Friends of Marymoor Park


What to see in April?


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April builds slowly.  This is the month that our pass-through spring migrants stop in on their way north. By the last week in April, several of our summer birds will have arrived too, though by no means all. And it’s the departure time for many of our winter-only birds.  So the great thing about April is that every visit is so very different from every other.

Migrants might include Say’s Phoebe or Mountain Bluebirds in the East Meadow, Hermit Thrush dashing off the path, American Pipits on the mowed fields.  Take note of the ducks before they depart until fall. Amongst them might be a migrating Cinnamon Teal, always a treat.

Watch the nest on the light pole across the street to the north of the Model Airplane Field for the return of the Ospreys. Or watch for them fishing the slough and the lake. You might also see one break a branch off a tree to freshen up the nest for a new breeding year.

Other returning summer birds will include Green Heron, Band-tailed Pigeon, Cliff and Barn Swallows, Common Yellowthroat, and Brown-headed Cowbird.  Orange-crowned Warbler and Common Yellowthroat are the first warblers to arrive.  Flycatchers, vireos, and several other warblers start arriving around the last week in April. The willows and alders around the edges of the Dog Meadow, and the trail from the east end of the boardwalk to the East Meadow are the places to look for birds like Hammond's Flycatcher and Nashville and Black-throated Gray Warblers.

April is second only to May for the number of rarities recorded, which have included Brant, Surf Scoter, Red-necked Grebe, Great Egret, Sandhill Crane, Burrowing Owl, Red-naped Sapsucker, Loggerhead Shrike, House Wren, Townsend's Solitaire. Sage Thrasher, Bohemian Waxwing, Brewer’s Sparrow, and Sagebrush Sparroaw.

Mountain Bluebird, 2011-04-03.  Photo by Tim Kuhn

Loggerhead Shrike, 2010-04-11.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

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