Friends of Marymoor Park

Recent Bird Sightings

Report for September 2, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

A remarkable day today at the park.  It started out a *c*h*i*l*l*y* 46 degrees, and many of us were underdressed.  It did warm up though.  Crystal clear skies and no wind, great pre-dawn stars, and lots of birds were the order of the day.  Uncooperative birds, however, were many.  They either wouldn’t sit still, or they would sit still in a terrible (for us) location.  But there were lots of birds to see, and surprises.
  • Greater White-fronted Goose – two landed on the grass soccer fields right at 6:30.  First of Fall (FOF), and our 4th earliest fall record ever
  • Northern Pintail – one flew south about 6:35.  FOF, and our 2nd earliest fall record ever
  • Mourning Dove – one sat, looking very cold, near the Viewing Mound just before sunrise
  • Virginia Rail – one seen across the slough south of the Dog Area, while we were hearing 2-3 more
  • *five woodpecker day*  – a Pileated seen at the Rowing Club confirmed the 5th species; we’d only *thought* we’d heard one earlier
  • AMERICAN KESTREL – adult male landed briefly near Dog Central – First of Year (FOY)
  • Western Wood-Pewee – several seen, with one singing full song.  Not seen last week
  • Willow Flycatcher – 2-3 seen, not seen last week
  • Warbling Vireo – many (8?), pretty much all in crisp, contrasty plumage
  • Violet-green Swallow – one
  • Swainson’s Thrush – many SEEN, a few more doing “wheet” calls
  • YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD – female seen across the slough.  FOY, and first fall sighting ever.  This is only the 10th record I have for this species in my database
  • Yellow Warbler – very active flock with 5+ along edge of Dog Meadow, plus a few more.  No breeding-plumage males noted
  • Wilson’s Warbler – one or two
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – one nice male, plus a female at the Rowing Club
  • Western Tanager – many, with many quick views of each.  Not good at sitting still, but then almost nothing sat still
  • Black-headed Grosbeak – two glimpsed
Misses today included Hooded Merganser, Glaucous-winged Gull (though we did have about 6 Larus sp.), Green Heron, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and Orange-crowned Warbler.
For the day, 62 species plus Larus sp.  For the year, adding Kestrel and the Yellow-headed Blackbird, we’re up over 150 species for 2021 already.

= Michael Hobbs

Juvenile Cedar Waxwing.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Bushtit. Photo by Bob Asanoma

American Goldfinch.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Savannah Sparrow.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for August 26, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

Seasonal changes and a change in the weather.  And changes in the birds at Marymoor.  Related?  Maybe just probably.  Cloudy and a touch breezy today, but the temperature was pretty comfortable (low 60’s), and no rain.
  • Band-tailed Pigeon – flock of around nine, one of our biggest groups of the year
  • Rufous Hummingbird – 1-2 below the weir, not adult males, our first in six weeks
  • Caspian Tern – five or six at the lake.  Getting late - we have only two previous sightings later than today’s
  • Green Heron – juvenile along slough south of Dog Area
  • Cooper’s Hawk – harassing Red-tailed Hawk on far side of slough, south of Dog Area
  • WARBLING VIREO – many!  Seven would be a conservative count
  • Barn Swallow – quite a few; in a late scan of the lake I was able to verify these were the dozens of swallows there, but we had others over the park itself
  • LINCOLN’S SPARROW – one at the Pea Patch, a rather early Fall sighting
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – juvenile with Red-winged Blackbirds.  First in six weeks
  • FIVE WARBLER DAY – see below
  • Western Tanager – several sightings
Our five warbler day started with COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, 2-3 YELLOW WARBLERS, and a WILSON’S WARBLER below the weir.  Along the slough trail towards the south end of the Dog Area, we found 1-2 male BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLERs.  Finally, in the SE part of the East Meadow, an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER was low in a blackberry bush.
Misses today included Hooded Merganser, Rock Pigeon, Western  Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Black-headed Grosbeak.
For the day, 57 species.
= Michael Hobbs

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk (left) and juvenile Cooper's Hawk (right).
Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for August 19, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

A little early overcast cleared to hazy skies, especially to the east.  A quiet day.
  • NORTHERN SHOVELER – one female-type at the weir.  Our earliest fall sighting by 3 days (if you don’t count a very out-of-season bird on 2017-07-25, photographed by Kazuto Shibata)
  • Common Merganser – seven at the weir, our first after a 6-week absence
  • Vaux’s Swift – several sightings of multiple birds, after a summer of sparse sightings
  • Western Screech-Owl – heard predawn
  • Great Horned Owl – Matt saw one predawn along road
  • Pacific-slope Flycatcher – one south of the East Meadow – First of Year for the survey !
  • Purple Martin – still several flying around calling
  • Swallow spp. – white-breasted swallows without noticeable saddlebags over Dog Meadow.  Another bird at the lake.  Thinking Tree and Northern Rough-winged respectively, but listing as spp.
  • Cliff Swallow – one near Viewing Mound
  • Barn Swallow – several
  • Cedar Waxwing – our most numerous passerine
  • Yellow Warbler – one heard singing, East Meadow.  Our only warbler besides Common Yellowthroat
  • Western Tanager – three near weir, additional sightings near mansion.  First sightings after 6-week absence
  • Black-headed Grosbeak – one below the weir in large dead tree
From the Lake Platform we could see many distant swallows and about 10 scattered, distant gulls.  But the haze prevented any IDs.   A late scan of the lake confirmed California Gull and Glaucous-winged (or maybe Olympic) gulls, and several more that remained unidentified due to distance.  I might have glimpsed a Caspian Tern, but couldn’t verify.
Misses included Spotted Sandpiper, Green Heron, Cooper’s Hawk, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Brown-headed Cowbird, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and Wilson’s Warbler.
Quite a few birds barely made it on to the list, based on being heard distantly, or being barely glimpsed.  We did manage to identify 54 species.
= Michael Hobbs

Juvenile Osprey.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for August 12, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

Not a bad ‘doldrums’ day at Marymoor – The highlights of the day came in the first hour, when Sandi, first-time Marymoor-walk participant, picked out the first-ever BLACK PHOEBE for the park. It gave brief glimpses then disappeared for a bit, then started sticking around on visible perches for nice looks. While we were watching, we began hearing a second ‘different’ chip note - after a bit of searching, up popped a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH! 2nd ever for the park, and first for the Marymoor survey. Like the Black Phoebe, after a bit of waiting, the Waterthrush eventually popped up for great views for all.

We eventually continued with rest of the walk – it was not bad for a mid-august day at the park - lots of weird signing presumably from young birds.

  • Pied-billed Grebe – adult & imm close to the viewing platform - after being only far far away or absent all summer, nice to have closer looks.
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove – 1 fly-by from East Meadow viewing mound
  • Mourning Dove – 1 fly-by in dog area
  • Caspian Tern - one, again. Tenth straight week, and 12th of last 13 weeks
  • Green Heron – one imm at Rowing Club
  • Osprey – still have 2 active nests
  • Willow Flycatcher – still many fitz-bew-ing families around
  • BLACK PHOEBE – park first
  • Warbling Vireo3 together at Rowing Club, after missing all day earlier and last week
  • NORTHERN WATERTHRUSHpark 2nd, first for survey
  • Yellow Warblernone seen, but still a couple singing
  • Vaux’s Swiftonly got them from the  Rowing Club, near the end of the walk
  • Great Blue Herondid we really only see one all day? I think so
  • Purple Martinoverhead we heard a few , but none at the gourds after having 4 in a gourd last week.
  • Swainson’s Thrushonly heard them at Rowing Club - none earlier
  • Black-headed Grosbeakonly one  found
Misses included: Band-tailed Pigeon [tho we had 3 species of pigeon/dove]; most woodpeckers [only had Downy and N. Flicker], swallows [only had  Purple Martin]; Brown-headed Cowbird [we really haven’t had many this summer.

Overall though, can’t complain after an outing like this.

For the  day, 56 species [including gull sp.]

Matt Bartels  [substituting for Michael today]

Black Phoebe.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Black Phoebe. Pale gape may indicate a hatch-year bird.
Photo by Jordan Roderick

Northern Waterthrush.
Photo by Jordan Roderick

Northern Waterthrush.
Photo by Jordan Roderick

Report for August 5, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

Another too-nice morning at Marymoor; the doldrums continue.  Still waiting for a drenching rain that is so desperately needed.  Pre-dawn, Jupiter and the crescent moon were deep orange, as was the sun when it rose, indicative of the smoke to the east.  The early sun was a scary color.
  • Pied-billed Grebe – first for the survey proper since early April; one on the lake
  • LEAST SANDPIPER – just after 5 a.m., Matt and I heard one from the Lake Platform, and even saw it briefly as it checked us out!
  • Caspian Tern – one, again.  Ninth straight week, and 11th of the last 12 weeks
  • Green Heron – juvenile along the slough
  • Cooper’s Hawk – several glimpses of a juvenile
  • Hairy Woodpecker – one across the slough from the Lake Platform
  • Pileated Woodpecker – probable juvenile along the slough, across from the Rowing Club dock
  • Merlin – brief glimpse of one being pursued by a Purple Martin or two
  • Western Wood-Pewee – adult feeding begging young at the Rowing Club ponds
  • Willow Flycatcher – SO MANY – including three young on a branch, begging.  We’re thinking hatch-year birds sing, too, based on the plethora of “fitz-bew”s
  • Purple Martin – three babies sticking their heads out of one gourd, at least one in the 2nd gourd.  So cute!
  • Yellow Warbler – two heard singing
  • Great Blue Heron – if I counted correctly, there were ONLY TWO!
  • Barn Swallow – one over the Pea Patch was the only swallow besides the martins!
  • Savannah Sparrow – only one
  • Black-headed Grosbeak – like last week, only one, this time at the Rowing Club
  • SIXTEEN species were represented by a single bird only.  EIGHT more were heard-only.  The only gulls we had were far too far away for ID. 
Misses included Rock Pigeon, Band-tailed Pigeon, Spotted Sandpiper, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Warbling Vireo, Violet-green Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Bushtit, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, and Wilson’s Warbler.
For the day, we eked out 53 species.
= Michael Hobbs

Report for July 29, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

The “perfect” weather continues.  I really wish we’d get a soaking rain sometimes instead, even if I bring it down upon us for next Thursday by saying so.  The park needs a bath.  But as for birds, today was pretty much back to the doldrums.  Good looks were hard to come by, and so many of the birds are juveniles in shabby, drab clothing. 
  • Gadwall – female and two ducklings in the slough below the Rowing Club dock.  Only our 2nd sighting in seven weeks
  • Spotted Sandpiper – after dipping at the weir, we were happy to get one from the Lake Platform
  • Gulls – very distant from Lake Platform.  A late scan of the lake revealed one definite “Olympic”, one probable California
  • Caspian Tern – at least 1 again; 8th straight week
  • Great Blue Heron – less than 10 seen.  The heronry appeared to be down to its last juvenile
  • Green Heron – juvenile below the weir, adult at Rowing Club pond
  • Osprey – some of the 3 juveniles at the ballfields light nest may already have fledged.  The new nest at the gravel parking lot has two large juveniles on it!
  • Barn Owl – Matt saw one well, around 5
  • Western Screech-Owl – Matt had one on the boardwalk fence very pre-dawn
  • Great Horned Owl – ??? – I saw an owl from the Viewing Mound that seemed too dark and maybe too bulky for Barn, but it quickly disappeared into the fog
  • Red-breasted Sapsucker – one in the NW corner of the Dog Area
  • Hairy Woodpecker – one along slough near the start of the boardwalk
  • Purple Martin – two still-active nests in the gourds.  More at the boxes in the NE corner of the lake
  • Violet-green Swallow – only 1, at the Rowing Club
  • Barn Swallow – 2-3
  • Red-winged Blackbird – a flock of nearly 20 at the Lake Platform; first in 3 weeks
  • Lazuli Bunting – only one, a juvenile in the East Meadow
We did have a “Black-tailed” MULE DEER on the far side of the slough below the weir.  I had a LONG-TAILED WEASEL yesterday near the East Kiosk.  JUPITER is very nice at around 5 a.m. these days.
Misses today included Pied-billed Grebe, Warbling Vireo, Tree Swallow, Bushtit, and Yellow Warbler.
For the day, 58 species, but good looks only about 45 of them.
= Michael Hobbs

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