Friends of Marymoor Park


Bird Sightings Week 36
September 3-9*


Rarities for Week 36:

Common Nighthawk 03-Sep-15 About 6:05 am, flew past Viewing Mound
Common Nighthawk 04-Sep-14  
Common Nighthawk 09-Sep-10 About 6:40 am, over Lot D.
Flew in loops for about a minute before heading west
Sora 04-Sep-06 Reported by David White
Lesser Yellowlegs 05-Sep-02 Two birds flying north over lake platform.
Lewis's Woodpecker 05-Sep-08 Reported by John Tubbs
Olive-sided Flycatcher 07-Sep-05
California Scrub-Jay 08-Sep-22 Eating acorns near the park office
California Scrub-Jay 09-Sep-15 1-2 moving around the park
Bank Swallow 09-Sep-15 At least two from Lake Platform
Gray Catbird 05-Sep-14 John Wallace
Vesper Sparrow 03-Sep-09 Southeast corner of the Dog Meadow.
Vesper Sparrow 06-Sep-12
Yellow-breasted Chat 09-Sep-06 Reported by Ollie Oliver, and separately, by Alan Roedel

Report for September 7, 2023                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

It was as quiet as it's ever been at Marymoor.  A low overcast and heavy still air is never good for birding, but even so it was just D. E. A. D.

  • Killdeer - Suddenly, about 35 total, up from 1-2
  • Osprey - Still young on both nests, calling incessantly
  • Barn Owl - Like last week, two in the East Meadow right after 6:00 a.m.
  • Hairy Woodpecker - Several glimpses, plus one real sighting near the windmill
  • Pileated Woodpecker - One just NW of the mansion
  • Merlin - One quick flyby past 1st dog swim beach
  • Willow Flycatcher - One, SE of East Meadow
  • AMERICAN PIPIT - Matt and Lee saw one, heard more, in Dog Meadow.  First of Fall (FOF)
  • Western Tanager - Two, SE of East Meadow
The bigger highlight was a day with SIX MAMMAL SPECIES:  Eastern Gray Squirrel, DOUGLAS SQUIRREL (only our 6th sighing ever!), American Beaver, Eastern Cottontail, four River Otters on and above the weir, and three Mule Deer (Black-tailed).  

Misses were also notable:  Hooded Merganser, Vaux's Swift, Green Heron, Cooper's Hawk, Warbling Vireo, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Marsh Wren, HOUSE FINCH, Lincoln's Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird (may have seen some distantly), Orange-crowned, Yellow, and Black-throated Gray Warblers, and Black-headed Grosbeak.   My fingers are tired from typing them all.

For the day, a pathetically low count of 44 species.

= Michael Hobbs

Report for September 8, 2022                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

A much better day than last week.  Predawn was cold (49 degrees) and crystal clear.  Jupiter and Venus fought Orion for attention in the sky.  The Pleiades were visible to the naked eye.  When dawn finally arrived (sunrise was a little after 6:30 a.m.), things warmed up moderately quickly.  By 7:00 the birds were fully active and were calling and moving around.

  • COMMON TERN - small white tern well out from the Lake Platform; presumptive ID
  • Cooper's Hawk - one flew from the Pea Patch over the grass soccer fields, right near us
  • Four woodpecker day - all seen, missing only a sapsucker for the clean sweep of typical woodpeckers for the park
  • American Kestrel - one over our cars after our loop around the mansion.  Our 2nd sighting for the year, and First of Fall (FOF)
  • Merlin - two sightings
  • California Scrub-Jay - one eating acorns with Steller's Jays near the park office.  First of the year (FOY)
  • Lincoln's Sparrow - three different birds
  • Red-winged Blackbird - first in five weeks.  Does that make these (FOF)?
  • Yellow Warbler - two female/immature-type in NW part of the Dog Area
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler - three along the west edge of the Dog Meadow (FOF)
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler - two seen
  • Western Tanager - two? heard, with a couple of bad glimpses for me
There are four previous records of COMMON TERN at the park, one spring report on eBird, and three fall reports of birds seen during the survey.  Fall dates span August 6 to September 17, so today's would fall squarely within that range.  The bird was so distant, though, that we can't rule out the much less likely possibility of Forster's or Arctic (neither of which are on the park list).

Misses today included Green Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, Willow Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Bushtit, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Marsh Wren, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Black-headed Grosbeak.  Bald Eagle, Western Wood-Pewee, and Violet-green Swallow also were not seen today; they've only been seen 12 of 28 years and so I don't consider them "real" misses, but close.

Despite the long list of things we didn't see, we did have 53 species today.  Though not that many more species than last week, today had much better birding.

= Michael Hobbs

Report for September 9, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

Despite a perfect day for weather, it seemed SO quiet out there.  Except when I look at the bird list things look pretty good.  Huh???  Definitely very few neo-tropical migrants, and we were also lacking in really good looks at many of the birds.  Nothing extraordinarily rare today, but some surprises.
  • Northern Shoveler – one flyby over the East Meadow
  • Northern Pintail – flyby of two as we started the main survey
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove – One seen well.  99% sure there was a second bird too, flying further away from us
  • Mourning Dove – one with the well-seen Collared-Dove, at the Compost Piles
  • Wilson’s Snipe – Mark & Lee reported one on the grass soccer fields near Killdeer – First of Fall (FOF)
  • Caspian Tern – one flew downstream over the slough.  This is our 2nd latest Fall sighting ever
  • Pileated Woodpecker – heard several times, seen once flying distantly
  • Merlin – seen twice about 6:45, SW of the mansion
  • Pacific-slope Flycatcher – one at the SW end of the East Meadow was our only flycatcher
  • Warbling Vireo – maybe 3-4
  • Barn Swallow? – three dark swallows over the lake were probably this species.  Our only swallows
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – about 3, all near the East Meadow
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – only one
A late scan of the lake confirmed two BONAPARTE’S GULLS that had been very distantly visible earlier from the Lake Platform.  First of Year, and our earliest Fall sighting ever.  I was also able to identify most of the other gulls out there as CALIFORNIAs.  A WESTERN GREBE was FOF and a bit of a surprise – this was the 3rd earliest Fall sighting for this species.
It was great seeing a EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE flying together *with* a MOURNING DOVE.  They landed together in one of the trees north of the Compost Piles.  Matt had a flyby BAND-TAILED PIGEON, and we later had a ROCK PIGEON near Hwy 520, for a four species day of the Columbidae family.
Misses today included Hooded Merganser, Vaux’s Swift, Green Heron, Willow Flycatcher, Bushtit, Yellow Warbler, Western Tanager, and Black-headed Grosbeak.  We also had no Western Wood-Pewee nor Violet-green Swallow but those species don’t make the cut for being called “misses”, narrowly shy of the cuttoff of 50% of previous surveys during Week 36, but their absence added to the feeling that there were very few neo-tropical migrants.
For the day, 62 species in total, though there were many species seen/heard by only a small number of participants.
= Michael Hobbs

Eurasian Collared-Dove with Mourning Dove behind.  Photo by Neil Pankey

Swainson's Thrush. Photo by Neil Pankey

Black-capped Chickadee with partial leucism.  Photo by Neil Pankey

Song Sparrow. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for August 5, 2020                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

An absolutely glorious day, weatherwise.  Sunny, windless, temps rising from 53-73.  Rather a quiet day for birding, though, with many of our summer birds gone, and only a couple of species to fill in the gaps.
  • Ring-necked Duck – concluded two dark birds at the lake were juveniles of this species, based on head shape, facial coloration, and bill size – Early First of Fall
  • Common Merganser – one in the slough
  • MOURNING DOVE – quick flyby look – First for 2020 for us.  Lillian photographed one earlier this week at the park
  • RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD – one at the Rowing Club – our second latest fall sighting.  Only 3 sightings ever after the Week 34
  • Virginia Rail – one responded to clapping from the far side of the slough
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – two sightings (one that gave great view).  Same bird???
  • Barn Swallow – three; our only swallows
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – One in Pea Patch – right on time for our First of Fall.  Also had one at the Redmond Retention Ponds on my way home
  • Yellow Warbler – one from the lake edge
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – one along west edge of Dog Meadow
Misses today included Hooded Merganser, Vaux’s Swift, Cooper’s Hawk, Willow Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Red-winged Blackbird, and Orange-crowned Warbler.  We would have missed Bald Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk, only I saw one of each as I left the park.
For the day, 55 species.
= Michael Hobbs

Report for September 6, 2019                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

Yesterday morning started dark, foggy, and almost cold (50 degrees), and it felt like fall for a while.  But the sun quickly warmed things up for us.  The day was surprising for not being surprising.  This week is the first of a three-week stretch where just about any species can show up, and in past years we’ve had some shocking surprises.  Not today.  Not a long bird list, and our most unexpected bird was a EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, just our 2nd sighting of the year.
Other highlights:
  • Vaux’s Swift – Twenty or so; definitely migrants
  • Wilson’s Snipe – First of Fall; Matt heard one/some early, and later one nicely landed in tall grass near us
  • – Five Woodpecker Day – but just the usual five
  • Swainson’s Thrush – Notably, we were able to SEE at least 5 different birds
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – several seen
  • – Four warbler day – many very drab YELLOW WARBLERS amongst them
We had long looks at an AMERICAN BEAVER in the Rowing Club pond.
Misses for the day included Hooded Merganser, Rock Pigeon, American Coot, Cooper’s Hawk, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Bushtit, Marsh Wren, European Starling, and Black-headed Grosbeak.
For the day, just 52 species.
= Michael Hobbs

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 September 7, 2017                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

It was smoky and quiet at Marymoor this morning, though we saw quite a few more species than last week. I don’t think the smoke is what keeps the bird count low, I think it’s the drought. We’ve had only traces of rain in months and months, and there are trees dead from drought, and leaves brown and curled all over. I think the insect population is far lower than normal, and of course there are no puddles. I’d pay good money for three days of steady rain!


  • Gadwall – a pair in the slough (maybe 2 pair) – first since June
  • Common Merganser – one flew up the slough below the weir
  • WESTERN GREBE – two on lake – early for fall, and first since April
  • American Coot – at least 2 at lake – first since April
  • Cooper’s Hawk – small adult seen twice
  • Western Screech-Owl – Matt heard one early along west leg of boardwalk
  • - All 5 Woodpeckers – Only confirmed one Pileated, but heard often – maybe multiple
  • Empidonax sp. – probably Willow – one bird in Dog Meadow
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – at least 3
  • Common Yellowthroat – ubiquitous
  • Black-throated Gray – two
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – two drab “Audubon’s”

The smoke was so thick, there was no moonset, nor sunrise. At maybe 8 a.m., we could look at the sun with our binoculars, unshielded, and observe the sunspots!!!

For the day, counting the empid and gull spp., we had 50 species – a decent improvement over last week’s 38. Still, it’s low for this time of year.

Misses included Hooded Merganser, Vaux’s Swift, Glaucous-winged Gull, Bald Eagle (off on summer break), Warbling Vireo, Bushtit (prob. heard some but couldn’t confirm), Brown Creeper, Yellow Warbler, and Western Tanager. Still waiting on our first fall Lincoln’s Sparrow, which are often back this week as well.

== Michael Hobbs

Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Adult Great Blue Heron at the weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Adult White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Our sun, Sol, through the smoke, showing sunspots.  No filter needed.
Photo by Hugh Jennings

The sun's reflection on the Rowing Club pond.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Golden-crowned Kinglet.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Golden-crowned Kinglet.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Our sun, Sol, through the smoke, showing sunspots.  No filter needed.
Photo by Hugh Jennings

The sun's reflection on the Rowing Club pond.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for September 8, 2016                                                                                                                  Birding at Marymoor

We had a bit of drizzle around 9, and lighting conditions were poor for much of the morning, but it really wasn’t too bad. No chill, no wind, and a lot of birds. The birds were distinctly “clumpy”, though, with long stretches of not much, and then large active mixed flocks. This time of year, a lot of things can show up. They did today, though we had nothing really unusual.


Mourning Dove                 2 sightings, including lake flyby chased by 2 hummers
Barn Owl                          3-4 birds, active late past dawn
Western Screech-Owl       Matt had one early near start of boardwalk
Merlin                               Barn Swallows alerted us to a flyby
Peregrine Falcon               1 soaring as I drove through the park after the walk
Pacific-slope Flycatcher     Two near start of boardwalk
Purple Martin                    Still a couple around. Only our 5th Sept. sighting
Violet-green Swallow         Maybe 5 still around
Barn Swallow                    120+
Orange-crowned Warbler  Maybe 10
Common Yellowthroat       At least a dozen: adult juvenile male female
Yellow Warbler                 No more than a couple
Black-thr. Gray Warbler    Half dozen
Wilson’s Warbler              Only 1, I believe
Savannah Sparrow            At least 20
Lincoln’s Sparrow             At least 4
Golden-crowned Sparrow 1 from Viewing Mound early. First of Fall
Western Tanager               2
Pine Siskin                         2

The BARN OWLS again put on an amazing show between 6:15 and 6:50, when we left them to go start the walk. 2-3 birds in the East Meadow and south of the model airplane field, in pretty much full daylight. One was chased by a Cooper’s Hawk again. If you want to see Barn Owls, I’d recommend the Viewing Mound tomorrow or Saturday morning, and plan to arrive before 6:30. They have been particularly active in the mornings in the last week.

Notable misses were few today: Band-tailed Pigeon, Western Wood-Pewee (often still here this late, but maybe done for this year), Bushtit, European Starling, and Black-headed Grosbeak.

Despite those misses, and despite not having anything truly rare, we ended up with 68 species!

== Michael Hobbs

Western Tanager.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Willow Flycatcher.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Green Heron. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Photo by Bob Asanoma

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Sharp-shinned Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Gadwall.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Green-winged Teal.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Barn Owl, 2016-09-07.  Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Barn Owl, 2016-09-07.  Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Barn Owl, 2016-09-07.  Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Barn Owl, 2016-09-07.  Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Northern Harrier, 2016-09-07.  Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Northern Harrier, 2016-09-07.  Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Anna's Hummingbird, 2016-09-05.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Barn Owl, 2016-09-02.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Barn Owl, 2016-09-02.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Barn Owl, 2016-09-02.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for September 3, 2015                                                                                              Birding at Marymoor

Overcast, cool, some sun, some breeze, no rain. Pretty quiet overall, with sporadic excitement. Actual looks at birds were pretty rare; getting a recognizable glimpse often made you feel you were doing better than most others. Lot’s of “Well, it’s on that back branch and... it dropped,” with a response of “Well, at least I saw the motion.”


Green Heron                          1-2, Couple of good looks
Mourning Dove                      1 at Viewing Mound
COMMON NIGHTHAWK  1 at Viewing Mound, 6:05 a.m
American Kestrel                    Flew past heronry – first of 2015
Western Wood-Pewee           1 near heronry
Willow Flycatcher                   1 near heronry
Pacific-slope Flycatcher          1 SW of mansion
Violet-green Swallow              5+, after 3 week absence
Hermit Thrush                         1 seen by a couple of people, SW of mansion
Orange-crowned Warbler       2
Yellow Warbler                      2 adult males
Black-throated Gray Warbler 1-2 near heronry
Wilson’s Warbler                    1 near heronry
Western Tanager                     1 seen near windmill, 2+ more heard
Black-headed Grosbeak          1 barely seen, 2+ more heard

This is early for HERMIT THRUSH.

As you can see, a lot of 1’s and 2’s for counts on the list. It was an okay day for species total, but not very good for counts. For the day, 58 species. COMMON NIGHTHAWK and AMERICAN KESTREL were new for the year; I believe that takes the year list to 144 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Bill color is sometimes the best clue to gender for Mallards.  Females have orange bills, males have greenish-yellow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Adult Pied-billed Grebe.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Kestrel.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Wilson's Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Black-throated Gray Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Killdeer.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Anna's Hummingbird.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Chestnut-backed Chickadee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Moth.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for September 4, 2014                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

It was a really pretty day this morning, despite some early morning ground fog. Sunny and cool slowly became sunny and warm. And it was really birdy, right from the start, and continuing pretty much all day. We’re almost completely done with breeding season, and are clearly in the midst of migration. There’s a lot of change-over right now in the species present, though for the most part we saw some of everything today.


American Wigeon                          First of fall, earliest definite fall record
Northern Shoveler                         Three flew north just at 6:30 a.m. – FOF
Green-winged Teal                        Female at Rowing Club – FOF
Virginia Rail                                   Was just walking around near Lake Platform
Spotted Sandpiper                        At least 2; great view of 1 at weir
COMMON NIGHTHAWK         Low over East Meadow at dawn
Pacific-slope Flycatcher                West edge of Dog Meadow
American Pipit                              10, parking field near NE ballfields
Lincoln’s Sparrow                         One – FOF
RED CROSSBILL                       Heard flock over S end of Dog Meadow
Evening Grosbeak                         Several flyby heard-only (Matt saw 1)

We had seven species of ducks, four species of woodpecker, and four+ species of warbler today.

The COMMON NIGHTHAWK was just our eighth record for the park (and personally, only my second sighting). Five of those records are now from the first three weeks in September.

We also had a MYSTERY WARBLER along the slough just SW of the mansion. It had a fairly bright yellowish wash over the face and breast. The bill was dark. The face was plain, with no facial stripes as on a Townsend’s Warbler (even a juvenile female), and there may have been a hint of an eye line splitting a hint of an eye ring. In pattern, the face was therefore something like an Orange-crowned Warbler. The wings were slaty with pale feather edgings and two clear white wing bars. The breast was yellow, and there were dingy, blurry streaks down the front side (not black, nor even gray, just less bright, in a fashion similar to those on an Orange-crowned, or on a female Yellow Warbler). The belly and undertail coverts were white, while the tail was dark. We were trying to determine if it might be a BLACKPOLL or even a PINE WARBLER when it disappeared.

While we did have SPOTTED SANDPIPER, PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER, WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, WARBLING VIREO, and BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK today, those are quite possibly the last sightings we’ll have of those species in 2014.

We really didn’t have any misses today; the species we didn’t record today that has the greatest number of previous sightings for Week 36 is American Coot (10 times previously). That said, there were several species are notably not on the list. Bald Eagles appear to be off on their annual late-August/early-September vacation. And we’ve probably seen the last of Rufous Hummingbird, Purple Martin, Tree Swallow, Cliff Swallow, and Brown-headed Cowbird for the year. We also appear to have missed Red-eyed Vireo completely for 2014 (and we had only 2 sightings last year).

For the day, 66 species. Wow.

== Michael Hobbs

Spotted Sandpiper.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Common Yellowthroat.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Yellow Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Western Wood-Pewee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Black-throated Gray Warbler.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Song Sparrow in Red Elderberry.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Purple Finch in European Hawthorn.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Spotted Towhee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Black-throated Gray Warblers.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Northern Flicker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hairy Woodpecker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Pipit.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

American Pipit.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Wigeon, Mallard, and Hooded Merganser.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female American Wigeon and male Mallard.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for September 5, 2013                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

The weather reports people looked at didn’t match our morning very well at all. The late-arriving rains never materialized, possibly because they came through with a vengeance earlier. We had a very remarkable and long-lasting thunder and lightning show starting pre-dawn and extending for at least a couple of hours into our walk – there’s only one other time we’ve had thunder and lightning during one of my Marymoor surveys, and that was back on 2008-07-03. We also got drenched with a downpour at around 7:00 a.m., but the rest of the morning featured intermittent drizzle which only rarely ventured towards light rain, with frequent let-ups. And by mid-morning (clock time), it was almost sunny. As for birds, we had pretty good bird diversity, but were rather lacking in great views for many of the species, and we didn’t have anything too rare.


Northern Shoveler              Small flyby flock; another flock might have had pintails
Common Merganser           5 swam down the slough towards the weir
Green Heron                      Juvenile with a downy head at the Rowing Club
Cooper’s Hawk                 Several views of a juvenile
Virginia Rail                        Responded from across the slough
Spotted Sandpiper             One flew downslough past RC dock
Wilson’s Snipe                   Heard by Matt, predawn. First of Fall
Band-tailed Pigeon             One
Eurasian Collared-Dove     One
Barn Owl                           One, north end of East Meadow, just before 6 a.m.
American Kestrel               One seen a couple of times during the first hour
Merlin                                One seen flying towards lake
Hammond’s Flycatcher?     Bright empid that was probably Hammond’s
Pacific-slope Flycatcher     At least 2 seen
Lincoln’s Sparrow              3, First of Fall
Black-headed Grosbeak     2 juveniles
Evening Grosbeak              Heard

For the first time since the beginning of March, we had NO SWALLOWS. We also missed Bushtit, Marsh Wren (though twice I *thought* I heard them), Black-throated Gray Warbler, and Western Tanager. I made a late swing past the lake and picked up our only BALD EAGLE and CALIFORNIA GULL, as well as our only visual for EVENING GROSBEAK.

For the day, we managed 60 species, but nothing was new for the year.

== Michael Hobbs

Five Common Mergansers in the slough.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Purple Finch keeping an eye on a juvenile Cooper's Hawk.
Photo by Ollie Oliver

Savannah Sparrow (left) and juvenile White-crowned Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow (bottom) with another White-crowned.
 Both images from a single photo by Ollie Oliver.
Three species of sparrow simultaneously in one small tree!

Willow Flycatcher.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Steller's Jay.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Green Heron at the Rowing Club pond.  Two photos by Ollie Oliver

Note the down still sticking out of the crown, and the buff edges to the wing feathers.

Belted Kingfisher.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

River Otter near the Rowing Club dock.  Photo by Ollie Oliver
Lincoln's Sparrow, 2013-09-01.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for September 6, 2012                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

A gorgeous pre-dawn with Venus, Jupiter, the moon, and Barn Owls, marred only by a bit of fog; and a cool but sunny morning that warmed nicely if slowly. Speaking of slow, the birding was quite slow, but we had a couple of excellent sightings.

A bit before 6:00, Bruce and I had a BARN OWL fly moderately high over our heads. Given the lateness of the time, I figured that was probably our owl sighting for the day, but we joined Matt and headed to the new viewing mound near the Meadow Kiosk to enjoy the sunrise.

A bit after 6:00, a BARN OWL flew in from the Dog Meadow, just before Maria and Victor arrived there. I had to tell them that they'd just missed the
owl, and that it was already so bright out (no stars, colors clearly visible) that owls were probably done for the morning. NOT SO. The owl then made about 4 more passes below us, flying from the Dog Area half-way to the airplane field and back. Great looks at a hunting owl. Last look was after 6:15. The viewing mound looks to be an excellent spot to watch for Barn Owls pre-dawn.

MUCH LATER, when we came out into the East Meadow mid-morning, we found a BARN OWL perched in a tree on the west side of the path! So an excellent day for Barn Owl sightings.

Other highlights:

Northern Shoveler                  \  Two small flocks overhead - about 8 birds
Northern Pintail                      /    total, at least 1 Shoveler, rest Pintails?
Band-tailed                               Pigeon Several sightings today
Red.- breasted Sapsucker         One landed near windmill
Warbling Vireo                          I think we saw a total of about 4
Steller's Jay                               15+
Orange-crowned Warbler         Maybe 4-5
Yellow-rumped Warbler           One glimpsed
Black-throated Gray Warbler    Great looks, NW part of Dog Area
VESPER SPARROW               Pale but well marked bird, Compost Piles
Lincoln's Sparrow                     1-2, near viewing mound
Western Tanager                       2 in trees in East Meadow
Black-headed Grosbeak           1 seen, another heard
Pine Siskin                                1+ near mansion
Evening Grosbeak                     Some flybys, 3 perched near windmill

Only a couple of flycatchers were seen - One Western Wood-Pewee, and maybe a Willow Flycatcher. No swifts, and our only confirmed swallows were Barn.

Misses that seemed a bit surprising: Pied-billed Grebe, Rock Pigeon, and Yellow Warbler

== Michael Hobbs

Early morning ground fog over the East Meadow

Willow Flycatcher.  Photo by Josh Adams

Black-throated Gray Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Black-throated Gray Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Barn Owl.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Barn Owl.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Lincoln's Sparrow in Common Tansy.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Vesper Sparrow at Compost Piles

Hooded Mergansers at the Rowing Club.
Central bird, with yellow eye and all-dark bill would be an adult male in eclipse,
while the rear bird with dark eye and orange on the bill would be a juvenile.  I think.

Juvenile Green Heron at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-eared Slider

Ollie Oliver went back in the evening and got this photo of the Vesper Sparrow

Swainson's Thrush with Song Sparrow, 2012-09-01.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Swainson's Thrush, 2012-09-01.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Willow Flycatcher, 2012-09-01.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Male Wilson's Warbler, 2012-09-01.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Almost-mature male Variegated Meadowhawk, 2012-09-01.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Male Paddle-tailed Darner, 2012-09-01.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for September 8, 2011                                                                                                                           Birding at Marymoor

Another nice day for a walk at Marymoor - clear skies, except for the weird clouds and the thunder(!) and a dozen or so raindrops. But we were mostly in the sun, not too hot, not too cold, not too windy. Unfortunately, we didn't have much birding excitement. It was pretty quiet, though we worked hard to find a few things of interest.


Canada Goose                               Flock sizes increasing, 80+
Wood Duck                                  8 on a log with 1 Mallard in slough
Sharp-shinned Hawk                     1 adult
Cooper's Hawk                             Juvenile
Band-tailed Pigeon                         Few sightings recently, but saw several today
Vaux's Swift                                  Just 1 seen, from Compost Piles
Pileated Woodpecker                    1 on a snag far to the west
Western Wood-Pewee                 Only 1, south of mansion
Willow Flycatcher                         Only 2, west edge of Dog Meadow
Warbling Vireo                              A couple, 1 singing
Yellow Warbler                            Only 1
Black-throated Gray Warbler        3 or so
Common Yellowthroat                  Still abundant and widespread
Lincoln's Sparrow                         2 south of Pea Patch
WESTERN TANAGER               First of fall, 1
RED CROSSBILL                       Heard only, 6:45 a.m., near mansion
Evening Grosbeak                        Heard only, east of East Meadow, flying

For the day, 56 species. A bit disappointing, but birding can be very hit-or-miss at this time of year.

== Michael Hobbs

Common Yellowthroat.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Adult White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Crow finds lunch.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

...and feeds the baby too.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Baby Garter Snake.  Photo by Hugh Jennings  

Muskrat at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Sharp-shinned Hawk, 2011-09-02.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Sharp-shinned Hawk, 2011-09-02.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for September 9, 2010

Heavy overcast for most of the morning made it rather dark for seeing birds sometimes.  Throw in some wind, many trucks driving through the Dog Area dumping hogs fuel for the paths, and construction closing the Rowing Club, and you might the we'd have had a mediocre day at the park. NOT SO.

We had birds in clusters.  Much of the time they were very active, which made seeing sometimes difficult.  But it was clear that fall is in full swing, with many migrants, returning wintering birds, and great mixed flocks the way you get in the fall.

Our best mixed flock came just before, and at, the east footbridge, south of the East Meadow.  In about 100 feet of path, we had at least 29 species of bird, including 2 species of flycatcher, 5 species of warbler, 5 species of sparrow, plus WARBLING VIREO, SWAINSON'S THRUSH, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, and WESTERN TANAGER, as well as many more.  Things quieted there after a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK and an AMERICAN KESTREL went past.

It reminded me very much of a day back in the early years of my Marymoor walk.  Here's a quote from my Tweeters report that day:

"Quiet day until I got near the east footbridge where, in a 30 yard stretch of path, I encountered heaps of birds.  I spent around 15 minutes walking that very short distance, and saw approximately 240 individual birds comprising 18 species!"

The date of that trip?   September 12, 1996.  Deja vu.

Highlights from today:

Seven raptor day: OSPREY, BALD EAGLE (often not seen this time of year), NORTHERN HARRIER juvenile over boardwalk and lake platform, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (at least 2), COOPER'S HAWK juvenile, RED-TAILED HAWK, and AMERICAN KESTREL.

Killdeer                                    37 counted in NE corner fields
Barn Owl                                 Scott had at least 2, calling, predawn
COMMON NIGHTHAWK    1 over Lot D, about 6:40 a.m.
Western Wood-Pewee             1 or 2
Willow Flycatcher                    3 or 4
Pacific-slope Flycatcher           1 or 2
Warbling Vireo                        3+
Orange-crowned Warbler        At least 10, some gray-headed
Yellow Warbler                       Close to 10, some VERY drab
Yellow-rumped Warbler          5+
Black-throated Gray Warbler  3+
MacGillivray's Warbler            3
Common Yellowthroat             Many
Wilson's Warbler                     5+
Western Tanager                      1
Lincoln's Sparrow                    4+, scattered
Golden-crowned Sparrow        3

The COMMON NIGHTHAWK was my first, personally, for the park. Nighthawks have been reported 4 times previously, all between the 17th and the 20th of  September, all between 2004 and 2007.

Afterwards, I went to the lake viewpoint, since we'd had a few birds too far to see from the lake platform.  There were WOOD DUCKS near the northeast part of the park.  But out in the north end of the lake were PIED-BILLED (5+), HORNED (2), RED-NECKED (1), and WESTERN (1) GREBES, all of which would have been visible and identifiable with a scope from the lake platform. (We'd actually seen the PBGR and WEGR on the regular walk).

Two COYOTES were howling at each other before 6:00, according to Scott and  Brian.  And Brian found a PACIFIC TREEFROG hopping on the ground near the mansion.

For the day, 69 species!  The Horned and Red-necked Grebe, and the Common Nighthawk were new birds for the park year list.

It was a great day.

== Michael

Steller's Jay.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Kestrel.  Photo by Ollie Oliver
Northern Flicker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Very colorful Sharp-shinned Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Pacific Treefrog under the firs near the mansion

New Barn Owl nest box, courtesy of Eastside Audubon and King County Parks.
It's located near the mansion, just west of the old next box site.

Lincoln's Sparrow.  Photo by Lillian Reis

American Goldfinch.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for September 3, 2009

Michael is in the Czech Republic, so Matt and I substituted for him at Marymoor. We were joined by 6 others on a morning that was initially slightly rainy but surprisingly warm (69F to start). Gradually the rain turned to mist and then to sun breaks. Kept threatening more rain. It was unusual in that it was cooler at the end (66F) that at the start.
The birds were around, but we had to work for them as they were really quite silent - hardly any calls and only one or two songs. In spite of that we wound up with a pretty good day. The best bird of the day was a Vesper Sparrow in the southeast corner of the dog meadow (near the north entrance to the interpretive trail).
Of note:
Vesper Sparrow
Canada Goose - three flocks, starting to return
Barn Owl - over the east meadow early
Killdeer - 20 (first big group)
Swainson's Thrush - 2
Orange-crowned Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Merganser - 7 immatures at rowing club pond
Green Heron - adult and immatures at rowing club pond
51 species for the day.
Brian H. Bell
Woodinville WA

Willow Flycatcher

Western Wood-Pewee

Male Downy Woodpecker

Female Wood Ducks

Great Blue Heron

Adult Bald Eagle

Report for September 4, 2008

A dozen people joined me for a really fabulous day at Marymoor today. The weather was perfect and the birds were plentiful. We didn't score any great rarities, but there was plenty to see.  This felt like the end of summer.  I expect there will be a shift in species starting next week.  We still had only breeding birds and migrants; no wintering birds yet, though they should start showing up any day now.

Summer birds were still in evidence, with Osprey, Vaux's Swift, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Purple Martin, Violet-green Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Swainson's Thrush, Common Yellowthroat, and Black-headed Grosbeak all still present.  Of the breeding birds of Marymoor, the only ones that seem to have left already are Rufous Hummingbird, Tree Swallow, and Brown-headed Cowbird.

With some - Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Yellow Warbler - the breeders may have left, but migrating birds from further north are still passing through.  This was pretty clearly the case with the Warbling Vireos, where we had a flock of about 10 at the south end of the Dog Meadow.  Swainson's Thrushes might also have been migrants - they were found in clusters.

There were also a few birds we only get in migration:  Black-throated Gray Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Western Tanager.

Other highlights:

Bald Eagle                 Matt heard some early - rare this time of year
VIRGINIA RAIL      One seen, heard more, near the weir
Barn Owl                   Scott had one at some ungodly early hour
Hairy Woodpecker    One seen well
Purple Martin            One over the mansion
Evening Grosbeak     Heard many times, glimpsed once by some

There was one warbler, on the far side of the river, that had us thinking TENNESSEE WARBLER ??? - but the distance was too great and the viewing too short.  It seemed really pale on the undertail coverts, the tail seemed short, and the bird seemed overall to be a different shape than the fairly common Orange-crowned Warblers.  The color was much less yellowy than any OCWAs we saw.

The family of RIVER OTTERS was once again seen in the weir.

For the day, 58 species.

== Michael

Red-tailed Hawk in Snag Row at dawn


Western Tanager

Barn Swallows on a sand pile, with a lone Cliff Swallow at the far left.
Note the buffy rump on the Cliff Swallow

Ollie Oliver's photo of a Warbling Vireo

Ollie Oliver's photo of a Red-eyed Vireo

Ollie Oliver's photo of a male Black-throated Gray Warbler

Ollie Oliver's photo of a Hooded Merganser at the Rowing Club

Report for September 6, 2007

Nine of us had an interesting day at Marymoor today.  At times, the birding was excruciatingly slow, but there were also several diverse flocks of birds and several surprises.   The cloudy weather slowly broke towards sunshine.


Common Merganser               Flock of 16 flew down up the slough early
Cooper's Hawk                      At least 2 different birds, several sightings
Bald Eagle                              Adult at lake - first ever for Week 36
GREATER YELLOWLEGS  One calling flyover at the lake platform
Western Tanager                    One near the windmill

We had several flycatcher sightings of three species, including (near the start of the boardwalk) WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, WILLOW FLYCATCHER, and
PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER all in the same willow.  We had 2-4 each of WEWP, WIFL, and PSFL all told.

There was clearly a warbler migration pulse, with at least 5 ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, 2 BLACK-THROATED GRAYS, single WILSON'S and YELLOW-RUMPED, as well as numerous female/immature COMMON YELLOWTHROATS.

We also had a five finch day, with many PURPLE FINCH, a flyover of about a half-dozen EVENING GROSBEAKS, and a single PINE SISKIN to go along with the
ubiquitous AMERICAN GOLDFINCH and the large flock of HOUSE FINCH that stayed mostly at the Compost Piles.

Northeast of the mansion, we had a nice mixed flock comprising one male DOWNY WOODPECKER, at least three BROWN CREEPER, several DARK-EYED JUNCOS, both species of CHICKADEE, at least one GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET, and several active RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH.  Though these are pretty common birds, it was fun watching so many of them forage so actively together.

For the morning, 55 species.

== Michael

Orange-crowned Warbler

Steller's Jay

Cooper's Hawk

Non-native Slug


Bird Sightings Week 36
September 3-9*      *adjust by 1 day in leap years



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