Friends of Marymoor Park


Bird Sightings Week 38
September 17-23*


Rarities for Week 38:

Common Poorwill 23-Sep-10 Brian Bell found one recently run-over (still warm) in Lot B
Long-billed Dowitcher 21-Sep-17 Four in flight, with possible Pectoral Sandpipers
Lesser Yellowlegs 19-Sep-96 On the weir
Red-necked Phalarope 20-Sep-18 One, from Lake Platform
Jaeger sp. 18-Sep-08 One flew right over Lot C.  Either Parasitic or Long-tailed
Parasitic Jaeger 18-Sep-14 Three flew past Lake Platform
Common Tern 17-Sep-15 Two down towards Idylwood Park
Swainson's Hawk 18-Sep-08 Reported by Houston and Austin Flores
House Wren 23-Sep-21 East Meadow
Northern Mockingbird 21-Sep-06 Reported by MaryFrances Mathis

...Northern Mockingbird

22-Sep-06 East Meadow blackberries
Lapland Longspur 16-Sep-04 Four birds; photographed by Ollie Oliver

...Lapland Longspur

17-Sep-04 Four birds. Reported by MaryFrances,
Ollie Oliver, & Houston Flores
Lapland Longspur 17-Sep-05 2-3 birds

...Lapland Longspur

18-Sep-05 Reported by Matt Bartels - two birds

...Lapland Longspur

21-Sep-05 NE corner of Dog Meadow - four birds
Lapland Longspur 21-Sep-17 At least 3 in meadows
Vesper Sparrow 17-Sep-05 Northeast corner of the Dog Meadow.

...Vesper Sparrow

18-Sep-05 Reported by Matt Bartels

Report for September 21, 2023                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

Our fall equinox walk, in honor of Brian Bell, was even foggier than last week.  It was almost torture walking the loop, hearing tiny untraceable calls from birds and seeing very little.  We weren't even very successful at birding by ear.  And when birds actually *were* seen, it was often by only one or two people.  The fog didn't lift until we were almost all the way around to the East Meadow.  Birding got quite a bit better after that.

  • CACKLING GOOSE - First of Fall (FOF), one in a flock of Canadas on the grass fields.  On the early side
  • Vaux's Swift - Still one; should be gone soon
  • Wilson's Snipe - One or two flying the East Meadow during the main walk (not pre-dawn)
  • Osprey - Still one young bird on one of the nests!
  • Cooper's Hawk - Two or more birds, several sightings, including a juvenile doing stupid juvenile things (Mallard and Kingfisher are prey, right???)
  • Merlin - One around the mansion
  • Peregrine Falcon - One flew past the west end of the Pea Patch.  First of Year (FOY)
  • Willow Flycatcher - One in the willows between the 1st and 2nd Dog Beaches.  Only 3 later fall sightings ever
  • Swainson's Thrush - One seen, a few more heard pre-dawn, but they should be replaced by Hermit Thrush soon
  • CHIPPING SPARROW - Juvenile in Pea Patch, identified in the field as Brewer's, but photos showed a rather plain-faced Chipping, still showing a lot of juvenal plumage (FOF)
  • Golden-crowned Sparrow - Several spread around, (FOF)
  • Savannah Sparrow - All over the trails in the Dog Area, as if they couldn't find the East Meadow in the fog
  • Orange-crowned Warbler - Near East Footbridge - one of the first birds we saw when the fog lifted
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler - A half-dozen at the Rowing Club (FOF)
  • Townsend's Warbler - Carl saw one near the first Dog Beach
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler - Scott Ramos saw one at the Rowing Club, with the Yellow-rumps
  • Western Tanager - One or two at the Rowing Club
Mason had a BLACK BEAR on the Interpretive Trail pre-dawn!  Only the 3rd record I know of for the park!    But one of the other two sightings was from September 30, 2015, so only a week later.  Fall movement of bears???

Misses today included Hooded Merganser, American Coot, Green Heron, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Barn Swallow (did have Swallow sp., but Mason felt they didn't look like Barns), Bushtit, Brown Creeper, Marsh Wren, European Starling, and Fox Sparrow

Despite the very long list of misses, we still managed 51 species (though that includes gull sp. and swallow sp.)

We had a very nice gathering in honor of Brian after the survey.  We will miss him!

= Michael Hobbs

Juvenile Chipping Sparrow. Photo by Jordan Roderick

Report for September 22, 2022                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

Today for the weekly Marymoor walk Brian Bell & I were subbing for Michael. This time of year, the day can be all over the place ? early winter bird arrivals, lingering summer birds, both of them, or nothing. You never really know. Well today started off looking like the day would be a strong one, but before long things calmed down and we ended up with a pretty quiet day. A decent breeze throughout might have made a difference, but overall it was still a fun day with several birds.

  • Cackling Goose - one came in with a small flock of Canada?s - some of the group heard the distinct call first among the other birds, and it was great to have the visual confirmation of this FOF [First of Fall]
  • Vaux's Swift - about a dozen flew by - getting late
  • Green Heron - 2 flybys by presumably the same bird -Northern Harrier - one over the East Meadow just before the official start
  • American Kestrel - one over the soccer fields, another unusual Marymoor bird
  • Barn Swallow - about 10 from the lake viewing platform were our only swallows for the day
  • Swainson's Thrush - still several around ?whit-ing? pre-dawn, maybe 10ish?
  • American Pipit - several flew over before start - part of that early sign of a birdy day - we never heard or saw them again, alas
  • Fox Sparrow - once again present for the walk, but heard only in the bushes
  • Golden-crowned Sparrows - a handful around for another FOF
  • Orange-crowned Warbler - two at the rowing club
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler - a handful below the weir, still not moving through in large numbers
Biggest miss was Great Blue Heron. Also missed Ring-necked Pheasant, owls, European Starling, Cedar Waxwing.

For the day 56 species

Matt Bartels

Report for September 23, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

A very pretty day at Marymoor, though we did have periods of overcast.  Pretty warm too.  Again this week there were so many birders that Jordan led some the “wrong” way around the loop.  The change-over from summer birds to winter birds is in full force right now, unsurprisingly.  It’s amazing how tightly this is tied to the fall equinox.  Many First of Fall (FOF) birds.  Our biggest surprise was a HOUSE WREN at the south end of the East Meadow.  If you recall, we had one for 5 weeks in May/June this spring so this wasn’t even a Year Bird, but this is only the 4th record for the park.
  • Cackling Goose – flyby flock from Lake Platform, a few on grass soccer fields (FOF)
  • Green-winged Teal – female in slough well below the weir (FOF)
  • Ring-necked Duck ??? – tight flying flock of what looked to be dark-headed diving ducks without obvious white on the wings
  • Western Grebe – one on the lake
  • Vaux’s Swift – seen several times – maybe 5 total
  • Virginia Rail – one seen across the slough just north of the boardwalk was very accommodating.  Earlier heard one well below the weir
  • Wilson’s Snipe – two sat, giving us great looks, below the weir
  • Great Horned Owl – one or two heard predawn just south of the Dog Meadow
  • - All 5 usual woodpeckers seen -
  • Merlin – a couple of sightings; 3rd week in a row
  • VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW – large flocks overhead most of the morning – 200+
  • Barn Swallow – maybe 5
  • HOUSE WREN – active in south end of the East Meadow (FOF) Smile 
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – one near the big grove of Oregon Ash, half way down the west edge of the East Meadow (FOF)
  • Swainson’s Thrush – only 1-2 heard predawn
  • Fox Sparrow – seen by all today
  • Western Meadowlark – one north of Fields 7-8-9 in an apple tree with yellow apples – good camouflage
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – one popped up atop weeds at the Compost Piles
  • Common Yellowthroat – only 3-5
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – over a dozen, scattered (FOF)
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – 2-3 most/all without black throats, Dog Meadow
Misses included Hooded Merganser, American Coot, Green Heron, Osprey, Northern Harrier, Bushtit, American Pipit, and Lincoln’s Sparrow.
No Band-tailed Pigeon, flycatchers, Warbling Vireo, Yellow Warbler, or Western Tanager – these may all be done for the year.
For the day, 62 species, counting the diving ducks sp.
= Michael Hobbs

Belted Kingfisher.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Common Merganser. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Virginia Rail.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Virginia Rail.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for September 17, 2020                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

We had a very interesting day.  We had a layer of fog under the smoke, which made the light dim and visibility sometimes difficult.   The birds were in clumps, and we’d walk long stretches of quiet and then we’d come across a mixed flock of 5+ species.  This happened many times.  Migration seems to have stalled – we had many more lingering “summer” birds than we had returning “fall” birds, though I’m sure all of the lingering birds were pausing at Marymoor on their migration from further north.
  • Hooded Merganser – male at Rowing Club.  First since early July, though they usually breed in or near the park
  • Mourning Dove – one literally at the Viewing Mound.  Third week of sightings of a single bird; probably the same one
  • Vaux’s Swift – two or three seen from near the East Meadow.  First in 5 weeks.  We don’t usually see them after this week
  • American Coot – at least 13; our first group of the fall, following our summer of one bird
  • CASPIAN TERN – two; latest sighting ever, only our second September sighting, and more than 10 days later than the previous late record
  • Osprey – still at least two.  Will be leaving soon
  • Western Screech-Owl – one mocked us pre-dawn, calling from very near the boardwalk but never seen
  • Hairy Woodpecker – one on far side of slough west of Big Cottonwood Forest
  • Pileated Woodpecker – ditto
  • Western Wood-Pewee – one south of the East Meadow.  Only 4 later sightings ever
  • Willow Flycatcher – at least two.  Only 8 later sightings
  • Warbling Vireo – four or five.  Only 4 later sightings
  • Barn Swallow – several still around. These get rare after the first week in October
  • Swainson’s Thrush – maybe three, all heard pre-dawn
  • Golden-crowned Sparrow – Two or more, East Meadow and south, First of Fall (FOF)
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – Maybe four or five
  • Yellow Warbler – three
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – one scruffy-looking bird
  • WESTERN TANAGER – two.  Only 5 later sightings
  • BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK – one.  Only 5 later sightings as well
So Hoodie, Coot, and Golden-crowned Sparrow were the only birds that seem to be fall arrivals, while Vaux’s Swift, Caspian Tern, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Western Tanager, and Black-headed Grosbeak were lingering later than typical.
We had one TANATALIZING MAYBE.  When we found the BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, it was being mobbed by hummingbirds.  There were clearly ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRDS involved, but one hummingbird paused for about 10 seconds, and gave us a pose and appearance that looked far more like BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD...  BUT, we never could find the bird again for confirmation.  The posture, the crisp white collar, and other aspects made BCHU seem really likely, but it was chased off by an Anna’s just too soon.  Would have been a park first, if confirmed.  Matt and I went back and forth and back and forth about whether to count this bird.  I feel the sighting was just too brief to check and recheck field marks.
Misses today included Green Heron, Fox Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and Yellow-rumped Warbler (three more missing “fall” birds).
For the day, 64 species.  With the coming weather change, I expect next Thursday’s bird list to be very different from today’s.
= Michael Hobbs

We're masked up for COVID.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Mourning Dove.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Hooded Merganser molting out of eclipse plumage. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for September 19, 2019                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

A thick layer of pre-dawn fog started to lift before sunrise, and the day was fairly pleasant walking.  The birds were pretty quiet, and there were few surprises beyond one really big one.
On our first peek into the Pea Patch, Matt noticed a  roosting  COMMON NIGHTHAWK on a white PVC frame that a gardener had erected in the SW corner of the garden.  Though we’ve had Common Nighthawk more than a dozen times previously, including three prior years during Week 38, this was the very first time one has been found roosting; all other sightings have been flyovers.
Other highlights:
  • Common Merganser – one working the channel at the weir
  • Ring-necked Pheasant – Matt heard him near the Viewing Mound just after the walk
  • COMMON NIGHTHAWK – See above
  • Vaux’s Swift – only one, seen while we were at the Rowing Club
  • Virginia Rail – one heard from across the slough opposite the start of the boardwalk
  • California Gull – 1-2 from the Lake Platform – First of Fall
  • Green Heron – two seen together twice
  • Osprey – still one calling incessantly from near the ballfields nest
  • MERLIN – one eating prey on a light stand in the NE corner of the park
  • Swainson’s Thrush – 1-2 heard pre-dawn is all
  • American Pipit – only seen in flight, but fly-arounds included a flock of 15
  • Fox Sparrow – 1-2 birds, First of Fall
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – Two
  • Yellow Warbler – 1-2
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – 1-2
Kazuto Shibata had a NORTHERN HARRIER on 9/17, and AMERICAN KESTREL and WESTERN MEADOWLARK in the East Meadow on the 18th, none of which we saw today.
Misses today included Hooded Merganser, American Coot, and Marsh Wren.  Unsurprisingly, we had no flycatchers today, and our only swallows were Barns (though there were some WAY out on the lake we couldn’t identify).
For the day, 57 species.  Adding Kazuto’s birds, that’s 60 for the week.
= Michael Hobbs

Report for September 20, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

The day dawned dark, with rain threatening but never arriving. Viewing was awful. Birds were kind of scarce. But after about 9, the day brightened and the birds CAME OUT. It turned out to be a stupendously good day. The highlight was a First for Marymoor RED-NECKED PHALAROPE at the north end of the lake. But it was only one of the...

Highlights: (FOF=First of Fall)

  • American Wigeon – FOF, photographed from the Lake Platform, and ID’d later (thanks, Bob)
  • Green-winged Teal – FOF, small fly-by flock
  • Horned Grebe – FOF, at least one from Lake Platform
  • RED-NECKED GREBE – First for 2018 – at least 2 from Lake Platform, confirmed by photos (thanks, Bob)
  • Mourning Dove – two near mansion
  • Vaux’s Swift – seemed to be streaming south – 25 minimum; probably a lot more
  • Virginia Rail – FOF, heard from Lake Platform
  • RED-NECKED PHALAROPE – New for the Marymoor List – #235
  • Double-creasted Cormorant – FOF, one
  • Green Heron – TWO at Rowing Club ponds
  • TURKEY VULTURE – FOF, one over mansion area
  • Osprey – still one or two; should be leaving soon
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – 1-2
  • Cooper’s Hawk – 1-2
  • Barn Owl – Mark & Lee spotted one pre-dawn, south of East Meadow
  • - four woodpecker day – and we *may* have seen incredibly distant Red-breasted Sapsucker, which would have been #5
  • MERLIN – two in quick succession at Rowing Club (unless one executed a very quick circle; two passes 10-15 seconds apart)
  • Pacific-slope Flycatcher – two glimpses for me, great look for Hugh and Sharon; three birds probably
  • Violet-green Swallow – 100?
  • Cliff Swallow – latest ever for Marymoor; two glimpses
  • Barn Swallow – 150-300
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – FOF, maybe 3 total
  • Swainson’s Thrush – still about 5-6 heard, mostly pre-dawn
  • American Pipit – FOF, one heard north of Viewing Mound
  • EVENING GROSBEAK – FOF, flock of 8 over Lake Platform, heading east
  • Fox Sparrows – at least a dozen, with quite a bit of singing
  • Golden-crowned Sparrow – at least 4, with one singing
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – maybe 8, some very drab green, some yellowish with grayish heads
  • Yellow Warbler – 1-2 at Rowing Club
  • WESTERN TANAGER – male at Rowing Club – getting late for them

Lots of FOFs; an amazing return of fall birds, but still good representation of summer birds (though most of those are clearly migrants passing through from further north). Definitely a feeling that ANYTHING could have shown up.

For the day, 72 species! On Tuesday, a trip led by Sharon to Marymoor had HOODED MERGANSER, CALIFORNIA SCRUB-JAY, TOWNSEND’S WARBLER, and BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD, to make 76 species for the week so far.


We also had fabulous looks at an AMERICAN BEAVER at the Rowing Club ponds.

== Michael Hobbs

Red-necked Grebe taking off.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Red-necked Grebes.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Red-necked Phalarope, facing right, at extreme distance and magnification.
Photo by Michael Hobbs

American Wigeon.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Pacific-slope Flycatcher.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Fox Sparrow.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Lincoln's Sparrow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for September 21, 2017                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

Arguably the best day birding at Marymoor ever. No, really. The place was just dripping with birds. The weather cooperated by hardly dripping at all. Week 38 is often a pretty special week during fall migration, but it really outdid itself this time.


  • Cackling Goose – two or three flocks – First of Fall (FOF)
  • Western Grebe – one on lake
  • Virginia Rail – one heard spontaneously calling near Lake Platform
  • DOWITCHERSfour, presumed LONG-BILLED, in flight with ~8 other shorebirds (Pectorals?)
  • Glaucous-winged Gull – long overdue FOF
  • Double-crested Cormorant – at least 2; FOF
  • TURKEY VULTURE – a tight kettle of TWENTY-ONE, moving south
  • Northern Harrier – probably at least 6 birds; all the ones seen well juveniles
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – one – FOF
  • Barn Owl – one at south end of East Meadow, 6:32 am. First in 5 weeks
  • Hairy Woodpecker – one across the slough
  • Pileated Woodpecker – one seen distantly in flight
  • AMERICAN KESTREL – beautiful adult male – First for 2017
  • Merlin – chased Kestrel, as well as many other birds
  • Western Wood-Pewee – 2
  • Willow Flycatcher – 1
  • Warbling Vireo – 1 at Rowing Club
  • Violet-green Swallow – everywhere; probably 120+
  • Barn Swallow – at least 10
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – perhaps 4; FOF
  • Varied Thrush – perhaps 4; FOF
  • LAPLAND LONGSPUR – at least 3, East Meadow & Dog Meadow
  • Orange-crowned warbler – in the ballpark of 40 birds!
  • Common Yellowthroat – numbers down, but still a dozen or so
  • Yellow Warbler – perhaps 10
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – drab Audubon’s type – about 15
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – ~4
  • Townsends’s Warbler – 1 or 2 at Rowing Club
  • Savannah Sparrow – maybe 50
  • CHIPPING SPARROW – 1 at Pea Patch
  • Fox Sparrow – ~25, many singing; FOF
  • Lincoln's Sparrow – at least 20, with one singing
  • Western Tanager – at least 4; FOF
  • Western Meadowlark – at least 2

I’m pretty certain we set high counts for Dowitcher, Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, Orange-crowned Warbler, Savannah Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, and Lincoln’s Sparrow.

Our total for the day, at 78 species, is almost certainly a high count for fall, and very close to our all-time high species count over the last 23 years!

I didn’t want to leave; I’m pretty sure with more time we could have topped 80 species. But I had to race home to head north for the WOS Conference in Blaine.

== Michael Hobbs

Mallard and Great Blue Heron at the weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Wood Ducks are looking nice again.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Dark-eyed Junco.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Lapland Longspur.  Photo by Joanne Iskierka

Lapland Longspur.  Photo by Joanne Iskierka

Chipping Sparrow.  Photo by Joanne Iskierka

Chipping Sparrow.  Photo by Joanne Iskierka

Report for September 17, 2016                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

This is the end of Week 38, which is notable for being the week in the fall where summer and winter birds overlap the most, with a pretty wide variety of migrants thrown in as well. We’ve cumulatively recorded 127 species for Week 38, which is ten species more than any other Fall week. Today was probably pretty typical of a Week 38 outing. We fought through morning fog, which greatly limited our viewing for the first hour (as well as pre-dawn), and were rewarded later with a beautiful, sunny morning.


Western Grebe                    One on lake late; First of Fall
Green Heron                        Adult and subadult at Rowing Club
Turkey Vulture                     1 from Rowing Club, looking east of slough – FOF
Osprey                                Still one seen
Northern Harrier                  Juvenile in East Meadow
Cooper’s Hawk                   Several sightings
Band-tailed Pigeon               A few flybys
Vaux’s Swift                        Notably many ~15
Red-breasted Sapsucker      Many sightings
Willow Flycatcher                One near Compost Piles – 2nd latest ever
Violet-green Swallow           25+
Barn Swallow                       50-100
Bushtit                                  Single flock of 30+
Pacific Wren                        One near start of boardwalk
American Pipit                      Several unseen flyovers
Cedar Waxwing                   Single flock of a dozen
Common Yellowthroat         Only a very few
Yellow Warbler?                  One yellowish warbler
Bl.-throated Gray Warbler    Two together along slough
Western Meadowlark           One, East Meadow, FOF

For the day, 62 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Male Red-winged Blackbird.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Spotted Towhee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

"Sooty" Fox Sparrow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Purple Finch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Song Sparrow.  Photos by Bob Asanoma

"Central breast spot? Yeah, I've got one right here!  Or, a little lower. Can't quite reach"

Male Black-throated Gray Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Recent beaver activity along the slough.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Red-.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Northern Harrier on a birdhouse in the East Meadow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Chestnut-backed Chickadee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Green Heron.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Green Heron.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Eight-spotted Skimmer.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Eight-spotted Skimmer.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for September 17, 2015                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

This was one of those times when I have trouble sleeping because it rains all night, and I wake up worrying about being prepared for the deluge in the morning, only to have the rain stop well before dawn and not start up again until late morning. Matt got a little wet with his ridiculously early arrival, and we had a bit of light rain at the Rowing Club, but otherwise we lucked out. It was even moderately birdy to boot, with some nice surprises. Definitely getting to be fall, though.


Green-winged Teal                      Small flyby flock – First of Fall
Double-crested Cormorant          2 at lake – First of Fall
Osprey                                        Still one around, according to Ollie
American Coot                            Small flock on lake
COMMON TERN                      Two well south on lake
Barn Owl                                     Matt had 1, 6:00-6:10 a.m. I got there at 6:15
Red-breasted Sapsucker              At least 2
Pileated Woodpecker                  1 glimpsed twice, heard often
Merlin                                          Landed near east end of boardwalk
Hammond’s Flycatcher                Ollie had one in Pea Patch
HUTTON’S VIREO                   Rowing Club parking lot
- swallow sp. -                            About 3 seen well to the east
Swainson’s Thrush                      Matt heard a few pre-dawn
Varied Thrush                             1 calling, Big Cottonwood Forest – First of Fall
American Pipit                             Flyovers
Orange-crowned Warbler            Three in/near the Pea Patch
Yellow-rumped Warbler              Several in slough below weir – First of Fall
Fox Sparrow                               2-3, one singing – First of Fall

We saw the two COMMON TERNS from the Lake Platform at extreme distance. They looked very small and tern-like, but never plunged into the water. Because they were surface-foraging without diving, we thought they might be Bonaparte’s Gulls, but from Marymoor they appeared pure white. In fact, in at least 20 minutes of viewing, I never once saw either one dive. However, they both were frequently making swirling swoops where they would suddenly turn and drop the the surface but then just dip their bills at the surface. I expect there was some kind of insect they were picking off the surface. From Idylwood Park, down the west side of Lake Sammamish from Marymoor, I was able to see the birds well and determine that they were juvenile Common Terns, and not gulls.

As for the HUTTON’S VIREO, I don’t know how Matt picked out some vocalizations over the loud road noise off West Lake Samm. Parkway. But I played the song, and then the call. The vireo came straight in, quite aggressively, to the call.

While COMMON TERN and HUTTON’S VIREO have each been seen fewer than 10 times at Marymoor, amazingly neither of these was new for the year.

For the day, a quite respectable 64 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Anna's Hummingbird.  Photo by Mike Trahan

Black-capped Chickadee, somehow looking like it's a hybrid with a Black-crowned Night Heron.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

One sorry-looking American Crow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

One sorry-looking American Crow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Goldfinch (left) and House Finch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Two Orange-crowned Warblers.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hammond's Flycatcher.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hammond's Flycatcher.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Lincoln's Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Lincoln's Sparrow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Red-breasted Nuthatch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Merlin, looking away.  Photo by Mike Trahan

Hutton's Vireo.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hutton's Vireo.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

The crew on the boardwalk.  Photo by Mike Trahan

Not sure where this Steller's Jay found an acorn.  Photo 2015-09-11 by Lillian Reis

Waxwings, starlings, blackbirds, or finches?.  Photo 2015-09-11 by Lillian Reis

Zooming in, we see they're Cedar Waxwings.  Photo 2015-09-11 by Lillian Reis

Green Heron with a fish at the Rowing Club.  Photo 2015-09-11 by Lillian Reis

Report for September 18, 2014                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

It was dark and misty this morning, though we didn’t get rain or even drizzle, really. But it was dark, and it was QUIET, especially for the first couple of hours. Also rather steamy and moist, with temps in the 60’s, and humidity that you could practically wring out of the air.

The big highlight were 3 JAEGERS that flew past the Lake Platform heading north. This wasn’t a total surprise, since we had a Jaeger fly north on the very same day of September, back in 2008. Our consensus was that today’s birds were Long-Tailed Jaegers, for they looked slim and had very long tails. Last year, we had a Long-tailed Jaeger on August 29th for our only other Jaeger sighting at the park. However, I had a niggling suspicion that we were wrong on the identification.  I thought I'd seen chestbands and white in the wings, both features of PARASITIC JAEGER.  Ollie's photos seem to confirm that ID.  ANOTHER NEW SPECIES FOR MARYMOOR PARK.

Other highlights:

Common Loon                      One WELL out on the lake – First of fall
Osprey                                  Still 2 over the lake
Bald Eagle                             Adult at lake, after 2 week summer vacation
Wilson’s Snipe                      Again, 2 below weir
American Kestrel                  1 over mansion area, 11:20 a.m. – First of fall
Merlin                                   1 perched near mansion, 11:20 a.m, – First of fall
Willow Flycatcher                  Last of the year?1-2
Black-throated Gray Warbler Grace saw 1, south end of Dog Meadow
HOUSE SPARROW             One male at Compost Piles – First for 2014

In the last two years, we’ve had as many sightings of Jaegers (2) as House Sparrows :)

For the day, 58 species. Misses today included Green Heron, Vaux’s Swift, Barn Swallow, and Yellow-rumped Warbler.

I believe we’re up to 152 species for the year.

== Michael Hobbs

Wilson's Snipe below weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings
Lincoln's Sparrow.  Small enough to fit in a fence.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Parasitic Jaeger.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Parasitic Jaeger.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Parasitic Jaeger.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Parasitic Jaeger.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Three Parasitic Jaegers.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Parasitic Jaeger.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Parasitic Jaeger.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Willow Flycatcher, maybe the last for the year.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male House Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male House Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male House Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Song Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Merlin atop a tall fir near the mansion.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Hooded Merganser.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for September 19, 2013                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

NOTE:  Lillian Reis was with the group, and took a photo of a bird that was mostly unnoticed by other members of the group.  The photos reveal a WESTERN SCRUB-JAY, a species seen only 2 times previously at Marymoor! See photos at the end of this post.  - Michael

The early day at Marymoor started out with low fog that obscured the view. By out start time most of it had lifted and we had a nice clear, but cold, day with lots of sunshine.

We could definitely tell we have moved into Fall with much reduced numbers of many of the birds.
Interesting birds for the day:

Barn Owl                                 Heard by Matt early
Green Heron                          Juvenile at rowing club
Fox Sparrow                           First of season
Golden-crowned Sparrow     First of season
Osprey                                     Lingering
Savannah Sparrow                Flock of 25 early all at once
Yellow Warbler                        Late
Orange-crowned Warbler      Late
Barn Swallow                          Late
Vaux's Swift                             Late
White-crowned Sparrow        Both gambelli and pugetensis subspecies

It was a good day, even with Michael in Greece.

Good Birding

Brian H. Bell, Woodinville WA
Matt Bartels, Seattle WA

Male Anna's Hummingbird.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Golden-crowned Sparrow (left) with White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Golden-crowned Sparrows.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Belted Kingfisher.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Spider.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Spotted Towhee (juvenile female?).  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Downy Woodpecker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Western Scrub-Jay.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Western Scrub-Jay.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for September 20, 2012                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

We had fog for much of the morning, which may be why we didn’t see a Bald Eagle, but it cleared just as we left the lake, and we managed to find quite a few species.


Greater White-fronted Goose     Juvenile near windmill – First of Fall
Osprey                                      Two sightings, probably 1 bird
MERLIN                                   South end of Dog Meadow, from boardwalk
Virginia Rail                               One heard across the slough
Hairy Woodpecker                    Two together in Big Cottonwood Forest
PURPLE MARTIN                   Four over boardwalk – LATE for them to be here
Swainson’s Thrush                     One seen, a couple more heard
AMERICAN PIPIT                  Several flyovers – a dozen birds?
Golden-crowned Sparrow         First of Fall - 2+ at Pea Patch
WESTERN MEADOWLARK Ollie and Houston saw 1 near Compost Piles
Evening Grosbeak                     1 seen near windmill, flyovers heard several times

For warblers, ORANGE-CROWNED (several), YELLOW-RUMPED (a few), BLACK-THROATED GRAY (1-2), TOWNSEND’S (1), and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (several). No flycatchers or vireos.

For the day, 57 species

== Michael Hobbs

Looking at a Black-throated Gray Warbler through the fog.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Female Wood Duck

Our first "large" group of American Coots for the fall.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Purple Martin over the boardwalk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Dark-eyed Junco.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Greater White-fronted Goose eating apples near the windmill.
Photo by Ollie Oliver

Evening Grosbeak near the top of a Doug Fir.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Evening Grosbeak.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for September 22, 2011                                                                                                                           Birding at Marymoor

It was as quiet a day as I can remember in any September this morning. We had heavy overcast, and warm wet air, though no precipitation during the walk. We also had no birds, or so it seemed at times. What we did have was often distant, heard-only, and/or fleeting.


Sharp-shinned Hawk                2 sightings. One sent starlings into a ball
Barn Owl                                 Matt had at least 2, as late as 6:30 a.m.
SHORT-EARED OWL           One flew over Pea Patch 7:45 a.m.
Vaux's Swift                             2 over mansion
COMMON RAVEN               2nd straight week, over lake platform
Orange-crowned Warbler        1-2
Yellow-rumped Warbler           Several, all drab
Black-throated Gray Warbler   1-2
Purple Finch                             Many, some singing
Evening Grosbeak                     Invisible flyovers

We've only had COMMON RAVEN 20 times at Marymoor, but 5 of those sightings have been in 2011.

It was a good day for mammal sightings, with COYOTE and MULE DEER as well as the usual rabbits and squirrels.

Misses for the day: We had no flycatchers or vireos. Also, no Brown Creeper, Common Yellowthroat, Fox Sparrow, or Lincoln's Sparrow, though Ollie Oliver sent me photos of a Lincoln's Sparrow from yesterday. He also photographed NORTHERN HARRIER and WESTERN MEADOWLARK yesterday.

For the day, only just 50 species, but at least 53 for the week.

== Michael Hobbs

Young male Wood Ducks on the Rowing Club dock.  Photo by Hugh Jennings
Female Blue-eyed Darner(?) laying eggs on a tree trunk.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Lincoln's Sparrow, 2011-09-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Western Meadowlark, 2011-09-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Cedar Waxwings, 2011-09-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

House Finches, 2011-09-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for September 23, 2010

No rain until we got to the compost piles,  though mostly overcast. Hard rain as we walked around the mansion.  Not a great day for actually SEEING birds, but still a really good day.

We had a very sad, but very exciting start to the morning.  Brian Bell found a recently run-over (still warm) COMMON POORWILL, which he showed to all of us.  This is a new bird for the Marymoor Park list, and one that I don't think anybody expected.

Elsewise, we still had some "summer" birds, along with a few returning winter birds (a few FOF- First of Fall birds).


Greater White-fronted Goose        1 with Canadas - FOF
Horned Grebe                               2 well out on the lake
Western Grebe                              3 well out on the lake
Double-crested Cormorant            2 - FOF
American Kestre l                          Female or juvenile on grass soccer fields
Wilson's Snipe                               Scott heard one, East Meadow early. FOF
Vaux's Swift                                  Somewhere between 1-3, with VGSWs
Pileated Woodpecker                   Heard off to the west
Violet-green Swallow                    Large flocks (75+ total)
Barn Swallow                               1-5, with VGSWs
Orange-crowned Warbler             2+
Yellow Warbler                            2
Yellow-rumped Warbler               Fairly common
MacGillivray's Warbler ?               Ollie had a gray-headed yellowish warbler
Wilson's Warbler                          2+
Fox Sparrows                               Lots of singing, a couple of good looks
Evening Grosbeak                        25+ in one flock, plus a few more. All in flight.

Part of the group also had a close encounter with a Townsend's Vole, which was fun (ran right over my boot).

For the day, 62 species.

== Michael

Dead Common Poorwill, dorsal view

Dead Common Poorwill, ventral view

Northern Flicker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

"Sooty" Fox Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Kestrel

American Kestrel


I believe this is a Bald-faced Hornet's nest

Townsend's Vole along west edge of East Meadow

A different mushroom

Dahlia in the Community Gardens.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Ring-necked Pheasant in the Community Gardens

A new park bird - Buteo jamicensis plasticus.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Goldfinch at the Compost Piles, 2010-09-22

Wasp on a flower, 2010-09-22.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Garter Snake, 2010-09-22.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Bushtit, 2010-09-18.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Steller's Jay, 2010-09-18.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Northern Harrier, 2010-09-18.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Same Northern Harrier, 2010-09-18.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for September 17, 2009

Nice sunny day after the morning fog burned off.  And amazingly birdy.


Northern Harrier                     Circling over the boardwalk area
Cooper's Hawk                      A couple of sightings
Mourning Dove                       Two southeast of boardwalk
Barn Owl                                Matt had 3 flybys in the East Meadow
Vaux's Swift                            20+ overhead
Pacific-slope Flycatcher           Several - nice movement
Warbling Vireo                        Still one hanging around
Swainson's Thrush                    Matt had many flight calls early
Orange-crowned Warbler        One or two
Yellow-rumped Warbler          A few
Black-throated Gray Warbler   A couple
Fox Sparrow                           One heard, one seen
Lincoln's Sparrow                    2+ back
Golden-crowned Sparrow        Several back for fall

= Michael

Large spider webs were everywhere

Pacific-slope Flycatcher at the south end of the Dog Meadow

Ollie Oliver's photo of the flycatcher

Northern Harrier over boardwalk

Northern Harrier over boardwalk

Amazing fungus

Savannah Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Black-capped Chickadee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Black-capped Chickadee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for September 18, 2008

In the morning, it was cloudy, dark, humid, almost chilly, but not windy and it didn't really even mist much. The lighting conditions weren't great, so while we had several sightings of flying ducks, identifications were uncertain.  We had at least 4 species besides Mallard, Wood Duck, and Hooded Merganser, but couldn't count anything for sure.  Maybe Gadwall, Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, and Common Merganser, but in the end, only the 3 on the list.

A little after 7:00 a.m., while we were still getting out of our cars, a PARASITIC or LONG-TAILED JAEGER flew right over our heads, flying north.  I got one of the less good looks amongst those who saw it.  Here's what I saw: A gull-like bird with pointed central tail feathers.  They were not very long, but Long-tailed Jaeger don't always have long tails.  Length good for Parasitic.  The wings seemed uniformly dark on the underside, and the body was quite light.  I saw the bird only flying away, but the body seemed slender and did NOT appear to have a strong "collar" appearance on the upper chest, like a typical adult light-morph Parasitic.  In the big Sibley, the jaeger image the seems closest to my memory is the small picture of the Long-tailed Jaeger "Adult nonbreeding".  However, unless Matt Bartels or one of the others who got a better look can confirm an identification, I think it will have to go down as Jaeger sp.  Still, WAY COOL, and totally
unexpected.  We've been having a contest to predict the next new Marymoor birds that will show up.  About 15 of us predicted up to 15 species each that might appear next at Marymoor.  At total of 84 species were nominated (including some that were WAY out there).  Nobody chose a Jaeger though. Maybe sometime soon my jaw will return from the ground...

Houston Flores had a SWAINSON'S HAWK (the second Marymoor sighting ever), at around 5:00 p.m.

Other highlights:

Virginia Rail                       One seen flying a short distance below the weir
Killdeer                              Flock size up to 40
Wilson's Snipe                   One below the weir - First of Fall
Mourning Dove                  One over East Meadow
Barn Owl                           4 simultaneously in 2 different spots early
Great Horned Owl             Scott heard predawn hoots from near of Dog Central
Hairy Woodpecker            Always a good day when we see one
Swainson's Thrush              Still a couple
American Pipit                    One seen with Killdeers west of velodrome
Orange-crowned Warbler  3+
Yellow-rumped Warbler     MANY, mostly very drab
Wilson's Warbler                One at the Rowing Club
8 species of sparrows:         Towhee, Savannah, Fox, Song, Lincoln's,
                                           White-crowned, Golden-crowned, Junco
Black-headed Grosbeak      2+ still around
House Sparrow                   First since July, only 2nd since April - Joy

A great group was with me for a great day, with 58 species seen or heard.

== Michael

Swainson's Hawk - photo by Austin Cockman

Hairy Woodpecker

Ollie Oliver's photo of an American Pipit near the velodrome

Orange-crowned Warbler

Lincoln's Sparrow

Ollie Oliver's photo of an adult White-crowned Sparrow, with a juvenile behind

Ollie Oliver's photo of a Black-tailed Deer

Ollie Oliver's photo of a Long-tailed Vole

Report for September 20, 2007

It was a good day at Marymoor today. We managed to ferret out quite a few species, including several good birds. Great looks were sometimes lacking, but that's the way birding is sometimes.

The day was overcast, and we had a couple of moments of heavy mist or light rain, but generally the weather was quite good. There were eleven birders all told.


Horned Grebe Two out on the lake Western Grebe Two out on the lake D.-crested Cormorant Two out on the lake Green Heron Nice adult at Rowing Club Northern Harrier Flyover at lake, later in East Meadow Cooper's Hawk 2 juveniles at Compost Piles, adult at Pea Patch American Kestrel 1 flying down the river early Spotted Sandpiper On slough from Rowing Club late Wilson's Snipe One at RC pond, one over slough earlier Vaux's Swift Several, but these should be our last of the year Pileated Woodpecker Heard calling several times; only Mason saw one HORNED LARK Three landed at east edge of grass soccer fields Evening Grosbeak Two distantly glimpsed, near the mansion

Around 6:30 a.m., Matt Bartells had a fly-over COMMON NIGHTHAWK. This is the fourth nighthawk noted over Marymoor, and all have been during Week 38: 9/17/04, 9/18/05, 9/20/05, and now 9/20/07. Pretty consistant!

The three HORNED LARK landed on the logs at the east edge of fields 7-8-9, right next to the driveway to the Interpretive Lot. We got decent looks, before they flushed out of there when one of the juvenile COOPER'S HAWKS came through. They appeared to be completely devoid of yellow coloration - does that make them Arctic birds?

We had both HERMIT THRUSH and SWAINSON'S THRUSH. They don't usually overlap much, as we usually don't get Hermits until October, just after the Swainson's leave. But we've had some September Hermits this year.

We had a six warbler day, with MANY ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, one YELLOW, a handful of YELLOW-RUMPED, a single BLACK-THROATED GRAY with a single TOWNSEND'S WARBLER northeast of the mansion, and a few COMMON YELLOWTHROATS.


For the day, 65 species.

== Michael

Louise Rutter's photo of the Horned Larks

Louise's slug photo


Bird Sightings Week 38
September 17-23*      *adjust by 1 day in leap years



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