Friends of Marymoor Park


Bird Sightings Week 12
March 19-25*


Rarities for Week 12:

Barrow's Goldeneye 23-Mar-95 Two birds
Burrowing Owl 20-Mar-16  
Long-eared Owl 21-Mar-99  
Long-eared Owl 21-Mar-19 In willows along boardwalk
Townsend's Solitaire 19-Mar-98 Dog Central, two birds
Townsend's Solitaire 19-Mar-10 East Meadow
Common Redpoll 21-Mar-16  

Report for March 21, 2024                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

Our equinox survey started with sleepy birders and sleepy birds under dark grey skies, but the day became quite pleasant and birdy by 8 or 8:30.

  • Northern Shoveler - Flyby of 5 birds - First of Year (FOY)
  • Gadwall - Perhaps 30, a pretty high count for Marymoor
  • Northern Pintail - One flock flying north, followed by a seemingly larger (~35) flying south (FOY)
  •           Twelve species of duck total!
  • Rufous Hummingbird - Three males, including one doing a J-display (FOY)
  • Great Blue Heron - At least one eggshell under the heronry
  • Great Horned Owl - One calling pre-dawn from the SE (FOY)
  • Pileated Woodpecker - Excavating a hole in a snag in the Big Cottonwood Forest, right next to the trail
  • Merlin - A rather pale individual ENE of the mansion
  • Hutton's Vireo - Finally saw one.  Like our other two reports this year, it was singing southwest of the windmill
  • Violet-green Swallow - Probably well over 100 (FOY)
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Ubiquitous.  Really.  Somewhere between 30 and 50
  • Varied Thrush - Probably at least 3, including good looks at the south end of the Dog Area
  • Purple Finch - At least two heard, in full song.  First in a month
  • White-throated Sparrow - Continues near 2nd/3rd Dog Swim Beach, with Golden-crowned Sparrows
I was also at the park yesterday and had 5 species that we didn't have today: BAND-TAILED PIGEON, RING-BILLED GULL, HAIRY WOODPECKER, AMERICAN GOLDFINCH (one male, singing below the weir) amazingly (FOY), and SAVANNAH SPARROW (about a dozen, most at the Model Airplane Field (FOY).

Missed both today and yesterday:  Short-billed Gull, Cooper's Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Shrike, and Pacific Wren.

I had 55 species yesterday, we had 62 species today, with a combined total of 67 species.   With 7 new species this week, we're at 85 species for the year.

= Michael Hobbs


Male Rufous Hummingbird. Photo by Tony Ernst

Brown Creeper. Photo by Tony Ernst


Flock of 30 Northern Pintail. Photo by Tony Ernst


Male Pileated Woodpecker excavating a hole. Photo by Tony Ernst

Heavily-cropped view of a Merlin. Photo by Milt Vine

Report for March 23, 2023                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

Our hopes of a real spring-time feel to the day were dashed by the weather.  Forty-five degrees feels rather cold when it's combined with a strong, damp breeze.  Thick, unsettled clouds don't help.  The robins didn't seem to care, being very active and overly vocal.  The rest of the birds seemed subdued.  Oh, except for Ruby-crowned Kinglets who seem to be longing for spring as much as we are; they sang and sang, pining for snow-free foothills.

  • Cackling Goose - One small flock (65+) on Fields 7-8-9
  • American Wigeon - Flock of 5 amongst the Cacklers
  • Rufous Hummingbird - One heard near the "Mysterious Thicket" south of the East Meadow.  I thought I heard one there yesterday too.
    First of Spring (FOS)
  • Accipiter Sp. - One driven from the top of a tree by crows.  Flew like a Sharpie to me, but can't be sure.  I did have a Cooper's yesterday
  • Pileated Woodpecker - One from the Rowing Club dock.  Might also have heard a Hairy, which would have gotten us to a 5 woodpecker day
  • Small falcon - Two glimpses; I thought Merlin, but I had and American Kestrel yesterday
  • Violet-green Swallow - By late morning, scores over the slough, with Tree Swallows.  (FOS)
Six species were heard-only today, and eight others were represented by lone birds.  Counts for many species were lower than yesterday and for last week. The weather is probably to blame for most of that.
Misses today included Rock Pigeon, Short and Ring-billed Gulls, Northern Shrike, Pine Siskin, and Western Meadowlark (seen 21 or 29 previous years).  We also had no Say's Phoebe nor Mountain Bluebird, though this week has historically been the most likely time for seeing these species at Marymoor.  But both species are quite possible in the following several weeks, so there's still a good chance we'll still see them this spring.

For the day, counting the accipiter, the falcon, and our resident tame Ring-necked Pheasant, we had an even 60 species.

= Michael Hobbs

Report for March 24, 2022                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

It was colder than we expected this morning (36-43 degrees), but it was neither rainy nor blowy.  Just a thin overcast most of the morning that kept things cold and not very spring-like.  It was fairly birdy and we did pretty well spotting far-away birds.
  • Band-tailed Pigeon – I spotted two flying away from the Rowing Club dock – First of Year (FOY)
  • Rufous Hummingbird – 1 near East Footbridge, one at Rowing Club (FOY for the survey; I had one on Monday)
  • California Gull – 1 with other gulls on grass/gravel parking lot
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – one south of the East Meadow; first in 7 weeks
  • Barn Owl – 1 seen from the Viewing Mound not long before sunrise
  • Pileated Woodpecker – Seen twice
  • Cedar Waxwing – small flock north of Rowing Club
  • Savannah Sparrow – 1 singing in East Meadow (FOY)
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – Many (20+), all “Audubon’s” among those seen well enough for ID
  • Townsend’s Warbler – One west of mansion
Misses included Short-billed Gull, Cooper’s Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Shrike (seen Monday and Tuesday though), and American Goldfinch.
Disappointingly, we didn’t have a Say’s Phoebe (seen last Sunday) or Mountain Bluebird (seen Tuesday).
Still, we found 67 species, the first week of 2022 with 60+ species.
= Michael Hobbs

Mountain Bluebird, 2022-03-24
Photographed by Shamik Ghosh,

Report for March 25, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

The night’s rain let up in time for our walk.  We had only a touch of mizzle at first, and then things cleared to where there was even quite a bit of blue sky.  A little rain started not long after we finished; we really lucked out.  Not a hint of wind either, making for a notably glassy lake.  It was pretty birdy.  This time of year, we’re always overeager for spring arrivals, and today we faced disappointment there.  Nothing new that way.  But a really good day otherwise.
  • Wood Duck – a couple of sightings, including a female that landed atop a short snag in the SE corner of the park.  Looking for a nest hole?
  • Dabbling ducks – a large flock spent the morning on the grass soccer fields, including over 150 Mallards, and over a dozen each of Gadwall, American Wigeon, and Green-winged Teal
  • Lesser Scaup – 5 males and 4 females very, very far out on the lake, confirmed after the walk from Sammamish Landing Park
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – one at the Rowing Club was a First of Year (FOY) for us
  • “Taiga” Merlin – seen looking west across the slough from the 2nd Dog Swim Beach.  Identified by photos, as it was far away.  Far too pale for “Black” Merlin.  A very definite supercilium, thin white bands on the black tail, and faint-but-definite moustache marks all point to “Taiga”
  • Northern Shrike – East Meadow.  We were able to rule out the possibility of Loggerhead via photos.  Just before disappearing, it took what looked to be a cached prey item out of a hawthorn tree.
  • Hutton’s Vireo – Brian had one at the Rowing Club parking lot
  • Cedar Waxwing – at least 6 at the Rowing Club
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – first song for the year near the mansion, looks at two “Myrtle” subspecies at the Rowing Club
  • Townsend’s Warbler – one, singing faintly, just west of the concert stage
It was also an excellent day for mammals.  I had a VIRGINIA OPOSSUM (FOY) along the road at 6:45 a.m.   We had two disparate sightings of LONG-TAILED WEASEL, both carrying prey.  There were two RIVER OTTER swimming out to the lake.  And we had a few sightings of the non-native EASTERN COTTONTAILS and EASTERN GRAY SQUIRRELS.  We were not able to get good enough looks at the weasel prey animals to positively add any other mammals to the day’s list Smile
The temporary fencing is up around the GREAT BLUE HERON heronry.  It does not extend out beyond the drip-line of the trees, and therefore doesn’t inhibit access for viewing at all.  In a photo I took, I counted at least 70 herons, and over 40 nests, in the heronry.  Underneath the trees, on the freshly-spread straw, were probably a couple of dozen empty large bluish egg shells.  From this, we presume the first chicks have hatched already.  The straw was put down last Thursday afternoon, I believe, so the eggs have hatched since then.
Misses today included Rock Pigeon, Mew Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Cooper’s Hawk, Savannah Sparrow, and Western Meadowlark.
For the day, 66 species.

 = Michael Hobbs

Merlin. The pale coloration, bold eye stripe, and black tail with thin white stripes point to this being a "Taiga"-type Merlin.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Several of the empty egg shells beneath the Great Blue Heron nests.  We assume this means some of the chicks have already hatched.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Report for March 19, 2020                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

It was sunny but cold this morning, with fog enough to create a problem or two, but mostly a nice morning. We were only 4 people for the bulk of the walk, though there were a couple of others for owling only. Even with the small group, we attempted to hold to the 6-foot rule. It did eventually warm up, but spring always seems so slow to arrive.


  • Cackling Goose – only about 30, in a single flyover flock after the walk
  • Anna’s Hummingbird – Kazuto showed me an occupied nest near the start of the boardwalk
  • Rufous Hummingbird – we found a female at a nest a the Rowing Club
  • TURKEY VULTURE – two over the mansion heading north – First of Year
  • Barn Owl – saw a couple of times as late as about 7am, from the Viewing Mound
  • Western Screech-Owl – Kazuto waited near the nest box (east end of the boardwalk) and saw one after 6:30 a.m.
  • MERLIN – quick flyby south of the Pea Patch – First of Year
  • American Crow – much gathering of nesting materials
  • Hermit Thrush – one at the Rowing Club
  • Varied Thrush – at least one heard singing over at the Rowing Club, but heard from across the slough
  • European Starling – seen copulating
  • Western Meadowlark – three in East Meadow

Pre-dawn was gorgeous, with Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, then a really bright shooting star, and then the crescent moon rising.

Turns out we should not have been surprised to see TURKEY VULTURE, as this week ties Week 39 (end of September) for most sightings for any week of the year.

Misses today included Ring-necked Duck, Mew Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Northern Shike, Violet-green Swallow, Marsh Wren, American Goldfinch, Savannah Sparrow, and White-crowned Sparrow.

I hope to get Say’s Phoebe, Mountain Bluebird, and Savannah Sparrow later this week.

For the day, even with the long list of “misses”, we still managed 60 species.

= Michael Hobbs

Report for March 21, 2019                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

The equinox edition of the survey started a little bit chilly, and there was a bit more breeze than ideal. From the Lake Platform, most birds were too backlit to identify. The Marymoor survey crew still haven’t seen a Rufous Hummingbird at the park this year. And despite seeing a Savannah Sparrow last Monday, we couldn’t find one today. That’s about it for downsides today.


  • Cackling Goose – at least 1000 streamed by just before sunrise in many string flocks
  • Wood Duck – flock of 7 seen from the Lake Platform; pair at Rowing Club
  • Great Blue Heron - 75+ birds, with something like 65 at/near the heronry
  • Green Heron – at Rowing Club, on our way out
  • Cooper’s Hawk – adult with full crop flew south down the East Meadow
  • Red-tailed Hawk – AT LEAST four adults and a juvenile
  • Bald Eagle – birds in the air all morning; AT LEAST six adults and a juvenile
  • Western Screech-Owl – Matt came face-to-face with one near the boardwalk predawn
  • LONG-EARED OWL – flushed from along boardwalk as we passed by; perched about 15 yards off the boardwalk for good looks for all. First at Marymoor since 2013
  • Five Woodpecker Day – with a female Hairy showing up at the Rowing Club to complete the pentafecta
  • SAY’S PHOEBE – one at the model airplane field
  • Northern Shrike – adult in breeding splendor in East Meadow; checked carefully to rule out Loggerhead
  • Violet-green Swallow – First of Spring for us
  • HERMIT THRUSH – one just south of the Dog Area along slough trail

 Bob & I enjoyed Venus and our Super Worm Moon shadows predawn at the Viewing Mound, while Matt was seeing the screech...

Misses included Ring-necked Duck, Rock Pigeon, Rufous Hummingbird, Virginia Rail, Savannah Sparrow, and Western Meadowlark.

For the day, though 62 species. We’re up to 90 species on the year. It was a good day.

== Michael Hobbs

Predawn Western Screech-Owl.  Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Predawn Western Screech-Owl.  Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Male Anna's Hummingbird.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Virginia Rail, earlier in the week.  Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Hermit Thrush.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Long-eared Owl.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Long-eared Owl.  Photo by Mason Flint

Anna's Hummingbird at nest.  Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Green Heron, during the week.  Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Male Rufous Hummingbird, during the week.  Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Report for March 22, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

It rained. Sometimes it was just wind-blown drizzle, sometimes it was just steady rain. Some birds sat, motionless and silent, as we walked past. Undoubtedly others took shelter where we could neither see nor hear them. There were exceptions – the RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS were singing and feeding as if they were too small for raindrops to hit. But it was mostly quiet and bird free. That said, we still managed 56 species, because we are doggedly determined, and Matt has good ears.


  • Cackling Goose – Flocks in large strings flying southeast again – too far to hear
  • Wood Duck – first since January – male at Rowing Club, female flying
  • Rufous Hummingbird – one male briefly seen by a couple of us.
  • Green Heron – first in six weeks – landed on beaver lodge again
  • Purple Finch – one singing male was our only finch of any kind
  • Savannah Sparrow – not back in numbers yet; one seen, East Meadow
  • Western Meadowlark – at least 1 singing, did a display flight too

The Rowing Club site was good to us, with WOOD DUCK, RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER and PACIFIC WREN all new for the day, plus our only views of HAIRY WOODPECKER and NORTHERN FLICKER (both previously heard).

We had a pretty good day for ducks with nine species, we had 3 species of gull, and 4 species of woodpecker, which made up for a poor showing by finches, plus many other “misses”. That said, the only birds I was really surprised we didn’t see were Violet-green Swallow and House Finch. And there may well have been Violet-greens flying overhead, but viewing conditions mostly left us at “white-bellied swallow”.

Earlier in the week, I did have HOUSE FINCH, as well as SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, and COOPER’S HAWK, both absent today.

Nothing new for the year today, though I had two BAND-TAILED PIGEONS last Saturday, which were new for 2018.

So, 56 species today, 59 species so far this week (starting Monday), and 93 species for 2018. I am almost dry.

== Michael Hobbs

Killdeer below weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

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

Downy Woodpecker on a Red Elderberry.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

In bad light, Anna's Hummingbirds show very little color.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for March 23, 2017                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

It was sunny with clouds, and an on-and-off (but mostly off) breeze today.  Lots of blue sky, and lots of birds.  We didn’t find any hoped-for Say’s Phoebes or Mountain Bluebirds, but we can’t complain!
  • Band-tailed Pigeon – 2 flybys - first of 2017
  • Rufous Hummingbird – Several – first of 2017 (seen earlier this week too)
  • Virginia Rail – Heard east of East Meadow – first for 2017 alive
  • TURKEY VULTURE – Four flying north, far to the west (possibly over SR-520) – first for 2017
  • Barn Owl – Seen over meadows east of WLSPkwy early
  • Great Horned Owl – Heard near concert venue early
  • Short-eared Owl – One hunting East Meadow, 6:15ish
  • Red-breasted Sapsucker – Ubiquitous
  • Northern Shrike – Watched a long chase (of a finch?) – unsuccessful I think
  • COMMON RAVEN – Two flew over Dog Meadow – first of 2017
  • Savannah Sparrow – Several – first of 2017 (seen earlier this week too)
For the day, we had 68 species, as well as a couple more that we probably heard (but didn’t hear a 2nd time).  For the week, at least 71 species.
= Michael Hobbs

Report for March 23, 2016                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

It was sunny with some clouds, and an on-and-off (but mostly off) breeze today. Lots of blue sky, and lots of birds. We didn’t find any hoped-for Say’s Phoebes or Mountain Bluebirds, but we can’t complain!


Band-tailed Pigeon - 2 flybys - first of 2017
Rufous Hummingbird - Several – first of 2017 (seen earlier this week too)
Virginia Rail - Heard east of East Meadow – first for 2017 (alive)
TURKEY VULTURE - Four flying north, far to the west (possibly over SR-520)
                                       First for 2017
Barn Owl - Seen over meadows east of WLS Pkwy early
Great Horned Owl - Heard near concert venue early
Short-eared Owl - One hunting East Meadow, 6:15ish
Red-breasted Sapsucker - Ubiquitous
Northern Shrike - Watched a long chase (of a finch?) – unsuccessful I think
COMMON RAVEN - Two flew over Dog Meadow – first of 2017
Savannah Sparrow - Several – first of 2017 (seen earlier this week too)

For the day, we had 68 species, as well as a couple more that we probably heard (but didn’t hear a 2nd time). For the week, at least 71 species.

== Michael Hobbs

In the field, the string of geese could not be identified beyond "white-cheeked" geese.  Close inspection of this photo, by Ollie Oliver, seems pretty convincing for
CACKLING GEESE based on short necks and tiny bills.

"Sooty" Fox Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.  (Stupid branch)

Male Spotted Towhee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Tree Swallows at the martin gourds.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Tree Swallow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Savannah Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Ollie Oliver played peek-a-boo with a juvenile White-crowned Sparrow to get this photo

Female Purple Finch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Coot.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Ring-necked Duck pair, with burgundy ring showing.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Ring-necked Duck.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Anna's Hummingbird on the nest at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Anna's Hummingbird on the nest at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for March 24, 2016                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

The weather wasn’t quite as nice as I’d hoped, as there were often fairly stiff breezes this morning, and no real sunshine. At least it wasn’t below freezing, nor precipitating. Meh, I shouldn’t complain. It WAS birdy.


- ducks -                         10 species, incl. at least 4 WOOD DUCKS
Green Heron                    Again along far side of slough
Band-tailed Pigeon           One flyover
Barn Owl                         One in East Meadow
Northern Saw-whet Owl  One heard around 5:45 a.m.
Red-breasted Sapsucker  3-4
Pileated Woodpecker       One
MERLIN                          One near concert stage at 7:00 a.m.
SAY’S PHOEBE             One in East Meadow
Bushtit                              One nest seen, very much out in the open...
Varied Thrush                   Two heard
Yellow-rumped Warbler    Several “Myrtles”, 1 singing “Audubon’s”
Savannah Sparrow            Singing in East Meadow
Lincoln’s Sparrow             One along east edge of East Meadow

After all the excitement at the park this week, there were no amazing birds today, but we did end up with 65 species. Nothing new today, per se, but SAVANNAH SPARROW was new this week, plus the earlier rarities – Burrowing Owl, Mountain Bluebird, and Common Redpoll – bring the 2016 list to 90 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Merlin.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Wood Duck with American Coots.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Rufous Hummingbird.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Greater Scaup.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Ring-necked Duck.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Brown Creeper.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Brown Creeper.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Western Meadowlark.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Western Meadowlark.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Say's Phoebe.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Say's Phoebe.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Glaucous-winged Gulls.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Up on the Viewing Mound.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Tree Swallows at box in Pea Patch, 2016-03-20.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Bewick's Wren at box in Pea Patch, 2016-03-20.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Special Report for Week 12, 2016                                                                                              Birding at Marymoor

The Patagonia Picnic Table Effect was in full force this week at Marymoor.  Rare birds attract birders who find other rare birds which attract even more birders who find more rare birds.

Of course, Marymoor is a great place for this, since it is a good place to find rarer birds anyways.  And Spring is a great time for this to occur.  Marymoor has seen more than it's share of "Eastern Washington" birds dropping in as Spring migrants.  This week was certainly no exception.

I guess it started with SAY'S PHOEBES.  We've had at least 3 individuals, and maybe one or two more, this March at Marymoor.  Say's Phoebes are seen annually in King County, but they usually don't linger at any one location.  This March at Marymoor, they've been reported on the 5th and 6th, every day from the 13th through the 17th, and the 20th, 21st, and 22nd.

I believe Bob Schmidt was looking for Say's Phoebe when he found Marymoor's second ever BURROWING OWL on the afternoon of March 20th.  This was a very exciting and very cooperative bird, as it sat in one spot for the entire afternoon and evening.  Many people were able to come and view the owl sitting on a sawn log next to some wood chips in the "compost piles" area.  This was just the 5th-ever Burrowing Owl for King County!

Unfortunately, the owl didn't stick around overnight, though quite a few birders came out to Marymoor over the next couple of days to look, including Barry Brugman and Adam Stopka, who found a COMMON REDPOLL on March 21st.  This is just the 3rd record for that species at Marymoor, the others being in 1996 and 2008.

The next day, March 22nd, Scott Ramos was at the park, hoping for the Burrowing Owl that wasn't there.  He did see Say's Phoebe, and couldn't find Common Redpoll, and was just about to head out when he spotted a male MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD.  Like Say's Phoebes, Mountain Bluebirds come through King County annually.  We've had at least one come through about every other year at Marymoor (only slightly less often than Say's Phoebe), so a rarer bird, if not truely rare.  But a beautiful sign of spring, and a really nice bird to find in Western Washington at any time.

We'll have to see what else comes by this spring - it's shaping up to be a good one!

= Michael Hobbs

Say's Phoebe, 2016-03-22.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Say's Phoebe, 2016-03-22.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Say's Phoebe, 2016-03-22.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Burrowing Owl, 2016-03-20.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Burrowing Owl, 2016-03-20.  Photo by Marc Hoffman

Burrowing Owl, 2016-03-20.  Photo by Ann Marie Woods

Common Redpoll, 2016-03-21.  Photo by Barry Brugman

Common Redpoll, 2016-03-21.  Photo by Barry Brugman

Common Redpoll, 2016-03-21.  Photo by Barry Brugman

Male Mountain Bluebird, 2016-03-22.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Male Mountain Bluebird, 2016-03-22.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Mountain Bluebird, 2016-03-22.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for March 19, 2015                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

It was overcast, but without precipitation this morning, and temps rose from 45 to 55 during the course of the morning, so conditions were certainly not unpleasant. It wasn’t terribly birdy, nor was it unusually quiet. I’m feeling like Spring really ought to be proceeding faster, but I always feel that way at this time of year; impatience on my part. Instead, we had a day with a more winter-season orientation, with good numbers of duck and gull species to pad our species total.


Wood Duck                      At least four in slough near lake, maybe 6 total
American Wigeon              One below weir – first since early February
Red-tailed Hawk               One sitting atop odd-snag nest west of park entrance
Virginia Rail                       Kik-kadik songs from east of East Meadow
Western Gull                     One, early, with flock of “Olympic” gulls
California Gull                   Growing numbers; 8-10
MOURNING DOVE       1 landed next to us near the concert venue – FOY
Barn Owl                          Matt heard young, saw adult enter/leave windmill
Rufous Hummingbird         First female seen, plus several males
MERLIN                          EXTREMELY far off to the west
Northern Shrike                Seen early from Viewing Mound
Purple Finch                      Seemed especially numerous and widespread today
Red Crossbill                    38 in one flock. Flock(s) seen several times

At the heronry, many herons were sitting on nests, as if on eggs. While we again saw many BALD EAGLES, we didn’t observe as many occurrences of herons flushing from the nests as we did last week.

For the day, 64 species. Adding MOURNING DOVE, our year list is up to 87.

== Michael Hobbs

Mourning Dove.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Singing "Oregon" Dark-eyed Junco.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red Crossbill.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red Crossbill.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Anna's Hummingbird, showing how the fuscia gorget can look black.
Photo by Bob Asanoma

Chestnut-backed Chickadee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Adult California Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

First-winter Mew Gull.  Photo by Marvin Hoekstra

Golden-crowned Kinglet.  Photo by Marvin Hoekstra

Pied-billed Grebe.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Photo by Bob Asanoma

Marsh Wren, 2015-03-13.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Marsh Wren, 2015-03-13.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Anna's Hummingbird, feeding a baby, 2015-03-13.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Northern Shoveler, 2015-03-13.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for March 21, 2014                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

We had a nippy start (30 degrees), but there was a lot of blue sky this morning, and the fog was thin, and the wind light. It made for a rather pleasant day at the park, and it felt fairly birdy even though the species count took its time in climbing.


Wood Duck                                  Pair across slough in perfect light
TURKEY VULTURE                   Flying north over Rowing Club – First of Year
Sharp-shinned Hawk                     Juvenile hunting swallows
California Gull                               Probably 70+ in large gull flock
Anna’s Hummingbird                     Female on nest south of Dog Area
Rufous Hummingbird                     Female near old Rowing Club building
Red-breasted Sapsucker              Pair again at Rowing Club
Savannah Sparrow                        1 in East Meadow
WH.-THROATED SPARROW   2+ just east of Rowing Club parking lot Western Meadowlark                   2 in East Meadow

Denis DeSilvis let me know that he and the UW Retirees birder group had found an ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD nest a little south of the south gate out of the Dog Area yesterday. We tried to relocate the nest without success, until one person spotted a female Anna’s foraging. It was then a matter simply of watching and waiting for her to return to the nest. Voila. The nest is 18-20 feet up a mult-stemmed small tree on the east side of the trail. It’s fairly easy to view once you know where it is, but it would be devilishly hard to find if you weren’t following mamma home.

Big misses today included Downy Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, and Bushtit. Sapsucker and flicker were our only woodpeckers. Consistent with recent weeks, but different from previous years, we had no Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, Pine Siskin, nor American Goldfinch.

We did manage 57 species, though, and Turkey Vulture was new for the year to bring our year total to 91 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Male Wood Duck.  Note beaver workings behind.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Wood Duck pair.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Pied-billed Grebe  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Common Merganser.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Anna's Hummingbird on the nest.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Anna's Hummingbird on the nest.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Tree Swallows moving in to Purple Martin gourds.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Tree Swallow at Purple Martin gourds.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Savannah Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

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

We count all the birds we can see in, over, *or from* the park.  Which means we squint at light poles over SR-520 to find the Rock Pigeons.  This shot is very zoomed in, and gives a better view than we get through binoculars.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Female Rufous Hummingbird.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

White-throated Sparrow at Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-tailed Hawk over Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Turkey Vulture over Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for March 21, 2013                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

It was breezy at times, with broken overcast, and it couldn’t be called warm this morning. But we had a good day. The 7:00 a.m. start time was slightly optimistic, so we began by looking at the ducks, and then the gulls on the grass soccer fields. While doing that, we spotted what appeared to be a meadowlark, which drew us further east. While trying to get a look at the meadowlark, I spotted a shrike beyond the Compost Piles. So we ended up deciding to do the walk backwards. It’s very strange for us to do that, as we’ve done about 1000 trips counter-clockwise versus less than ten, probably, in the opposite direction.


Greater White.-fronted Goose     3 with Canadas near park entrance
Cackling Goose                           Around 100 flew overhead
American Wigeon                        1 in slough below weir, Matt heard more
Greater Scaup                             1 female at weir
Lesser Scaup                               Male and female at weir
Great Blue Heron                         Much carrying about of sticks
Cooper’s Hawk                           Juvenile, 2 sightings
Western Gull                                1 with Mew, California, and Glaucous-winged
Rufous Hummingbird                    2+, males
Red-breasted Sapsucker              Two, one drumming, south Dog Meadow
Hairy Woodpecker                      One near park office
PEREGRINE FALCON              One over park office, flew north
Northern Shrike                           One NE corner of East Meadow
Violet-green Swallow                   Many near weir – first of spring
Varied Thrush                              One near windmill
Townsend’s Warbler                    One near windmill
SAVANNAH SPARROW          One at East Kiosk – first of spring
WESTERN MEADOLARK        Three north of fields 7-8-9
BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD One near weir – first of spring
Red Crossbills                              Heard near weir
CHICKEN                                  A very tame hen was near the windmill

Matt & I thought we heard a DUNLIN pre-dawn while failing to see any owls.  Other misses included Hooded Merganser, Ring-billed Gull, White-crowned Sparrow, and House Finch. Also, we were very much hoping for Say’s Phoebe or Mountain Bluebird, as this is the best week of the year for both of those species, but we were disappointed.

Still, we had 68 species today! New this week were Rufous Hummingbird, Violet-green Swallow, Savannah Sparrow, and Brown-headed Cowbird, to bring our 2013 list to 92 species. Plus the chicken.

== Michael Hobbs

Red Junglefowl, subspeces domesticus, female, near windmill.
New bird species for the park list :)

Mallard pair, 2013-03-16.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for March 22, 2012                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

We had a delightful morning under mostly sunny skies today. It was chilly, especially early, and it still doesn't feel much like spring at all. Spring arrivals are slow in coming, and we're all impatient. But there was plenty to see today anyway.


Great Blue Heron            New heronry at Dog Central has 8 nests
Bald Eagle                       New nest being built southeast of model airplane field,
                                        visible from East Meadow
Northern Harrier             Nice male
California Gull                 Large flock w/ R.-billed and Glaucous-winged ~7:00 am
Barn Owl                        East Meadow, around 6:30 a.m. - great looks
Red-breasted Sapsucker Drumming, good looks near park office
Hairy Woodpecker         Pair seen from Rowing Club dock
Violet-green Swallow      First of spring - about 3 over slough
Northern Shrike              1 still around
Varied Thrush                 Just south of windmill
Cedar Waxwing              Only 1 or 2 remain
Townsend's Warbler       One near concert stage just after 7:00 am
RED CROSSBILL         About six were calling and flitting near mansion

Yesterday, a male RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was doing J-displays in the Big Cottonwood Forest.

On Monday, there were four WESTERN MEADOWLARK in the East Meadow.

Last Friday, there were six DUNLIN a the flooded pond in the grass/gravel parking lot north of the grass soccer fields.

For the day, 61 species! For the year, adding DUNLIN, RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD,  and VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW, I think that makes 92 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Male Common Goldeneye.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Northern Harrier (bottom), with Bald Eagle behind.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Tree Swallow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Tree Swallow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk taking flight.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Western Meadowlark, East Meadow, late afternoon.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Green-winged Teal at the Rowing Club, 2012-03-21.  Photos by Ollie Oliver

After the male's posing (left), the female flaps her wings

Note her very vertical pose, and how she is almost out of the water

Her wings remain raised even when folded afterwards

Looking up at a Steller's Jay, 2012-03-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Common Goldeneye and male Common Merganser, 2012-03-21.
Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-breasted Sapsucker, 2012-03-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Flowering Cherry, 2012-03-21. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Dunlin, 2012-03-16.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Dunlin, 2012-03-16.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Dunlin, 2012-03-16.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Eastern Cottontail, 2012-03-16.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for March 24, 2011                                                                                                                           Birding at Marymoor

We had a really nice day today at Marymoor, though we were all a bit impatient to get spring birds back.  Things were just a little slow in that regard.  But we had good weather improving to great weather during the morning, and we certainly had a lot of bird song.


Cackling Goose               1 or more flocks of ~25 overhead
Green Heron                    1 glimpsed across from Rowing Club dock
Sharp-shinned Hawk       At least 1
Coopers Hawk                 More than 1
Barn Owl                         GREAT LOOKS, East Meadow, 6:15ish
Rufous Hummingbird      1 male at south end of East Meadow
Salmonberry                    First blossoms of the year, at Rowing Club
Red-breasted Sapsucker 3 together near start of boardwalk
Common Raven               1 east of Rowing Club, had 2 on Saturday
Bushtit                             Ubiquitous.  Really!
Ruby-crowned Kinglet     Ubiquitous, just not quite so many
American Robin               See above note for Bushtit...  times 2
Townsend's Warbler       1 NE of mansion, 1 nearby dead
Lincoln's Sparrow            After the walk, 1 at Compost Piles

In the pre-dawn darkness, we may also have had a Short-eared Owl, but we could not confirm.  But a BARN OWL made some really close approaches just before First Crow.

The RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was seen feeding on Tall Oregon Grape that I think was planted at the south end of the East Meadow.

A RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER was drumming again on a light just east of the mansion at around 7:20.  Later, near the start of the boardwalk, there was a big commotion amongst 3 sapsuckers.  At the other end of the boardwalk, there was a similar commotion amongst 3 NORTHERN FLICKERS.

BUSHTITS really were everywhere.   I'm going to have a very hard time guessing how many we saw, total, since it was clear that we were pacing a flock for a long time (or vice versa).  But we had them everywhere, just about, so there must have been many flocks.

Singing/displaying/drumming  birds included Ring-necked Pheasant, Anna's Hummingbird, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, Black-capped Chickadee, Bewick's Wren, Pacific Wren, Marsh Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, American Robin, Varied Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Spotted Towhee, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Purple Finch, House Finch, and Pine Siskin.  There was a Red-tailed Hawk sitting atop the odd-snag nest, and Tree Swallows were visiting the nest boxes in the East Meadow and Community Gardens.

There were two WESTERN MEADOWLARKS in the East Meadow yesterday, but none today.

For the day, 62 species.  Common Raven and Rufous Hummingbird were new for
the year, bringing the 2011 total to 90.

== Michael Hobbs

Uncredited photos by Michael Hobbs

American Goldfinches

Male American Goldfinch.  Photo by Lillian Reis

"Audubon's" race Yellow-rumped Warbler.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Male "Audubon's" Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler photo by Brian Bell

Male Spotted Towhee

Female Townsend's Warbler found dead on the lawn

New beaver lodge on bank of slough across from windmill

Flowering Tall Oregon Grape

First Salmonberry blooms of the year, at the Rowing Club

Report for March 25, 2010

Fifteen of us trudged around Marymoor today.  It was cold and dark and breezy and wet.   Not terrible, but not very nice either.  Certainly nothing like the last couple of balmy days.   Oh, if only we'd had yesterday's weather!   Not too terribly birdy, but we managed to see quite a lot.


Greater White-fronted Goose   1 with Canadas flying
Wilson's Snipe                          3 near weir
Anna's Hummingbird                 Female on nest NE of mansion
Red-breasted Sapsucker           2-3 seen, pair at possible nest site
Hairy Woodpecker                   Male checking out 2009 nest hole
Northern Shrike                       1 south of the model airplane field
Yellow-rumped Warbler           Both races,  increasing numbers
Fox Sparrow                           A few singing
Lincoln's Sparrow                    One at Compost Piles
White-crowned Sparrow          Singing pugetensis
American Goldfinch                  One bright yellow male

Yesterday, Lillian Reis photographed a TURKEY VULTURE overhead.

Also yesterday, I had a male NORTHERN SHOVELER, and two BAND-TAILED PIGEON,  both new for the year.

This week added seven species to the park 2010 list:  Northern Shoveler, Turkey Vulture, Band-tailed Pigeon, Say's Phoebe, Violet-green Swallow, Townsend's Solitaire, and Savannah Sparrow, to bring the park year list up to 86 species.

== Michael

Golden-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Lillian Reis, 3/24/10

"Myrtle's" Yellow-rumped Warbler.  Photo by Lillian Reis, 3/24/10

Turkey Vulture.  Photo by Lillian Reis, 3/24/10

Adult male, 1st winter male, and female Common Goldeneye.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Rufous Hummingbird in the rain.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Anna's Hummingbird on the nest.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Hairy Woodpecker checking out last year's nest hole

Snail on the path.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Another of Lillian's photos of the Turkey Vulture, 3/24/10

Report for March 21, 2010


I went out very briefly on Friday, March 19, and found a TOWNSEND'S SOLITAIRE working the fence line between the East Meadow and the Dog Meadow.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera with me.  This was only the 2nd time I've ever seen Townsend's Solitaire at Marymoor Park.  The other time was also March 19, but way back in 1998.  I also had first-of-the-year SAVANNAH SPARROWS in the East Meadow.  Brian Bell tried to find the solitaire later in the morning, but came up empty.  He did see the first VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS of the year, though.

Saturday afternoon, I spent a couple of hours cleaning out garbage, and managed to extract about 10 bags of dog poop that people had flung into the woods.  I also gathered several bottles and cans, a couple of coffee cups, and a garbage can lid that was floating in the lake, as well as assorted other crap.  There weren't very many birds about.

Today, I made another brief morning stop and found a SAY'S PHOEBE in the East Meadow.  This is right on schedule for them, as they annually (or almost annually) pass through Marymoor, usually during Week 12, which started Friday.   I also had a large flock (40+) of Violet-green Swallows.  Others who followed up on my reports found TWO phoebes, as well as two lingering NORTHERN SHRIKE.  Based on past years, the shrikes should stick around for 2-3 more weeks before heading north.

== Michael

Northern Shrike.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Say's Phoebe.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Say's Phoebe.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for March 19, 2009

A drizzly day, but pretty nice despite that.  It only really rained for a few minutes as we were going around the mansion.  Not too cold, not too windy, but not feeling totally spring-like either.  Yesterday was "springier".   Something like 17 people, so a big group today.


Green Heron                    Brian had one south of the East Meadow early
Western Screech-Owl      Matt and Scott had one pre-dawn
Downy Woodpecker       Two males sparring
Hairy Woodpecker          One along the slough
SAY'S PHOEBE             One at the N end of the East Meadow, flew east
Northern Shrike               North of fields 7-8-9
Violet-green Swallow       Brian had them Tuesday, more today
Varied Thrush                  Heard near mansion, seen near RC dock and forest
Yellow-rumped Warbler  At least 1 alternate-plumage male Audubon's
Purple Finch                     Many singing

More than 1/3 of all of the SAY'S PHOEBE sightings for Marymoor Park have occurred in Week 12 (the week that started today), so it was not too terribly surprising to find one in the East Meadow, where most sightings have occurred.  It gave us distant looks before flying over towards the model airplane field.

Still a lot of "winter" birds around - 4 species of gull, 8 species of duck, lots of FOX SPARROWS, quite a few GOLDEN-CROWEND SPARROWS, etc.  Spring birds still scarce - couldn't even find a Tree Swallow today, though I'd bet there were a few there somewhere.

For the day, 59 species. For the year, 89 species (assuming I can count...)

== Michael

Two male Downy Woodpeckers were doing a lot of posing

Ollie Oliver caught them in a different tree a minute later, still at it.

The Say's Phoebe in the East Meadow only stayed around for a minute...

...before flying east towards the model airplane field

Ollie Oliver's photo of an adult Mew Gull

Ollie's photo of Mew Gulls in flight.  Note the large size of the white "windows"
on the wing-tips, most visible on the bottom bird.  This is characteristic of Mews.

Ollie's photo of a Red-tailed Hawk in a London Plain tree along the road

Ollie's photo of the Northern Shrike north of fields 7-8-9

Ollie's photo of Gadwall on the grass fields.
Note that female Gadwall have white bellies, unlike Mallards.

Male Hooded Merganser at the Rowing Club pond, getting his first breeding plumage.
This guy was born last year, and has been in plumage similar to a female until now.

Ollie went back in the early evening as the American Crows were heading to roost

The American Crows landed temporarily in the birch at the edge of the East Meadow

Report for March 20, 2008

Thirteen of us enjoyed a nice morning at Marymoor today.  It started out almost sunny and somewhat cool.  The clouds moved in, and the wind picked up, but it was fine weather really.  Quite birdy early on, with some activity all morning.


Matt (Bartels) and Matt (Dufort) had BARN OWL both near the concert stage and over the East Meadow early.

A very cooperative WILSON'S SNIPE, spotted by Sharron below the weir, stayed in one place for minutes, allowing everyone a great look.

VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS were often overhead.  We also had 2-3 TREE SWALLOWS, including two on snags across the slough, where there might be nesting possibilities.

Three times we saw AMERICAN CROW with nesting materials.

Several DOWNY WOODPECKERS gave us good looks. I think all were male - hard to know if we saw 3 or 1 thrice...

The male RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD was (eventually) at his post, and we had two male ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRDS, one near the mansion and one at the Rowing Club.

About fifteen CEDAR WAXWINGS were eating hawthorn berries at the south end of the East Meadow.   They were first seen there yesterday.

Scott Ramos had a WESTERN MEADOWLARK in the East Meadow, but it had moved on by the time the rest of us got there.

A RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH was excavating a possible nesting hole NE of the mansion

At the Rowing Club, a RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER was drumming on a metal sign - it was clinging to the wooden post and drumming on the back.  After a bit, it flew across the street where there were 2 more RBSAs.  There was what appeared to be a war over territory and/or mate going on.  Menage a trois not tollerated.


Yesterday, around 5:00, there was a TURKEY VULTURE making speedy progress to the north.

For the day, 61 species.  Cedar Waxwing and Turkey Vulture new for the week.

== Michael

Red-breasted Nuthatch female excavating a possible nest hole in a
Douglas Fir snag, northeast of Clise Mansion.  Left photo by Ollie Oliver

Ring-necked Duck male, Green-winged Teal pair, (female partially obscured).
Photo from the Rowing Club by Ollie Oliver, 2008-03-11

Ring-necked Duck male showing his namesake burgundy neck ring,
while preening at the Rowing Club, photo by Ollie Oliver, 2008-03-11

Fox Sparrow

Male Downy Woodpecker photo by Ollie Oliver.

Red-breasted Sapsucker drumming on metal sign near the entrance to the Rowing Club.

Note how the white wing bars become white headlights in flight.
 An incoming sapsucker can present an aggressive appearance
when coming at you.  This bird flew across the street to challenge a rival.

Report for March 22, 2007

The weather really wasn't too bad.  Oh, it rained for about 4 of
the 6 hours we were there, but it was always a light rain or drizzle.  We
had some sun mid-morning.  No wind, and it wasn't too dark most of the day.
A dozen birders had quite a bit to see.


WOOD DUCK                   First of the year, near lake
Wilson's Snipe                     Gave us great looks below weir
Great Horned Owl               Seen NE of mansion
Anna's Hummingbird            2
Rufous Hummingbird           At least 3 males
Red-breasted Sapsucker     One drumming near park office
Northern Shrike                   Adult north of grass soccer fields
N. Rough-winged Swallow   Brian reported 1 amongst hoards of lake swallows
Barn Swallow                       I had one late near the new dock
Orange-crowned Warbler    Great looks at one near weir
Pine Siskin                            Seen at several places - they're BACK

The BALD EAGLES have not been at the new nest recently.  I don't know if
they've given up the idea or what.  We did see a pair of eagles at the lake,
within sight of the nest.

The WILSON'S SNIPE was about 30 yards north of the weir, at the near edge of the water (very close to the trail).  It eventually hopped about 10 feet
further away to where it was somewhat hidden.  Even so, it gave us great

I had not seen the NORTHERN SHRIKE in several visits since last Thursday.
I'd pretty much given up and assumed it had left, when Ollie called out that
he'd spotted it.  It spent at least 15-20 minutes in the area just north of
fields 7-8-9.

The BARN SWALLOW at the lake was quite ratty.  Could it be going though body moult now?

Two BROWN CREEPERS were chasing each other around near the park office.  One spent quite a while checking out some interesting places where the bark was separated from a tree.  I think nesting possibilities were definitely in mind.

Lots of YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, including a breeding plumage male AUDUBON'S.   Yesterday, I saw a definite MYRTLE'S, so both are around (though most seem to be Audubon's).  We heard some YRWA song today too.

All of the FOX SPARROWS appeared to be SOOTY.  Some were singing.

Bruce and a few others found a SLATE-COLORED JUNCO, as well as a female that was probably also of that subspecies.

For the day, 64 species.  Wood Duck, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, and Barn Swallow were new for the year (the OCWA was our first sighting of the year, but we'd heard one previously).  The year list is now at 92 species.

== Michael Hobbs


Bird Sightings Week 12
March 19-25*     *adjust by 1 day in leap years



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