (FOY)
  • Varied Thrush - Probably two birds, one a gorgeous male, near the windmill
  • Purple Finch - Twice observed flocks of ~5 birds, at least one bird singing
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler - At least three (all "Myrtle" type) at Rowing Club ponds (FOY)
A late scan of the lake turned up our only RING-BILLED GULL and about three HORNED GREBES in the NE corner of the lake.

Misses today included American Wigeon, Short-billed Gull, and Marsh Wren.

Several times, Matt or I thought we heard or saw House Finch, but I'm not sure any of those instances was sure enough to put them on today's list, and thus House Finch is also a Miss.  Once, I was almost positive I heard one call of an American Goldfinch, but nothing more was seen/heard.  So, we definitely had Purple Finch, plus one or two individuals of one or two other finch species.  Sometimes birding can be frustrating.

Yesterday, though, Mark and Lee had HOUSE FINCH and a LINCOLN'S SPARROW, both in the Pea Patch I believe

So for the day, 55 species, and for the week, at least 57.

= Michael Hobbs

A very few of the pure flock of Cackling Geese.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Peek-a-boo view of a male Varied Thrush.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Report for February 3, 2022                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

The weather wasn’t quite as bad as the forecast: we merely had a misty, mizzly, drizzly morning.  But for ducks there was little see or hear.  Except for predawn Barn Owl instead of predawn Screech-Owl, the day’s species list was a perfect subset of last week’s list, only with fewer birds and fewer sightings.
  • Wood Duck – A pretty pair
  • Green-winged Teal – Again, a large number at the Rowing Club
  • Ruddy Duck – One in the NE corner of the lake, seen on a late scan of the lake
  • Wilson’s Snipe – Maybe as many as ten below the weir
  • Western Meadowlark – One at the Compost Piles actually sang a couple of times
Mason Flint had a COYOTE, and we had a couple of RIVER OTTERS in the slough.
From the Rowing Club dock, Matt and I saw a pair of HOODED MERGANSERS swim past an adult GREAT BLUE HERON.  That – that – was the visual highlight of the morning.  One nice 3-second view of some common birds.  But they were pretty.  Okay, okay, some of the snipe looks were pretty good too.
Misses included Cackling Goose, Rock Pigeon, Ring-billed Gull, Cooper’s Hawk (might have glimpsed one), Hairy Woodpecker (might have heard one), Bushtit, any finch besides House Finch.
For the day, 51 species.  But that included at least 9 species either Heard-only, or seen by only one person.
Exciting, though, is that eBird user “D/P Stanford” photographed a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK on 2022-01-31.  A great bird for Marymoor; to my knowledge this would be either the 4th or 5th sighting at the park!
= Michael Hobbs

Report for February 4, 2021

We got rained on this morning, though nothing that challenged our rain gear.  It was also quite intermittent.  Always pretty dark, though, and damp.  Not terribly birdy, but a few good sightings.
  • Wood Duck – at least two pair
  • American Wigeon – quite a few today
  • Virginia Rail – at least 6 different birds heard, boardwalk, and east of the East Meadow
  • California Gull – adult with other gulls on Fields 7-8-9 – First of Year (FOY)
  • ICELAND (Thayer’s) GULL – initially spotted due to it’s bright pink legs.  Also on 7-8-9 – FOY
  • Cooper’s Hawk – two sightings
  • Hairy Woodpecker – female at Rowing Club
  • Marsh Wren – after prompting, one sang east of the East Meadow – FOY
  • Pine Siskin – only 1 heard, near park office
  • COMMON YELLOWTHROAT – Called and gave me a quick view, east edge of East Meadow.  We’ve never had COYE before the last week in March before – FOY
The INDIAN PLUM is in full bud, and one at least one plant there were a few flowers open!
Quite a bit of singing today, including from AMERICAN ROBIN.  Also, some display bobbing by COMMON GOLDENEYES.
A late scan of the lake turned up a couple of HORNED GREBES, and I noticed a ROCK PIGEON on my way out.  Bushtit was the only real miss today.
For the day, 60 species (albeit, several were heard-only and/or noted by only one person), a really good total for a rainy day in February.  For the year, we’re up to 77 species.
= Michael Hobbs

Belted Kingfisher. Photo by Jordan Roderick

"Thayer's" Iceland Gull. Photo by Jordan Roderick

Report for January 30, 2020

It was a beautiful morning, and we had several BARN OWL sightings from the Viewing Mound before the sunrise exploded in pink, orange, purple and blue.  Mt. Rainier was showing for good measure.  No rain, some sunlight and shadows, no wind, not cold, muddy, and with a partially (slightly) flooded boardwalk.
  • Cackling Goose – a couple of hundred, probably.  We’ve been having much smaller numbers since December
  • Greater Scaup – lone female again
  • Great Blue Heron – one carried a stick to the nests, a pair copulated
  • Belted Kingfisher – seen trying to swallow a too-big fish
  • Northern Shrike – north of fields 7-8-9
  • Bushtit – just two – First of the Year
  • European Starling – 200-300 birds in a murmuration at 7:30
  • Pine Sisklin – one or two relatively small swirls.  Our only finches for the day
  • Western Meadowlark – SINGING in East Meadow
  • American Beavers, Muskrat (First of Year), Pacific Tree Frogs heard in January
Singing birds included Anna’s Hummingbird, Black-capped Chickadee, Pacific Wren, Bewick’s Wren, American Robin, Song Sparrow,  Golden-crowned Sparrow,  Dark-eyed Junco, Red-winged Blackbird, and Western Meadowlark
Misses included Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, Cooper’s Hawk, Marsh Wren, and House Finch
For the day, 51 species. 
= Michael Hobbs

Photo by Bob Asanoma

Photo by Karen Snepp

Green-winged Teal.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Western Meadowlark.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for January 31, 2019                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

Our last survey before the cross-quarter, Imbolc, halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, ~Feb. 2. What I’ve found is that this correlates pretty well with the time of year when many of our resident birds really begin to sing. On a very nice morning today, there was indeed a lot of singing. Some of the songs were, perhaps, half-formed, but it was singing nonetheless.  The first Indian Plum (aka Oso Berry) blossoms as well.


  • Wood Duck – Pair in slough near the lake
  • Green Heron – Seen a couple of times along the edge of the slough
  • Cooper’s Hawk – gorgeous and large adult, in tall tree near the lake
  • Barn Owl – Matt heard one shriek and snap its bill, long before sunrise
  • Western Screech-Owl – Matt heard one, also early morning, near the East Footbridge
  • Woodpeckers – nice looks at Downy, Hairy, Flicker, and Pileated – the same 4 species we’ve had the last 7 weeks now
  • Northern Shrike – seen in the Dog Meadow and again (presumed the same bird) near the lake, from the boardwalk!
  • Western Meadowlark – 9 seen at the north end of the Dog Meadow
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – two at the Rowing Club area

River Otters were seen at the end of the morning looking towards the lake from the Rowing Club dock

Singing birds included Anna’s Hummingbird, Black-capped Chickadee, Pacific Wren, Bewick’s Wren, European Starling, House Finch, Purple Finch, Fox Sparrow (I think; very brief), Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow (pugetensis song), Golden-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Red-winged Blackbird. I’m probably forgetting one or two more. Flickers were calling long and vigorously.

Twice we had very close looks of DOWNY and HAIRY WOODPECKERS sharing trees next to us. Great to have side-by-side comparison, followed by one-over-the-other comparison :)

Matt and I were there quite early and had beautiful looks of VENUS and the MOON very close together, with JUPITER just a little further away above and to the right.

Barn Owl, Western Meadowlark, and Yellow-rumped Warbler were new for us for 2019, bringing our year total to 69 species. Our day’s tally was 57 species.

== Michael Hobbs

From left to right, Venus, the moon, Jupiter.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Sunrise. Photo by Matt Bartels

Walking the slough, below the weir.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Green-winged Teal.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Female Hairy Woodpecker.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Blooming Indian Plum (a.k.a. Oso Berry).  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Mallards all in a row.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for February 1, 2018                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

Our last walk before Imbolc was as drab and uneventful as one would expect. The weather wasn’t bad, with periodic mizzle and drizzle, only a few breezy moments, and warm temps., but it wasn’t very birdy.


  • Cackling Goose – about 500 overhead, with a good number landing on grass fields
  • Horned Grebe – one WELL out from Lake Platform
  • Green Heron – atop beaver lodge across from Dog Central yet again
  • Barn Owl – only owl, and not seen after around 6:30
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – one from Viewing Mound – first of 2018
  • “Slate-colored” Junco – with good-sized flock of juncos in the middle of the Dog Meadow

We were a bit discombobulated all morning, since Lots C and D were closed, and we had to start the walk from the Viewing Mound. This meant we did the mansion loop first. Change – very hard. :)

That’s it for highlights, really. We were excited to finally get a NORTHERN FLICKER at the Rowing Club, raising our woodpecker count to one bird each of two species (the other was a female DOWNY WOODPECKER). Our only finches were somewhere around six HOUSE FINCHES.

We did have the first (barely) blooming Indian Plum.

Misses included American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, Cooper’s Hawk, and Bushtit. Everything else we missed has been seen on less than 50% of previous years.

For the day, an even 50 species. For 2018, we’re at 71 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Mallards.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Green Heron on the beaver lodge across from Dog Central.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

A little bit of water on the boardwalk.  Rubber boots recommended.
Photo by Bob Asanoma

American Coot and male Bufflehead.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for February 2, 2017                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

On this day of Imbolc, things certainly still felt very wintery. It was a nippy 18 degrees when we started (!!!), though with just a thin haze, the sun did eventually warm things up. It was 40 degrees when we left at 11:45. Frozen water around the area meant that the slough (especially below the weir) was filled with ducks and geese and Killdeer and Snipe. Much of the rest of the walk was pretty quiet, but the last hour “heated up”; as the temperature rose, the birds came out.


Snow Goose                Two, I think, both juveniles
Cackling Goose           About 150 – they typically get scarcer after this week American Wigeon        1 below weir
Greater Scaup             At least 1
Lesser Scaup               At least 2
Hooded Merganser      Especially numerous
- 11 species of duck -  In total
Wilson’s Snipe             Six together below weir, near shore
Green Heron                Fishing from Beaver Lodge *again*
- all 5 woodpeckers -   Hairy new for year
MERLIN                     New for 2017 – SW of mansion
Northern Shrike           Seen early, N of fields 7-8-9, later east of Viewing Mound
HUTTON’S VIREO   One SW of mansion in Doug Firs – rare for Marymoor

Misses today included Rock Pigeon, gulls besides GWGU (had 1 with black wingtips), any accipiter, Pacific and Marsh Wrens, and White-crowned Sparrow.

Still, we managed 55 species. Adding HAIRY WOODPECKER, MERLIN, and HUTTON’S VIREO, we’re at 76 species for the year.

== Michael Hobbs

Mallards (and one Green-winged Teal male, upper left).  The very brown duck, center foreground, is a domestic Mallard. Photo by Hugh Jennings

Juvenile Snow Goose across the slough.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Killdeer below the weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings.

Green-winged Teal.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Wilson's Snipe.  Photo by Hugh Jennings.

Gadwall pair in slough. Photo by Hugh Jennings.

Juvenile Bald Eagle.  This plumage, with the dark tail and white head, and with a dark eye-stripe, is the cause of many mistaken out-of-season reports of Osprey.
Photo by Hugh Jennings.

Bewick's Wren.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Adult Northern Shrike.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for February 4, 2016                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

We finally got a Thursday without totally crappy weather! It was warm, and while overcast, it pretty much didn’t precipitate, nor was there more than a few puffs of breeze. Also, yesterday was the Cross Quarter; we are now more than half way between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, and by my reckoning, that makes it Spring now. The birds seemed to agree, with lots of singing, etc.


SNOW GOOSE                    1 seen flying north out of the park – FOY
American Wigeon                   2 in slough below weir – First of Year
Green-winged Teal                 18 – rather a lot really – on the Rowing Club pond Greater Scaup                         2 in slough
Horned Grebe                         1-2 well out on lake
Western Grebe                        1 really far out on lake
Green Heron                           Juvenile again at south RC pond
Northern Saw-Whet Owl        Matt heard two east of boardwalk before 6am
MERLIN                                1 near concert venue
Northern Shrike                       Dependable juvenile at usual spot
Yellow-rumped Warbler           2-4 near weir
White-crowned Sparrow          Amazingly, First of Year. Only 1 juvenile

The SNOW GOOSE was first heard (but not seen) in flight, and it sounded like a weird goose, We weren’t sure if it was Canada or Cackling, but it was behind a large grove of firs, and we thought nothing more of it. About 5 minutes later, while scanning SR-520 looking for Rock Pigeons (none then, but I saw 3 on my way back from the Snohomish Black-headed Gull), I noticed a white bird with black wingtips WAY off to the north. It was flying away, but it luckily circled back a bit, allowing us to see that it was, indeed, a Snow Goose. Grace & Ollie were separately in their car, a lot closer, and called to report it after the fact. This was only our 5th February sighting ever for Snow Goose.

The MERLIN was perched in a tall Doug Fir that we can see from where we park our cars. As I was getting in to my car, I saw a bird atop the tree. “Robin”, I said to myself, but then I chided myself that I should actually look with my binoculars. I ignored that chiding and got into the car and looked at the bird again. “Robin”, I again said to myself, and started my car. Finally, I listened to that other voice in my head and looked at the damned bird. And, of course, it was no Robin. It was a Merlin.

Got to look at every bird. Got to look. Got to. How many times do I have to say that? Actually, it was the same with the Snow Goose, which at first glance I’d categorized as black wing-tipped gull, and I almost didn’t stay on the bird long enough to tell it was no gull.

Singing birds included ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, BEWICK’S WREN, AMERICAN ROBIN, FOX SPARROW, SONG SPARROW, DARK-EYED JUNCO, and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD. Some of the GREAT BLUE HERONS were visiting the heronry, with one actually standing on a nest.

At the Rowing Club, Grace & Ollie saw the juvenile Green Heron eat what appeared to be a BULLFROG tadpole. We also heard PACIFIC TREE FROGS, and there was one RED-EARED SLIDER.


For the day, 56 species (10 more than either of the last 2 weeks). With SNOW GOOSE, AMERICAN WIGEON, and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW new for they year, we’re up to 70 species for the year.

== Michael Hobbs

Hooded Mergansers at Rowing Club.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Hooded Merganser at Rowing Club.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Hooded Mergansers at Rowing Club.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Female Bufflehead.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Golden-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Northern Shrike.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Green-winged Teal.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Green Heron eating a Northwestern Salamander.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Green Heron eating a Northwestern Salamander.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for January 29, 2015                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

We had to peer through fog for the first couple of hours, but today turned into a good day for birding at Marymoor. Surprises are hard to come by in January, but our last bird was a good one.


Wood Duck               One drake in the slough near the lake
Northern Pintail           One drake in the slough well north of the weir
Barn Owl                    One flying around model airplane field
N. Saw-whet Owl       Early birders heard 2, near “Mysterious Thicket”, 5:15AM
Pileated Woodpecker  One near east end of boardwalk
HUTTON’S VIREO  Two at Rowing Club just after we left. Singing to boot.
Y.-rumped Warbler     Three, Dog Meadow
Lincoln’s Sparrow       One at Compost Piles
Purple Finch                Half-dozen at S end of Dog Meadow
RED CROSSBILL     ~Dozen in mansion-area firs and hemlocks

This is just the 7th HUTTON’S VIREO sighting ever at Marymoor, and our first since 2011. Most of us had left for the day, but Sharon and Ruth lingered in the parking lot and heard one of the vireos singing. They tracked it down, and found two HUVI together. Quick phone calls brought Grace&Ollie, and me, rushing back in time to see them at the extreme north end of the Rowing Club parking area.

SINGING was the order of the day. Besides the singing HUTTON’S VIREO, we had singing BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, BROWN CREEPER, BEWICK’S WREN (many), GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, SONG SPARROW, DARK-EYED JUNCO. [When I got home, the first thing I heard was a singing HOUSE FINCH]. The cross-quarter is coming up in a few days (Imbolc – Feb 2), which marks the end of winter, or at least the end of the shortest days of the year – half way between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

For animals, we had a RIVER OTTER in the lake, and a COYOTE that successfully caught something large – mole? large vole? – east fringes of the East Meadow. A Red-eared Slider turtle was sunning itself at the Rowing Club.

For the day, 59 species. Hutton’s Vireo and Red Crossbill were new for the year, bringing our 2015 total to 74 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Dim early light and fog made it hard to photograph the Red Crossbills.
Two photos by Ollie Oliver

Male Red-winged Blackbird, singing.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Common Merganser.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Mallard.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Mallard.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Golden-crowned Sparrows.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Steller's Jay.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hutton's Vireo at the Rowing Club parking lot.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hutton's Vireo catching a male earwig.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Note the bluish legs on this Hutton's Vireo.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Only the 7th time I've noted a Red-eared Slider in February at Marymoor.
Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Coyote just east of the East Meadow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Coyote eating a large (Townsend's?) vole.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for January 30, 2014                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

It was overcast, with a bit of a breeze, but it was warm (44 degrees) and the precipitation held off. Too bad the birds held off too. It was a day notable for misses.


WOOD DUCK                Male in slough near lake
American Wigeon              Heard only, pre-dawn. First of Year (FOY)
Killdeer                             Heard from Viewing Mound, pre-dawn
Hairy Woodpecker            Pair near East Footbridge
American Goldfinch           About 30 at Rowing Club – FOY for us

Misses: NO GEESE AT ALL, no Cooper’s Hawk, no Belted Kingfisher, no Downy, No Steller’s Jay, and no White-crowned Sparrow. We had two glimpses at black wing-tipped gulls (prob. 1 Mew and 1 Ring-billed, but neither for certain). We did have several Glaucous-winged Gulls, and a whole flock of “Olympic Gulls” all together on one of the eastern ball fields.

After the regular walk, I drove over to the NE corner of the lake for a quick scoping. I counted at least 60 PIED-BILLED GREBE, and had four HORNED GREBE and several COMMON MERGANSERS.

There were a few touches of spring. BEWICKS’S WRENS were singing, and there were a couple of singing SONG SPARROWS too. Northern Flickers were doing the kwik-kwik-kwik-kwik-kwik... call that Sibley names as their song.

With the Horned Grebe and Common Merganser, and counting the “black wing-tipped gull sp., and three heard-only-before-dawn species, we had 47 species for the day. For the year, we’re at 68 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Golden-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Hairy Woodpecker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Hairy Woodpecker.  Note the tongue.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Red-breasted Nuthatch at Park Office.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Singing Bewick's Wren.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bushtit, 2014-01-24.  Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz

Cooper's Hawk, 2014-01-24.  Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz

Report for January 31, 2013                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

We had mizzle before sunrise, but then at least 2 hours of really nice warm dry weather before things got a bit more than damp for the last couple of hours this morning. Things were birdy at first, but for a lot of the walk there really didn’t seem to be much around. We are getting into the period of the year with our lowest species counts, but we managed to do pretty well today.


American Wigeon                       Several in flooded parking area
Horned Grebe                             I was able to confirm several well out on lake
Western Grebe                           Several well out on the lake
Great Blue Heron                        Again, roosting in heronry
Northern Harrier                         Seen flying the Dog Meadow
Sharp-shinned Hawk                   Adult at Rowing Club
Virginia Rail                                 Again, heard east of East Meadow
Barn Owl                                    2 before dawn, found 1 roosting
Short-eared Owl                         Great show, 7:00-7:30 a.m.
Belted Kingfisher                         Two sightings
Pileated Woodpecker                 One seen in flight, west of the slough
Lincoln’s Sparrow                      One at Dirt Piles
Red Crossbill                              Some almost-good looks – 20+ birds

Matt and I had wonderful looks at two BARN OWLS cruising the East Meadow, and sometimes over the Dog Meadow, from about 6:45-7:15 this morning. At about 7:00, they were joined by a SHORT-EARED OWL, which was seen as late as about 7:30 - by that time it was over at the model airplane field. We’d seen one Barn Owl appear to choose a roosting location, so when we were doing the regular walk through the East Meadow, I checked out that same bush. Sure enough, we could see the face of a Barn Owl through gaps in the branches.

For the day, we managed 60 species. Horned Grebe was new for 2013, bringing the year list to 80 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Fox Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bufflehead with American Coots.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Bushtit in a hawthorn.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bushtit.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Barn Owl roosting in a willow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Lincoln's Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Black-capped Chicadee, 2013-01-29.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Pacific Wren, 2013-01-29.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Downy Woodpecker, 2013-01-25.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Golden-crowned Kinglet, 2013-01-25.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for February 2, 2012                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

It was a rather typically quiet February visit to Marymoor today, although the weather was atypically wonderful, with little wind and a good deal of sunshine. American Robins, Bewick's Wrens, Black-capped Chickadees, Song Sparrows, and House Finches were singing a real morning chorus. But water levels were quite high (5' a the gauge), which meant few ducks and no kingfisher. There were a few good sightings though:

Sharp-shinned Hawk       Adult in Big Cottonwood Forest
Barn Owl                        Matt had one in the East Meadow
Anna's Hummingbird       Displaying over Pea Patch
Hairy Woodpecker         Two in Big Cottonwood Forest
Northern Shrike              Several sightings
"Slate-colored" Junco      2-3 birds, Pea Patch and park office
Purple Finch                   Several great looks
Pine Siskin                      Many up close to search through for redpoll
American Goldfinch        10+ near in London Plane trees
Evening Grosbeak           6 in Snag Row - great looks

Our first NORTHERN SHRIKE sighting was a bird a the TOP of a cottonwood near the slough at the west edge of the Dog Meadow. Later, we saw one on goalposts on fields 7-8-9. Still later, we saw one in Snag Row. Probably just one birds, but...

There was a very bright and contrasty SLATE-COLORED JUNCO near the feeders at the far corner of the Pea Patch, and a second less-contrasty (female?) there as well. Then, at the park office feeders, there was what appeared to be a bird that might have been an intergrade between Slate-colored and Oregon, in that the dark neck and breast extended well down to the lower belly, but there was a *slight* difference in tone between the head and the sides. [Maybe "Cassiar"?]

The EVENING GROSBEAKS were great - 2 males and 4 females eating maple seeds and giving us very good looks. The vast majority of Evening Grosbeak sightings at Marymoor have been flyovers, so it was very nice to get a prolonged chance to examine them.

For the day, 53 species. Evening Grosbeak was new for the year list,  bringing the 2012 total to 73 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Gorgeous morning.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Common Mergansers in slough.   Photo by Ollie Oliver

White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Evening Grosbeaks eating maple seeds.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Evening Grosbeaks, male on left.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Evening Grosbeaks, male on left.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Anna's Hummingbird.    Photo by Hugh Jennings

Pied-billed Grebe (left) and American Wigeon male.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Sharp-shinned Hawk.  Photo by Barry Brugman

American Crows, 2012-01-30.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Anna's Hummingbird at park office feeder, 2012-01-30.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Common Goldeneye, 2012-01-30.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Northern Shrike, 2012-01-27.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Northern Shrike, 2012-01-27.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Varied Thrush, 2012-01-27.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male House Finch, 2012-01-27.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Red-breasted Nuthatch, 2012-01-27.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Chestnut-backed Chickadee, 2012-01-27.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Pine Siskins, 2012-01-27.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Pine Siskin, 2012-01-27.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for February 3, 2011                                                                                                                           Birding at Marymoor

The threatened rain pretty much held off until after our walk, as did the wind.  Unfortunately, the birds appeared to have been chased out of the park by raptors.  There were about a dozen of us walking a bit quicker than usual under quilted skies, and the hawks and owls were the highlights:


Bald Eagle                        Several sightings of adults (3+ birds)
Sharp-shinned Hawk        At least 1
Cooper's Hawk                Several sightings
Carpie and Shooper's       Hawks also were seen, to make for a 4-accipiter day :)
Red-tailed Hawk              Renewed activity at the "odd snag" nest site
Peregrine Falcon               Nice adult in Snag Row
Barn Owl                         2-4 over East Meadow, model airplane field
Great Horned Owl            See below
Hairy Woodpecker           Nice look at Dog Central
Northern Shrike                North of fields 7-8-9
Golden-crowned Kinglet   Many sightings all over

There were several discussions about species identification of the many accipiter sightings we had today, mostly based on somewhat mediocre views. Some birds were relatively easy to ID, and others were left as accipiter sp. with proponents on both sides left arguing.

In the pre-dawn darkness, Matt found a GREAT HORNED OWL in the upper branches of the largest cottonwood in the Big Cottonwood Forest, above the nest that was built back in November, 2006, by Bald Eagles, but never used. Thinking that maybe, just maybe, the Great Horned Owls might be deciding to nest there, we took a long look during the day, checking the nest for "ears", and the trees for owl shapes.  Brian Bell concluded that, if an owl were out there, it would be hiding somewhere with some cover.  One nearby tree is festooned with petticoats of ivy, so he looked amongst the green.  Sure enough, a Great Horned was there!

The nest itself is large and deep enough to completely hide an adult Bald Eagle, so it's certainly possible the mate of the owl we saw was inside the nest.  We will continue to monitor in coming weeks.

During the wee hours, Matt enjoyed BARN OWLS circling close over his head at the model airplane field, and Lillian and I enjoyed watching two BARN OWLS hunting the East Meadow.  My sighting was at about 6:45 a.m.  I'm not sure
if "his" owls were the same birds as "my" owls.

For the day, just 51 species, and nothing new for the year list.

== Michael Hobbs

Uncredited photos by Michael Hobbs

Gadwall pair
Great Horned Owl.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Peregrine Falcon in Snag Row.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Peregrine Falcon in Snag Row.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Golden-crowned Kinglet.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Ring-billed Gull.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Ring-billed Gull.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Ring-billed Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Anna's Hummingbird.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Ring-necked Duck at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Great Blue Heron, 2011-01-28.  Photo by Lillian Reis

VALV-E, a friend of WALL-E, hanging out at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for February 4, 2010

What a nice morning to be out!  It was 37 degrees at 7:30, which seemed cold in comparison to how warm it's been.  It warmed up pretty nicely during the morning as the sun danced through the clouds.  The wind didn't pick up until we were through.  And IT'S SPRING, according to the wrens, chickadees, sparrows, Indian Plum, and some willows.  Singing  constantly filled the air.


Greater White-fronted Goose   At least 1 with flyover Canadas
Green Heron                            Same spot at Rowing Club pond
Barn Owl                                 Scott had one early along road
Belted Kingfisher                      Eating salamander at Rowing Club
Red-breasted Sapsucker          Next to park office in Sequoia
Hairy Woodpecker                   Working elm(?) west of mansion
Northern Shrike                        North of grass fields 7-8-9
Cedar Waxwing                        More than a dozen in East Meadow
Yellow-rumped Warbler           1 at Rowing Club

Singing birds included BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE, BEWICK'S WREN, MARSH WREN, SONG SPARROW, and HOUSE FINCH.  It's amazing "how many more Bewick's Wrens there are" once they begin singing.  Almost certainly just a sampling artifact - they go from quiet skulkers to active yodelers.

We had a nice mixed flock of about a dozen PINE SISKINS mixed with a similar number of AMERICAN GOLDFINCH that gave us good looks.

Some GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS got thoroughly ticked off when I played my iPod at them for about 30 seconds.  They gave a great show of their crowns.

At least a couple of Indian Plums were blooming, as were some willows.  The non-native hazelnuts are already dropping catkins.  Alders are in bloom, if you can call it that.  Ain't it great?

For the day, 56 species.  Nothing new for the year, though.

== Michael

Ollie Oliver caught some of the majesty of the sunrise

Double-crested Cormorants fly to the lake

Gadwall pair on the slough

American Goldfinches

Pine Siskin (right) with American Goldfinches

Lillian Reis's photo of a Pine Siskin shows the yellow wing-stripe well

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Song Sparrow.  Photo by Scott Ramos

Cedar Waxwing photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-breasted Sapsucker.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Red-breasted Sapsucker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hairy Woodpecker photo by Ollie Oliver

Belted Kingfisher eating a salamander or newt, at the Rowing Club

Green-winged Teal posturing, at the Rowing Club

Moon portrait by Scott Ramos

"Sun feather" by Scott Ramos

Blooming Indian Plum (Oso Berry)

Strange but beautiful clouds

Report for January 29, 2009

Lots of excitement in the last 24 hours.

Last night I had a NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL from the East Lake Sammamish Trail within Marymoor Park.  This is a new bird for the park list!

Also, the AMERICAN TREE SPARROW was again seen at the Compost Piles.

And at the Rowing Club, we had a hybrid RED-BREASTED x RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER. Ryan Merrill got photos, a couple of which are included here.

At 8:00, about a dozen of us met for our weekly walk under cloudy skies. There was a hint of mist, but really no real precipitation, and the winds were minimal.  Not too cold either.

This morning, Matt had BARN OWL near the mansion nest box, and there was a new branch visible within the box.  Ryan Merrill had a SHORT-EARED OWL over the East Meadow early this morning.

It was a good day for ducks and geese - CANADA and CACKLING GEESE flew overhead at about 8:15, with a few landing.  For ducks, we had GADWALL. AMERICAN WIGEON, MALLARD, NORTHERN PINTAIL, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, RING-NECKED DUCK, BUFFLEHEAD, COMMON GOLDENEYE, HOODED MERGANSER, and COMMON MERGANSER. Any day we have 10 or more species of duck at Marymoor is a good duck day.

Other highlights:

California Quail        Heard and glimpsed SW of the mansion
Green Heron            Again on the beaver lodge at the Rowing Club
Peregrine Falcon ?   Large falcon made a swipe at some starlings
Northern Shrike       Again, in the Dog Meadow
Brown Creeper        One singing near the mansion
Varied Thrush          Female at Rowing Club, one heard at Mansion
Purple Finch             Some excellent looks

For the day (plus last night), 60 species.  For the year, we're up to 79 species.

== Michael

Purple Finches eating Oregon Ash seeds.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Male Ring-necked Duck in slough  Photo by Scott Ramos.

Northern Pintail flyby.  Photo by Ryan Merrill.

Enlargment of male Northern Pintail showing dark head and white neck.

Rock Pigeons form a ball to escape large falcon (lower left).  Photo by Ryan Merrill.

Male Spotted Towhee at the Compost Piles.  Photo by Ryan Merrill.

Fox Sparrow at the Compost Piles.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Fox Sparrow at the Compost Piles.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

American Tree Sparrow at the Compost Piles.  Photo by Ryan Merrill.

American Tree Sparrow at the Compost Piles.  Photo by Ryan Merrill.

Red-naped x Red Breasted Sapsucker hybrid.  Photo by Ryan Merrill.

Note the extent of black and gray on the lower nape.

Male Green-winged Teal at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Copulating Green-winged Teal at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Post-copulatory posturing.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Female Green-winged Teal at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

"Audubon's" Yellow-rumped Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Red-tailed Hawk inspecting the old nest on the Odd Snag, west of the
main entrance to Marymoor Park.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Male Common Goldeneye.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Report for January 31, 2008   

It was a dismal day at Marymoor.  Cloudy, windy, and with a few rain showers.  the birds were mostly absent.  Even the residents were scarce and quiet.  The sometimes-fabulous "Compost Piles" featured two or three Song Sparrows and that was it.

Highlights:  None really, but here are a few things of mild interest.

Just above the weir, a RIVER OTTER ran down the bank and into the water, swimming towards the weir and disappearing into the cattails.

A bit further upstream we got pretty good looks at a 1st-winter male COMMON GOLDENEYE who was still mostly gray, like a female, but was getting his white spots on his face and back.

A male RING-NECKED DUCK in the slough at Dog Central was showing his burgundy neck ring.

A VIRGINIA RAIL responded to clapping at the boardwalk.  It was distant.

Two RED-TAILED HAWKS sat side-by-side in a cottonwood east of the East Meadow.  There is a nest within sight of that location, in the cottonwood row that separates the park from the property with the self-storage business.

A flock of about 25 WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS, all appearing to be Gambelii subspecies, and being about half adults and half juveniles, was found just south of Snag Row just west of the Interpretive Lot in the dog area.  We had a couple of flocks of GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW as well.

We had some notable misses, most notably Northern Flicker.

Still, the ten of us managed 47 species.  Nothing new for the year, except the River Otter (which brings our 2008 mammal count to 3).

== Michael

A couple of shots of a Golden-crowned Sparrow (with flash above, without flash below)

Male Gadwall in the slough

White-crowned adult at edge of Interpretive Lot

Eastern Gray Squirrel roosting in a bird box at the Rowing Club


Report for February 1, 2007

Another gorgeous, cold, sunny morning.  The full moon had just set when we met at 7:30, and everyone had a chance to see it on the drive to Marymoor.  Beautiful.  The day was really nice, and moderately birdy.  There were 10 of us this morning, plus a cameo appearance from MaryFrances in her blue slippers.


Lesser Scaup              A handful in the slough; new for 2007
Horned Grebe             Quite a few well out on the lake, seen late
MERLIN                    Almost certain of ID - flew swiftly to the NE
Wilson's Snipe             A couple north of the weir
Anna's Hummingbird    2 near windmill, incl. displaying male
Hairy Woodpecker      1 just south of dog area again
Northern Shrike           Adult east of the East Meadow
Western Meadowlark  Around 4 at the model airplane field
Purple Finch                ~10 seen well just south of Dog Central

The PURPLE FINCH were great, being fairly low and *mixed* in amongst HOUSE FINCHES for comparison. Lots of stunning males.

The ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD male was doing his looping display complete with the popping noise at the bottom of the loop. He seemed to be focusing on something, perhaps a female. We later saw him zoom off after another hummer.

The lake has been difficult lately, as the sun has been shining fully in our faces.  I've been viewing from the cabana at the end of the morning to see what we missed.

= Michael

Moonset just before 7:30 a.m.

Steller's Jay


Bird Sightings Week 5
January 29-February 4



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