Friends of Marymoor Park


Bird Sightings Week 13
March 26 - April 1*


Rarities for Week 13:

Long-eared Owl 26-Mar-09 Perched 100 ft east of the weir, low in a tree, all morning. Puffed out in the cold, looking more like a Great Horned Owl by shape.
Anna's Hummingbird x
Rufous Hummingbird hybrid
30-Mar-10 Male reported and photographed by Mike Hamilton, Rowing Club

...Anna's Hummingbird x
Rufous Hummingbird hybrid

Bohemian Waxwing 28-Mar-12 One bird with a large flock of Cedar Waxwings.  Observed 28-Feb through 10-Apr
American Tree Sparrow 29-Mar-06 Compost Piles
Sagebrush Sparrow 29-Mar-07 Compost Piles - seen again every day through 02-Apr

...Sagebrush Sparrow

30-Mar-07 Matt Dufort, Paul & Barbara, Louise Rutter

...Sagebrush Sparrow

31-Mar-07 Caren Park

...Sagebrush Sparrow

01-Apr-07 Brian Bell, Ryan Merrill, John Tubbs
"Slate-colored" Fox Sparrow 31-Mar-06 "Rocky-mountain group" subspecies. Reported by Larry Engles

Report for March 28, 2024                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

We mostly dodged the rain this morning, though it was overcast, a touch breezy, and changeable, with temps spanning the 40's.  Seemed pretty birdy, but the bird list was very similar to last week's.  There was no sign of Say's Phoebe (seen 3/23-3/26) nor Black Phoebe (photographed 3/24).

  • Greater White-fronted Goose - The two remain at the park.  Seen on grass soccer fields, and later at the lake
  • Anna's Hummingbird - Found a female on a nest above the Rowing Club parking lot
  • Short-billed Gull - Adults and juveniles on grass soccer fields.  First in 4 weeks.  A few tend to turn up through April
  • Great Horned Owl - Again heard calling just pre-dawn from the southeast.  Tony saw a large owl from the boardwalk earlier, probably the same
  • Merlin - Quick flyby - our 5th survey this year (5 of 13 weeks)
  • Hutton's Vireo - Again, heard singing near the windmill
  • Violet-Green/Tree Swallows - Very numerous, mostly VGSW
  • White-crowned Sparrow - First singing of the year - Pugetensis song
  • White-throated Sparrow - STILL near Dog Swim Beaches 2-3
  • Savannah Sparrow - First singing of the year
  • Brown-headed Cowbird - Tony heard and photographed a male, First of Year (FOY)
I was at the park briefly yesterday, and had KILLDEER and WESTERN MEADOWLARK, both of which we missed today.

Missed both days:  Common Goldeneye, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Shrike, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Purple Finch.

For the day, 61 species.  Adding BHCO, we're at 86 species for the year.

= Michael Hobbs

The first Brown-headed Cowbird of the year. Photo by Tony Ernst

Male Rufous Hummingbird feeding on Red Flowering Currant. Photo by Tony Ernst

Report for March 30, 2023                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

Not a bad day, with temps in the 40's, partly sunny skies, and with winds only coming in sporadic gusts.  Most of the time, though, it felt like we were watching reruns of the last three weeks at the park, only with fewer birds.  Except for American Robins which remain superabundant.  We did end up with some highlights, but they mostly came late.

  • Turkey Vulture - one seen from the Rowing Club - First of Year (FOY)
  • Five Woodpecker Day - Third time this month
  • Three Species of Finch - House, Purple, American Goldfinch.  But a total of under 10 finches total
  • Savannah Sparrow - Matt heard some singing this morning, though the rest of us found none
During a late scan of the lake, I spotted a passerine flying east-to-west across the north end of the lake.  I was trying to figure out if it was a swallow or perhaps a robin when it landed on a buoy, and then quickly moved to another, and then to a post.  It turned out to be a SAY'S PHOEBE (FOY)  Quite a surprise to see it flying across the lake!  It disappeared amongst the docks and boats of the condos on the west side of the lake, between Marymoor and Idlywood Parks.  It was visible from the Lake Platform while it flew, and it could end up visiting the meadows at Marymoor this afternoon.

Just before 7:00 I saw at least 5 American Beaver, simultaneously, from the Lake Platform.  Earlier, Matt saw a Virginia Opossum, a species we see only about once a year at the park.

Misses today included Rufous Hummingbird (though I saw one yesterday), Cooper's Hawk, Northern Shrike, and Pine Siskin

Besides the RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, the other two species I saw yesterday but not today were BELTED KINGFISHER and WESTERN MEADOWLARK (the latter at the model airplane field).

I belatedly realized that today's survey starts the 30th year of our weekly visits to Marymoor Park.  I went on March 31, 1994 and decided to go back the following week, and the week after that, and so on, and so on, and so on.  I had only visited a few weeks each spring in the four prior years, and decided it might be a good idea to find out what's there the rest of the year.  Since then, we have missed very few weeks (average is over 51 weeks each year), and we are closing in on 1500 surveys (plus a couple of hundred additional visits to the park).   Brian Bell and Matt Bartels have done a great job filling in for me during the few weeks per year that I am out of town.  

= Michael Hobbs

Male Wood Duck with Painted Turtle at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Distant Turkey Vulture showing silver-grey primaries and secondaries.
Photo by Michael Hobbs

Report for March 31, 2022                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

A beautiful day, not too cold or windy, partly sunny, spring-like.  And there were plenty of birds.  They just weren’t cooperative.
How uncooperative?  Well, there were SEVEN new birds for the year (FOY), but here’s the rundown:
  • Red-necked Grebe – I had one on a late solo scan of the lake (FOY)
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove – One seen by a few of us very distantly (FOY)
  • Greater Yellowlegs – One seen by Eric on the grass fields just a little after 7 a.m.  Eric was alone (FOY)
  • Turkey Vulture – I had one over the East Meadow after the walk on a solo jaunt (FOY)
  • American Kestrel – I had a female at the model airplane field just before 7 a.m. on a solo jaunt (FOY)
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – One singing, heard-only, east of the East Footbridge.  Several of us heard this bird (FOY)
  • Common Yellowthroat – One sang 2-3 times, far east of the Viewing Mound, and barely heard by about 3 of us (FOY)
That’s about 2 people per FOY species today...
The Greater Yellowlegs was the earliest spring sighting ever.
Other highlights:
  • Canada Goose – seem to be intent on nesting on the western Osprey platform
  • Anna’s Hummingbird – active nest near start of boardwalk
  • Violet-green and Tree Swallows – hundreds
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet – MUCH singing
  • Cedar Waxwing – flock of around 20
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – dozens of “Audubon’s”, with much singing
Misses today included Cooper’s Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, and Pine Siskin
For the day, 67 species, of which about 10 (!) were reported only by single observers.  We’re at 94 species for 2022 for the survey.
= Michael Hobbs

Say's Phoebe, 2022-03-26
Photographed by Shamik Ghosh,

Western Screech-Owl, 2022-03-26
Photographed by Shamik Ghosh

Report for April 1, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

We had a really good day at Marymoor, and that’s no fooling.  It was a crisp 35 degrees to start, but the sun made its way through the thin overcast and by 9:00 we were too warm.  Lots to look at today.  Listening to birds was hampered by the American Robin Tabernacle Choir belting out all of their famous hits at full volume.  We were a big group, and Jordan again volunteered to lead a group going the other direction around the loop.
  • Greater White-fronted Goose – Jordan’s group had one with a flock of Canadas.  We’ve only ever had 4 later spring sightings
  • Cackling Goose – Also with that flock of Canadas.  Jordan said that these had extra large areas of white on the neck
  • Ten species of duck – again
  • CALIFORNIA QUAIL – predawn, Matt and I heard and then saw a male along the southwest edge of the East Meadow.  First of Year (FOY)
  • TURKEY VULTURE – Jordan’s group had one over the Lake Platform.  Hours later, my group had one over the Rowing Club.  (FOY)
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – My group saw one over the Pea Patch.   Some people from Jordan’s group had one too.
  • Varied Thrush – Jordan’s group had one
  • Cedar Waxwing – my group had a small flock
  • AMERICAN PIPIT – my group had one on the grass in the Dog Meadow.  (FOY)
  • American Goldfinch – after a 3-week absence, we had these in several locations, including some singing.  Males are turning bright
  • Savannah Sparrow – several birds in East Meadow, one in Pea Patch.  First songs
  • WHITE-THROATED SPARROW – my group had 2 birds (I think, with one being very drab) next to Dog Central
  • White-crowned Sparrow – Pea Patch, among other places.  Jordan’s group heard both Pugetensis and Gambeli songs
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – some singing, some nice Audubon’s males
  • Townsend’s Warbler – two singing near stage – got looks at one.  Songs sounded weak, and more like Black-throated Gray
Misses today included Virginia Rail, Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Shrike*, and Western Meadowlark. 
Jordan’s group had 56 species, my group had 61 species though several were heard-only.  Combined, we had 70 species. 
*Yesterday, I was there in the afternoon, and picked up three additional species:  One BAND-TAILED PIGEON (FOY), one MERLIN, and one NORTHERN SHRIKE, to make 73 species for the week!
I think we’re at 96 species for the year.
= Michael Hobbs

Male Purple Finch. Photo by Michael Hobbs

Anna's Hummingbird on her nest, earlier this week.
Photo by Kazuto Shibata

Report for March 26, 2020                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

I had heard the park was closing due to COVID-19, so I parked outside the East Entrance and walked in. Mark and Lee did that as well, but they walked the loop in the opposite direction. The weather was meh; not spring-like at all. The walk was long and lonely.

It was weird to walk the park almost entirely alone. There were maybe 7 dog people the whole morning, plus me, Mark & Lee, Kazuto & Peter Zika (both predawn only), and one or two photographers, as well as several county employees.

I had 56 species, including the Western Screech-Owl that Kazuto found for me. Peter Zika added Barn Owl. Mark & Lee had fewer total species, but added EIGHT to the day’s combined total of 65 species. Our only misses were Red-tailed Hawk and American Goldfinch.

New for the year were CALIFORNIA QUAIL (heard by Mark & Lee across from Dog Central), MARSH WREN (several singing), and SAVANNAH SPARROW (I actually had one on Tuesday for FOY).

Still no Osprey, Say’s Phoebe, swallows other that Tree/Violet-green, Mountain Bluebird, American Pipit (though I might have heard one), Orange-crowned Warbler, nor Common Yellowthroat, all of which are on-the-cusp, or might be no-shows (phoebe & bluebird).

Stay home, stay safe.

= Michael Hobbs

Report for March 28, 2019                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

A touch of frost in shadowed areas this morning, but the day warmed quickly under mostly sunny skies. It was quite birdy early, but then got inexplicably quiet. We are transitioning from winter to spring, though we lacked any new-new-new arrivals (everything new for the Survey was seen between last Thursday and this Thursday)


  • American Wigeon – one below weir with Gadwall
  • Ring-necked Pheasant – calling, skulking, in Pea Patch
  • Horned Grebe – one WELL out on lake
  • Rufous Hummingbird – At least 2 females, plus displaying males – first seen for the year last Friday
  • Great Blue Heron – two juvenile eagles caused consternation at the heronry
  • Red-tailed Hawk – seen copulating near Rowing Club
  • Bald Eagle – there are now TWO Bald Eagle nests (four adults) in the SE portion of the park!
  • Western Screech-Owl – seen as late as 6:20 a.m.
  • Five woodpecker dayPileated seen excavating nest hole in snag in Big Cottonwood Forest
  • Savannah Sparrow – First sightings for Thursday survey of the year, incl. one quietly singing in East Meadow

Every passerine species we saw today sang (except those passerines that don’t have a real song).

We saw a beaver near the lodge across from Dog Central. Some of the group saw a LONG-TAILED WEASEL go into a lidded bin in the Pea Patch. A rat tried to escape, screaming, and was pulled back into the bin! Also, the first garter snakes of the year, and the first Salmonberry blooms. Willows, Indian Plum, and some decorative fruit trees were also blooming. Various shrubs are leafing out.

For the day, 58 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Green-winged Teal drake.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Juvenile Bald Eagle in the heronry.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Fox Sparrow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Golden-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Hairy Woodpecker.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Male Pileated Woodpecker.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Red-tailed Hawk.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Tree Swallows.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Report for March 29, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

We faced only a little mizzle, which dampened down the bird activity for a touch, but mostly it was a really nice morning. Fairly birdy too.


  • American Wigeon – three below weir
  • Red-breasted Sapsuckers – drumming, excavating, flirting
  • Anna’s Hummingbird – female on her nest along the slough near the start of the boardwalk
  • Rufous Hummingbird – still no blooming Salmonberry, but already there are several males, displaying
  • Western Screech-Owl – called from near the “Mysterious Thicket” sign about 6:15am
  • Hutton’s Vireo – seen, heard again near windmill
  • Savannah Sparrow – first time we’ve heard them sing at Marymoor this year
  • American Goldfinch – 2 or 3 males, one singing – First for 2018
  • Western Meadowlark – at least one singing

Wednesday, I did about a 2 1/4 hour walk at Marymoor and found 5 species we didn’t have today: WESTERN GREBE, VIRGINIA RAIL (heard only), AMERICAN COOT, COOPER’S HAWK, and the first OSPREY of 2018.

For the day, we had 64 species, with 69 for the week. I think the addition of OSPREY and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH gets us to 91 species for 2018.

== Michael Hobbs

This Green Heron seems to spend part of every morning on the beaver lodge across the slough from Dog Central.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Northern Flicker.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Adult Bald Eagle.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Tree Swallows.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Female Anna's Hummingbird on the nest.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Anna's Hummingbird. Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for March 30, 2017                                                                                       Birding at Marymoor

It was overcast, with annoying drops of water occasionally landing almost exclusively on binocular eyepieces this morning. Nothing you could really call precipitation, so it was easy to forget to put the rain cap back over the binocs. For birds, it was a pretty good day. A couple of mammal sightings were possibly the best highlights though.


OSPREY – at least one – first for 2017|
Red-tailed Hawk – one on new nest built near site of fallen odd-snag
Western Screech-Owl – one right next to the trail, east of boardwalk, 6:15
Short-eared Owl – one briefly over East Meadow, 6:20
Red-breasted Sapsucker – several
Pileated Woodpecker – finally got a distant look, after hearing several times
Northern Shrike – Seen a couple of times; should leave soon
American Crow – one eating a baby garter snake, Compost Piles

After the walk, I made a swing past the East Meadow and added:

SAY’S PHOEBE – north end of the meadow on a post; new for 2017
BARN SWALLOW – first for 2017, and our 5th earliest ever

The animal highlights were great looks at a LONG-TAILED WEASEL in the NW corner of the Dog Area, and soon after, a RIVER OTTER on the far side of the slough just above the weir. Both new for 2017. The weasel was great, since it made at least 3 forays out from the same blackberry clump across the grass.

For the day, 63 species of bird. I believe we’re up to 97 species for the year.

== Michael Hobbs

One of several Red-breasted Sapsuckers for the day.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Long-tailed Weasel.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Diving River Otter.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Rufous Hummingbird.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Rufous Hummingbird.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Bald Eagle on distant nest (SE of Viewing Mound).  Photo by Bob Asanoma

American Crow eating a baby Garter Snake.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for March 31, 2016                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

A glorious day today, with great weather (after some early morning fog, and a touch of a cold start), and some really good birding. I apparently misread the sunrise times, so we started a half-hour too soon, but with the clear sunny morning, this wasn’t a problem. Long before dawn, Matt saw BARN OWL near the windmill, and got what sounded like a great look at a NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL near the east end of the boardwalk. This is later than we’ve ever had NSWO in spring at Marymoor.

And on this date in 1994, I started my weekly surveys. Today, we started our 23rd year.

Other highlights:

Wood Duck                    2 pairs in Big Cottonwood Forest calling from trees!
OSPREY                        They’re back – the pair has returned – lots of calling
Bald Eagle                       On the nest, plus several others
Red-tailed Hawk             On nests both at east edge and west of the park
Eurasian Collared-Dove   One perched briefly in Big Cottonwood Forest – FOY Anna’s Hummingbird       Female on nest in Big Cottonwood Forest
- all 5 woodpeckers -      Lots of action from sapsuckers, Downys, pair of Hairys
Bushtit                             We’ve now found at least 2 nests
Marsh Wren                    One building a nest along boardwalk
Varied Thrush                  One heard near East Footbridge
Common Yellowthroat     Male at Rowing Club – First of Year
EVENING GROSBEAK Flock of 9 over parking lot – First of Year

We’ve only had OSPREY earlier than this five times (earliest: 2013-03-23). And this is our 5th earliest COMMON YELLOWTHROAT (earliest: 2015-03-26).

For the day, 65 species. Tuesday, I had 12 American Wigeon, a male Lesser Scaup, and six Western Meadowlarks. Wednesday, I had two Lincoln’s Sparrows, for a total of 69 species for Week 13 this year.

For 2016, adding Osprey, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Common Yellowthroat, and Evening Grosbeak, we’re up to 94 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Dawn.  Photo by Bob Asanoma
Slightly later dawn.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Robin.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Bufflehead.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Common Goldeneye displaying.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Common Goldeneye displaying.  Photo by Ollie Oliver
"See - I'm a geoduck"

Bushtit nest.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Wood Duck up a tree in Big Cottonwood Forest.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Wood Duck calling while up a tree.  Photo by Darcy Barry

Male Wood Duck up a tree in Big Cottonwood Forest.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-breasted Sapsucker near start of boardwalk.  Photo by Darcy Barry

Red-breasted Sapsucker. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Anna's Hummingbird at nest. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Anna's Hummingbird at nest. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Marsh Wren building nest.  Photo by Darcy Barry

Marsh Wren building nest.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Savannah Sparrow. Photo by Ollie Oliver

First of Year Osprey. Photo by Ollie Oliver

First of Year male Common Yellowthroat. Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Beaver. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Turtles on a log.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

One of these photos is upside-down, but WHICH ONE???

Report for March 26, 2015                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

47 degrees and foggy smoothly transitioned to 62 degrees and sunny within a couple of hours. That’s downright hot around here. Everything was singing, and it was generally wonderful.


American Wigeon           One below weir
N. Saw-whet Owl           One tooting near east end of boardwalk, 6:00 a.m.
Anna’s Hummingbird       Beaks of 2 babies visible at nest, west end of boardwalk
All five expected woodpecker species
SAY’S PHOEBE            In East Meadow, foraging low – our first since 2012
Northern Shrike               East Meadow.  Should be leaving very soon
C. YELLOWTHROAT  Male singing at Rowing Club
Savannah Sparrow          They’re BAAACK. 10+ singing, East Meadow
Western Meadowlark      One north of fields 7-8-9 – First of Year
Red Crossbill                   Continue in numbers around mansion 

This sets the Marymoor record for earliest date for COMMON YELLOWTHROAT. We’ve only had 4 previous March records, the earliest of those being March 27, 2001.

For the day, 67 species. For the year, adding SAY’S PHOEBE, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, SAVANNAH SPARROW, and WESTERN MEADOWLARK, we’re up to 92 species.

While we’ve been having higher species counts on the weekly surveys than usual, our overall year list is lagging a few species below our recent averages. We had fewer of the typical “winter species” than we usually get. Misses include Snow Goose, Canvasback, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Ruddy Duck, Western Grebe, Northern Harrier, Dunlin, Western Screech-Owl, and Short-eared Owl. There are additional species, such as California Quail, Green Heron, Band-tailed Pigeon, Common Raven, Cedar Waxwing, and House Sparrow, that will show up later, but which we’ve typically had at least once by this time of year.

== Michael Hobbs

Red-breasted Sapsucker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Tree Swallows at a box in the Community Gardens.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Great Blue Herons - flirting?.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

"Myrtle's" Yellow-rumped Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Golden-crowned Kinglet.  Photo by Lillian Reis

American Robin with nesting material.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Two juvenile Anna's Hummingbirds in the nest.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Tree Swallow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Purple Finch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Savannah Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Say's Phoebe.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Say's Phoebe.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Male Common Yellowthroat at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Common Yellowthroat at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Pied-billed Grebe at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Brown Creeper at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for March 27, 2014                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

The first walk of my 21st year was rather ordinary. Overcast, with long stretches of mist, mizzle, and (according to Matt, who is a wimp) drizzle. Lots of birds, but no surprises really, no new species for the year, and only a moderate species list. But it was otherwise a fine day of early spring birding.


Cackling Goose              Getting late – flock of 55 flyby
Common Merganser        Lots of sightings
Great Blue Heron            Making their pigeon-like cooing again
Virginia Rail                    Singing east of East Meadow, calling from boardwalk
Wilson’s Snipe                1 whinny heard pre-dawn (rare display at Marymoor)
Anna’s Hummingbird       Two active nests
Rufous Hummingbird       Female chased off by female Anna’s near nest
Red-breasted Sapsucker Two pairs – great looks
Merlin                             Streaked to the east past heronry
Fox Sparrow                   Great looks, quiet singing
White-crowned Sparrow  Singing pugetensis birds
American Goldfinch          Two, including breeding-plumage male

For the day, just 54 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Adult Bald Eagle.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Brown Creeper.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Pied-billed Grebe, with an expression that makes me think he was dreaming of nefarious plots.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Anna's Hummingbird stretching while on her nest, just south of the Dog Area on the slough trail.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

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

Male Ruby-crowned Kinglet singing.  Photos by Ollie Oliver

Wilson's Snipe.  Photos by Ollie Oliver

Male Gadwall in flight.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

"Sooty" Fox Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Painted Turtle at Rowing Club.  Photos by Ollie Oliver

Report for March 24, 2014

There were FOUR male MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS at the north end of the East Meadow. If you don’t find them there, I’d look to the east around the model airplane field. I did not see these birds earlier in the morning, so they may have flown in on this gorgeous day.

The park was also full of woodpeckers; I saw the five usual species include 2-3 pairs of RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER.

Some of the GREAT BLUE HERONS are sitting down on the nests, instead of standing atop them. The ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD was sitting in her nest south of the dog area. I found a pair of CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES excavating a hole in a big cottonwood a little north of the boardwalk, and a NORTHERN FLICKER excavating a hole in a dead hemlock west of the mansion.

For all my thermometer said 49 degrees, it felt more like 60+, and definitely felt like spring.

== Michael Hobbs

P.S.  I subsequently got word that the Mountain Bluebirds had been present the day before, on March 23.  I saw them again briefly on the 25th, but then watched them take off and fly to the souteast.

Male Mountain Bluebird.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Mountain Bluebird with extensive blue on belly.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for March 28, 2013                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

The day started with bits of blue sky and a few rays of filtered sunlight poking through a rumpled overcast sky. This, of course, meant that it rained solidly for the first two hours, though thankfully not very hard. By the time we got to the lake platform, the sky cleared pretty much, and the weather was very nice after that. It was a birdy day.


Band-tailed Pigeon            Four flew overhead
Eurasian Collared-Dove    One in Snag Row
Red-breasted Sapsucker   1 near windmill, 1 at Rowing Club
Pileated Woodpecker       Pair east of mansion
Northern Shrike                North of fields 7-8-9
Varied Thrush                   One in Dog Meadow
AMERICAN PIPIT          Houston Flores reported 1 in gravel area
Yellow-rumped Warbler   Many, mostly Audubon’s, at least 1 Myrtles. Townsend’s Warbler        One east of mansion
White-crowned Sparrow  Singing pugetensis bird in Pea Patch
Red Crossbill                   Good looks north of mansion
HOUSE SPARROW       Female at Compost Piles, Snag Row

We’ve only had six previous sightings of EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, four of them from last year, with the other two sightings from ‘08 and ‘09. All previous sightings have been from mid-April to late-May, so this was our first March sighting.

This was only our second HOUSE SPARROW sighting since April, 2010. The previous sighting was April 4, 2011.

We did not see any owls despite a lot of pre-dawn looking.

It was also a good day for mammal sightings. Besides the usual squirrel and rabbit sightings, Mark and Lee saw a COYOTE, we had a MUSKRAT along the slough, and there were at least 3 RIVER OTTERS at the lake. Also, PACIFIC TREE FROGS were peeping pre-dawn, and there were both PAINTED TURTLE and RED-EARED SLIDERS at the Rowing Club.

Wednesday late afternoon there was a singing WESTERN MEADOWLARK near the model airplane field.

For the day, 66 species. For the year, EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, AMERICAN PIPIT, HOUSE SPARROW were new. OSPREY was reported on Saturday, but we did not see one Thursday.

== Michael Hobbs

Canada Geese at the weir, with a male Gadwall and some American Coots.
Photo by Hugh Jennings

Juvenile Bald Eagle hanging around the heronry.  The Great Blue Herons don't look very concerned, but they haven't laid eggs yet.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Male Rufous Hummingbird.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Muskrat along slough.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Marsh Wren building a nest in red osier dogwood.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Cherry tree blooming in East Meadow.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Savannah Sparrows were singing in the East Meadow.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Male House Finch from the Viewing Mound.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

View of the heronry from the East Meadow.  It's easier to count nest now than when the leaves come out.  I came up with eighteen nests that are at least started; last year there were about eleven.  There are only about a dozen herons present though.  Note that the juvenile Bald Eagle is still hanging around, sitting at about 8 o'clock in the middle-left tree.  This photo was taken an hour-and-a-half after the previous photo shown above.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Eurasian Collared-Dove.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Eurasian Collared-Dove.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Pileated Woodpecker pair.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Pileated Woodpecker pair.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

"Myrtle's" subspecies Yellow-rumped Warbler at the Rowing Club.
Photo by Michael Hobbs

Very bold Pacific Wren at the Rowing Club.
Photo by Michael Hobbs

American Crow with a strange tumor. Photo by Lillian Reis

Close-up of the conical tumor. Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for March 29, 2012                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

It rained. All morning it was dark, with moderately light but steady rain. Unrelenting rain. Mostly, birds were hunkered down, though there was a fair amount of singing nonetheless.


Rufous Hummingbird                      2 males; 1 displaying at s. end of dog area
Northern Shrike                             Vocalizing from NE corner of East Meadow
Varied Thrush                                Male west of park office
Yellow-rumped Warbler                Singing, with both Audubon's. & Myrtle's seen
Townsend's Warbler                      One near concert stage
Savannah Sparrow                         One singing near E end of Snag Row
Fox Sparrow                                 Many, including lots of singing
Purple Finch                                  Many, many, with lots of singing
Red Crossbill                                Male NE of mansion

Yesterday, I birded Marymoor for 3 hours in the morning with a visiting birder from South Dakota. We had 5 species of woodpecker, including dueling RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKERS just east of the mansion. As we came into the East Meadow, a flock of CEDAR WAXWINGS flew south towards us. One was clearly larger, and as they banked right in front of us, it was easy to see the flock contained the BOHEMIAN WAXWING. They may have been unsuccessfully searching for red berries, for they never landed, flying off to the northwest. We also had the RED CROSSBILL in the same place as today.

Monday, there were at least 2 CACKLING GEESE in a flying flock of CANADA GEESE. Getting late for them here.

I also received a photo of a SAY'S PHOEBE that was present on Saturday in the East Meadow.

For the day, I believe we had 54 species (not bad at all, considering the weather). For the week, 63 species. Only the Say's Phoebe was new for the year, bringing the year list to 93.

== Michael Hobbs

Common Merganser pair.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Northern Shrike.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Brown Creeper, 2012-03-28.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Song Sparrow, 2012-03-28.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Belted Kingfisher, 2012-03-25.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Northern Harrier, 2012-03-25.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Red-breasted Sapsucker, 2012-03-25.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Say's Phoebe, 2012-03-24.  Photo by Kathy Speirs

Report for March 31, 2011                                                                                                                           Birding at Marymoor

I was sick on the 31st, and thus missed the 17th Anniversary of my Marymoor surveys.  Here's a report from Matt Bartels, who was good enough to take on the data gathering and reporting tasks for the day - Michael.

Biggest surprise of the weekly walk at Marymoor today was arriving and finding no Michael & no Brian!  Eight of us managed to persevere without them. The weather wasn't bad -- drizzle early [during the owling time], but only a couple drops of rain during the walk. Lots of wind though, and that resulted in very low numbers of birds all day.
Wood Duck                      1 male in the slough
Green Heron                    1 lurking around the rowing club dock
Barn Owl                           2 at model airplane field early
Rufous Hummingbird      Only heard 1 - still waiting for them to get
                                                into place properly
Bushtit                               Building nest at Rowing Club
Yellow-rumped Warbler  Nice male in breeding plumage singing away at
                                                the mansion area. Myrtles at Rowing club
Savannah Sparrow      Heard a few singing in the east meadow
                                                before dawn, and part of the group
                                                saw one later in the walk at the
                                                sparrow piles - first of the year
Lots of singing , and several American Crows were carrying nesting materials.
For the day, I believe we had 56 species [including a few I had to go back through the park to snag]. Barring any new arrivals during the past week, I believe the Savannah Sparrows bring the year list to 91.
Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA


Golden-crowned Kinglet.  Photo by Lillian Reis

"Audubon's" Yellow-rumped Warbler, 2011-03-11.  Photo by Darrel De Nune

Pied-billed Grebe, 2011-03-11.  Photo by Darrel De Nune

Report for April First, 2010

We had a really good day, despite clouds, mizzle, and a cold breeze.  Spring birds are beginning to return.  Everything is singing. There are nests to watch.  Etc.

The highlight, though, was a very unexpected Toucan, which sat on one of the dirt piles north of the East Meadow.  Nobody had the right field guides to get it to species, unfortunately.

Other highlights:

Cackling Goose                Still 1-2 small flocks overhead
Western Screech-Owl     Calling loudly near windmill, 5:30-6:00ish
Band-tailed Pigeon           4 flew over Rowing Club area
Violet-green Swallow       A few mixed in with lots of Tree Swallows
Northern Shrike               One in East Meadow
Red-breasted Nuthatch    Excavating nest NE of mansion
Common Yellowthroat     Several hear, none seen

At the Rowing Club, we scoped the ANNA's x RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD.  Matt got to see it flare its tail, showing the extensive orange.  For the rest of us, we
could see a hint of orange on the sides, and the gorget which is never pink - just an in-between reddish-orange.  We did not hear it at all.

For the day, 61 species, plus the toucan.  ;)

== Michael

Toucan sp., north of the Compost Piles.

First duckling of the year, but there was no adult in sight.

European Starling

American Robin

American Crow

Red-breasted Nuthatch excavating hole.

Ollie Oliver's photo of same.  They nested in this hole last year

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Where did that iPod go?  I heard it singing...

Brown Creeper.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Marsh Wren.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for March 26, 2009

Oh how nice it was today. Cold to start, but sunny. The thin fog burned off quickly, and while some thin, high overcast persisted, we could see our shadows all morning. It was pleasant AND good birding and spriAng is actually beginning to happen.


Ring-necked Duck               Males with rings very visible at RC
Horned Grebe                     One mostly in breeding plumage
Red-tailed Hawk                  Must be on eggs on odd snag nest
Barn Owl                             Must be on eggs in nest box
Western Screech-Owl          Heard from within park, to the west
LONG-EARED OWL         Perched low and in the open in Dog Area
Rufous Hummingbird            Heard 2-4 birds, never got a look
Red-breasted Sapsucker      One drumming near start of boardwalk
Downy Woodpecker            Two near start of boardwalk
Hairy Woodpecker               Northeast of boardwalk
Northern Shrike                    Seen in model airplane field
American Crow                    With nest materials near mansion
American Robin                    With nest materials near mansion
Varied Thrush                       Heard near mansion
Yellow-rumped Warbler       Some were singing
Townsend's Warbler             South side of mansion
SAVANNAH SPARROW   First of spring, Compost Piles

The LONG-EARED OWL, which we originally identified as a Great Horned Owl, spent the entire morning low in a Red Alder a bit east northeast of the weir. See the blog for photos.

When we were at the lake, Sharon thought she'd seen a HORNED GREBE. It disappeared before we could verify. So at the end of our walk, I visited the cabana for another look. While there, I had great looks at a pair of HOODED MERGANSER, as well as three COMMON MERGANSER. And, with my scope, I was able to find a HORNED GREBE about half-way into breeding plumage. It would have been visible from the lake platform, but would probably have required a scope for ID.

Sharon saw a LONG-TAILED WEASEL near the South Lot kiosk. Some people watched an EASTERN COTTONTAIL get precariously close to the Great Horned Owl. There were both a RED-EARED SLIDER and a PAINTED TURTLE sunning themselves at the Rowing Club.


So for today, we were at an even 60 species. For the year, we're up to 94 species.

== Michael

Dewy spider web in the early morning fog

Long-eared Owl as seen from the slough trail

Closer view of the Long-eared Owl

And a bit of a back view.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Dave Templeton's fabulous photo of the owl
(His lens is just a slight bit bigger than mine :)  )

Singing Spotted Towhee

"Pussy" Willows along the edge of the Dog Meadow

Brown Creeper near the start of the boardwalk

Red-breasted Sapsucker preening near the start of the boardwalk

Another shot of the Red-breasted Sapsucker

Savannah Sparrow at the Compost Piles

Violets in a tree near the Stage

Note the burgundy neck ring on the right of the two male Ring-necked Ducks
Photo by Ollie Oliver

Grace found a Cooper's Hawk in Snag Row which Ollie photographed

Ollie's photo of a Canada Goose in the slough

Northern Shrike, Ollie Oliver, 3/29/09

Northern Shrike, Ollie Oliver, 3/29/09

Report for March 27, 2008

It was a strange day at Marymoor.  The weather wasn't as bad is it might have been.  Cold, damp, and quite windy, but there wasn't any precipitation.  It wasn't very birdy either, yet our species count (when all of the heard-only and glimpsed-only birds were counted) was a very respectable 59 species.  Yet the day was pretty birdless, with only a few highlights (though at least one highlight was a GREAT highlight).  There was better birding earlier in the week when the weather was warmer.


Bald Eagle                       Pair in the "new nest"
Cooper's Hawk               Several sightings.  One Sharpie too.
Barn Owl                         Seen early near concert stage
Short-eared Owl              Flushed from east edge of East Meadow
Red-breasted Nuthatch    Male near nest hole
Lincoln's Sparrow            2 - Compost piles early, Pea Patch

A passing birder mentioned that the SAY'S PHOEBE was in the East Meadow.  We didn't see one.  I went back after the walk and again missed the phoebe, but I did have 4 WESTERN MEADOWLARKS, including one singing.

The great highlight was the SHORT-EARED OWL, which flushed from the east edge of the East Meadow, giving us great looks as it winged east.  It then landed in the large cottonwood east of the meadow, where we could see it for several minutes, perched in the lowest branches.

We had great looks at MUSKRAT near the windmill.

Big misses: Rock Pigeon, House Sparrow.

Earlier in the week, while people were looking for phoebe, I saw, or had reports of, several other species including SAVANNAH SPARROW, NORTHERN SHRIKE (Tuesday), and CEDAR WAXWING.  So the day count was 59, but the week count was at least 64.

== Michael

Both Bald Eagles were in the new (built fall 2006) nest near the boardwalk.
Later, one flew to a nearby cottonwood.  Bottom photo by Ollie Oliver.

After flushing from the east edge of the East Meadow, this Short-eared Owl
landed in a large cottonwood off to the east.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Here the owl is flying off, deeper into the inaccessible southeast portion of the park.

Bushtits were building a nest near the east end of the boardwalk.

Ollie Oliver's photo of one of the "gambelli" White-crowned Sparrows
at the Compost Piles.  Note the very gray nape and lower cheek.

Male Red-breasted Nuthatch frozen against the trunk of the tree.  Nest hole above.

American Robin in European Hawthorn.  It was eating the haws.

Report for March 29, 2007

I  was in South Carolina, but 22 people birded Marymoor in his absence.  Here are notes from Brian Bell's report to Tweeters.

     - Michael

Notable birds at Marymoor today were:

  • Great Horned Owl - early
  • Virginia Rail heard early
  • Savannah Sparrow - back in numbers - present all over the park
  • Pine Siskin - several today
  • Bald Eagle - pair at the nest - with one on the nest
  • Belted Kingfisher - early flyby
  • Marsh Wrens in full song
  • Wilson's Snipe - very close, about 15 feet - incredible views
  • Fox Sparrows - several singing
  • American Goldfinch - several bright males
  • Purple Finch - many singing in a variety of locations around the park, including at least one bright male
  • Anna's Hummingbird -a male at the current "usual" location south of the mansion
  • Rufous Hummingbird - a male, also at the current "usual" location just before going into the alder forest along the interpretive trail
  • American Kestrel - in east meadow
  • Northern Shrike - in the east meadow
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler - both Audubon and Myrtle
  • Winter Wren - one singing
  • Common Goldeneye - several lingering on the lake
  • Common Merganser - a few on the lake
  • Western Meadowlark - at least two at the east meadow
  • SAGEBRUSH SPARROW - at the dirt/compost piles
  • Green Heron - at the small rowing club pond
  • Orange-crowned Warbler - heard at the rowing club
  • Wood Duck - one male on river

This morning at 10:45 am, as we approached the dirt/compost piles we saw a bird that was definitely not one of our regulars. It turned out to be a Sagebrush Sparrow with a gray head, a nice face pattern and a clear white throat and breast. The bird was foraging on the top of the main dirt piles with grass growing on them. By the time we got to where we could see it, it had dropped down into the blackberries and then came up and worked its way across the open area. It worked over the next area of debris and dirt. The bird was clearly nervous and would fly at the slightest event. When last seen, it was perched on a small tree back near the dirt piles and then dropped down into the blackberries. I saw Ollie Oliver later and he said that the bird came back up on the dirt piles and good views were obtained (and pictures I believe). Ollie stressed that the best way to see the bird was to sit quietly and the bird would come to you - if you approach it, it will fly. A great new bird for Marymoor, and continues the tradition of often finding a new bird when Michael is out of town.

Painted Turtles were back on the rowing club pond, a number of garter snakes were out in the sun and bullfrog was basking on a limb

All in all a great spring day at Marymoor - 58 species, one new for the year!

Brian H. Bell
Woodinville, WA

Sage Sparrow - photo by Ollie Oliver

Golden-crowned Sparrow on 3/25/07 - photo by Ollie Oliver

Say's Phoebe on 3/25/07 - photo by Tom Mansfield.  The phoebe was seen
again 3/29 in the afternoon near the Pea Patch.

Say's Phoebe on 3/25/07 - photo by Tom Mansfield. 

Say's Phoebe on 3/25/07 - photo by Tom Mansfield.

Say's Phoebe on 3/25/07 - photo by Tom Mansfield.


Bird Sightings Week 13
March 26 - April 1*      * adjust by 1 day in leap years


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