Friends of Marymoor Park


Bird Sightings Week 14
April 2-8*


Rarities for Week 14:

Brant 05-Apr-20 eBird Ruth Johnston
Sandhill Crane 03-Apr-10 Two reported by Jan McGruder on grass fields

...Anna's Hummingbird x
Rufous Hummingbird hybrid

08-Apr-10 First reported 30-Mar
Western Bluebird 04-Apr-24 Male just north of Fields 7-8-9.  Also seen on 04-Apr
Sagebrush Sparrow 02-Apr-07 Compost Piles - bird seen every day 29-Mar to 02-Apr
Douglas Squirrel 03-Apr-11 Park office feeders

Report for April 4, 2024                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

It was a special day today at Marymoor, though the weather was NOT the special part.  It was especially dark all morning, and quite chilly.  Many birds were singing, but good looks were scarce.

We started off with donuts and bagels to celebrate the 30th birthday of the Marymoor surveys.  That's about 1500 surveys, and I've made nearly that many additional visits to the park over the last 30 years.  Some might ask if I might be getting tired of going to the same place over and over and over and over.

Well, it may be the same place, but there's always something new to see.  In fact, today we had A NEW BIRD FOR MARYMOOR PARK, the 245th species!  Just north of Fields 7-8-9 was a male WESTERN BLUEBIRD!  The survey needs to continue at least until that number is up to 250!

Other highlights:
  • Canada Goose - Appear to be attempting to nest on two Osprey nests and on the eagle nest visible from the Lake Platform
  • Northern Pintail??? - Flock of about 20 ducks that were almost certainly NOPI but could have been wigeon
  • Lesser Scaup - One female seen from the Lake Platform - First of Year (FOY)
  • Bushtit - Three nests observed, but no activity noted at any of them
  • Purple Finch - Singing constantly heard, several birds, two seen
  • White-throated Sparrow - Continuing, this time near the Dog Area portapotties
  • Western Meadowlark - 3-5 seen, including 3 near the Western Bluebird
  • Orange-crowned Warbler - Two singing near the east end of the boardwalk (FOY)
  • Common Yellowthroat - At least one singing, heard from the Viewing Mound.  Two seen on Monday (FOY)
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler - Widespread and numerous, both Myrtle and Audubon's, some singing
On my brief visit Monday afternoon, I had several birds not seen today:  BAND-TAILED PIGEON, TURKEY VULTURE (FOY), SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, RED-TAILED HAWK (a pair doing a courtship flight), and BELTED KINGFISHER.

Missed both days: Wilson's Snipe, Osprey (should arrive any day now), Red-breasted Sapsucker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, American Goldfinch, and Lincoln's Sparrow.

For the day, 59 species plus the mystery flying ducks.  Adding Lesser Scaup, Turkey Vulture, Western Bluebird, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Common Yellowthroat, we're at 91 species for the year.

= Michael Hobbs

Western Bluebird. Photo by Jordan Roderick

Western Bluebird. Photo by Jordan Roderick

Report for April 6, 2023                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

The weather wasn't delightful, but it was really just a bit of mist and mizzle.  Temps were okay, and there wasn't much breeze.  Still doesn't really feel like spring, but there are signs pointing that way.

  • Canada Goose - Seem to be nesting atop both Osprey platforms, and in an island on the slough below the weir
  • Rufous Hummingbird - Now several males present, and we got our first decent views of spring
  • OSPREY - First of Spring (FOS).  Perched on softball field lights in the NE part of the park
  • Bushtit - Numerous and widespread
  • Tree and Violet-green Swallows - Numerous over the slough when we completed the main loop
  • Hermit Thrush - One in Big Cottonwood Forest.  Best time to see them is now through the first week of May
  • Lincoln's Sparrow - One in Pea Patch, first since February.  Same best season as Hermit Thrush.
  • Brown-headed Cowbird - Two below weir.  FOS, but not First of Year since we had one in January

Misses today included Rock Pigeon (except for the tame released one), Wilson's Snipe, Pine Siskin, and Common Yellowthroat.  The COYE are almost always back by this time of the year (23 of 30 years).  


For the day, 56 species plus the Ring-necked Pheasant.  61 species total for the week.  Maybe next week the weather will be warm and birdy.

= Michael Hobbs

Report for April 7, 2022                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

A really good day, slightly overcast early , some sun later, good temperature. Lots of birds singing.

  • Cinnamon Teal – pair – 2 – first of year (FOY)
  • Northern Shoveler – male; 1
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove – 1
  • Osprey – 1 (FOY)
  • Barn Swallow – 2 at lake (FOY)
  • Western Meadowlark – 1 singing
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – 1 singing
  • Common Yellowthroat – many singing, 1 seen

Misses included Belted Kingfisher, Lincoln's Sparrow, and Brown-headed Cowbird.

For the day, 58 species.

= Michael Hobbs

Western Meadowlark and Tree Swallows, 2022-04-03
Photographed by Shamik Ghosh,

Report for April 8, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

The rain let up before 6:00 a.m., and the drizzle let up before our 6:30 start time.  We had only periods of mist for the next hour or so, mixed with dramatic sunshine.  Then a light breeze came in and stuck with us under partly cloudy skies.  It was a good day of birding, with much to look at.   Measured by the number of species, it was a great day.  By number of birds, it was fairly quiet.  But there were lots of...
  • Greater White-fronted Goose – one flying with a few Canadas
  • Wood Duck – at least 4 total.  A pair kept landing in cottonwood trees
  • CINNAMON TEAL – pair flew up the slough to the lake.  First of Year (FOY)
  • Eleven species of duck, total, including a few American Wigeon
  • Wilson’s Snipe – notably many, with notably many good looks along the slough
  • OSPREY – pairs at/near both nests.  FOY for us (but first sighting for the park was April 3)
  • Pileated Woodpecker – male landed right next to us, below the weir
  • Merlin – two sightings, probably the same bird
  • CLIFF SWALLOW – one or two.  6th earliest spring sighting ever for us (FOY)
  • Bushtit – watched a pair working on their nest at Dog Central
  • Cedar Waxwing – six at the Rowing Club
  • Fox Sparrow – lots of singing.  They should be around for two more weeks
  • Western Meadowlark – one in East Meadow
  • BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD – about three (FOY)
  • ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER – Matt and Brian heard one from near the Mysterious Thicket (FOY)
  • Common Yellowthroat – heard predawn
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – mostly male Audubon’s, but at least 1 female, and at least 1 male Myrtle at the Rowing Club
The only later spring sightings of GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE have been of large flocks flying overhead, and that only twice.
While we’ve had CEDAR WAXWING every week of the year, our sightings from January->third week of April are almost all from 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2021.  This year is challenging 2012 for the most pre-May sightings.  We’ve only had Cedars at all in 10 of 27 years, during that period.
Several “winter” species were either missing or were in notably smaller numbers than in the last couple of weeks.  No Cackling Geese, Northern Shrike, or Pacific Wren, and only a very few Common Goldeneye, Pied-billed Grebe, and Double-crested Cormorant. 
A late scan of the lake turned up a female BELTED KINGFISHER and our earliest spring sighting ever of a CASPIAN TERN (FOY).  Both were right at the mouth of the slough.
Notable misses today were limited to just Rock Pigeon and Lincoln’s Sparrow.
For the day, 70 species, with 5 new for the year for us.
= Michael Hobbs

Bald Eagle.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

"Black" Merlin atop a tall fir.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Rufous Hummingbird.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Pileated Woodpecker.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Pileated Woodpecker.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for April 2, 2020                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

A solo COVID-19 survey, this one without anyone else at all, not even Mark & Lee going backwards.  I did bump into Kazuto, who showed me an Anna’s Hummingbird nest with 2 nearly-fledged babies, but he mentioned no species I hadn’t already seen.
It was cold, windless, dark, and drab for most of the morning.  The only moment of full sunshine completely coincided with my only rain (and a rainbow), and lasted less than 5 minutes.  My fingers and toes were cold until about 10.  Periods of birdiness between extended periods of quiet, but overall an outstanding day.
  • Wood Duck – probably at least 10
  • CINNAMON TEAL – pair flew low, downstream, below the weir – First Of Year (FOY)
  • American Wigeon – at least 5 – soon getting late for them
  • Anna’s Hummingbird – two occupied nests
  • Rufous Hummingbird – one occupied nest
  • GREATER YELLOWLEGS – one flew south, calling.  Got a good look.  It then called flying back north, and I got another look.  FOY
  • Short-eared Owl – One circled right over the Viewing Mound for great looks.  Hunted the north end of the East Meadow before flying west.  About 6:30.
  • – Five Woodpecker Day – though only Downy and Flicker were numerous
  • BARN SWALLOW – one with 100+ Violet-green Swallows over the slough south of the weir, after the mansion loop – FOY
  • Varied Thrush – male seen; sounded like there was more than one
  • CEDAR WAXWING – two at Rowing Club – FOY
  • LINCOLN’S SPARROW – one at Compost Piles – FOY, amazingly
This was our 3rd-earliest CINNAMON TEAL, beaten only by 2017-01-05 (!) and 2001-03-21.  4th, now, is 2009-04-07.
This was our earliest-ever GREATER YELLOWLEGS, beating 2019-04-04.
This was our 7th-earliest BARN SWALLOW.
Northern Flickers were everywhere, noisy, annoying.  American Robins can’t have any songs left – the MUST have sung them all. 
I had an amazing daytime AMERICAN BEAVER show, just before the start of the boardwalk, with two swimming around and circling, with some tail slaps, and some in-the-water wrestling (or sex?).  One swam to the far shore, but the other kept swimming back and forth, very visibly, with lots of tail slapping.  ???  Spring...
No Cackling Geese, Green Heron, Barn Owl, Northern Shrike, or Western Meadowlark.  I thought I was going to dip on American Coot, Red-breasted Sapsucker, and Bushtit, but picked up all three as my last birds at the Rowing Club.  (But only 2 coots total).
Misses today were: Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, Osprey (should show any day now), American Goldfinch, Brown-headed Cowbird (should show any day now), Common Yellowthroat (almost always show up THIS week, only missed once next week (and only seen 6 times the previous week))
Yes, Common Yellowthroat has been seen 21/27 previous years for this week, which reminds me that I’m now in my 27th year doing these surveys.
For the day, 64 species with 5 First of Year, ho hum.
= Michael Hobbs

Report for April 4, 2019                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

The “overcast” from the forecast today turned out to be a tiny bit of thin high clouds. It was basically sunny, and it warmed up well. A really nice day. A large, but great, group of birders today.


  • Cackling Goose – maybe 500 flew by just before 7 am
  • Great Blue Heron – a great number of sticks and twigs being brought in to heronry
  • Green Heron – seen twice (or 2)
  • Red-tailed Hawk – pair copulating, seen from Rowing Club
  • Wilson’s Snipe – still at least 1 below weir
  • GREATER YELLOWLEGS – one heard flying south past the Viewing Mound just before 7 – First of Year
  • Western Screech-Owl – seen well again around 6 am
  • Five woodpecker day – with Flicker and Downy excavating holes, and Pileated seen near nest
  • Hermit Thrush – one just south of Dog Area
  • Bushtit – nest found in hawthorn in Dog Meadow
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – at least 2 – First of the year for us
  • COMMON YELLOWTHROAT – our first of the year – two

Towards the end of the day, I realized that today marked the beginning of the 26th year of my Marymoor surveys. I had been to Marymoor previously, dating back to 1990, but starting March 31, 1994, I’ve been almost every Thursday since then (except for the years we met on Wednesdays).

For the day, 63 species, and abundant evidence that there’s no reason to stop after 25 years!

== Michael Hobbs

Male Common Merganser.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Great Blue Herons seem to prefer alder branches for building up their nests.
Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Hairy Woodpecker.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Hairy Woodpecker hops a few inches up the trunk and finds a grub.
Photo by Bob Asanoma

Adult White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Bushtit nest in a hawthorn.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Report for April 5, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

A really good day today. The mizzle abated from about 6:30-9:30; and afterwards it was only mizzle. Steady overcast, but no wind the whole morning. The park was absolutely overrun with AMERICAN ROBINS – I’ll list the count as 400, but I think that’s probably low. Huge amounts of robin song made hearing anything else difficult. By later in the morning (the robins started well pre-dawn), the skies were filled with large flocks of VIOLET-GREEN/TREE SWALLOWS – mostly the former. Total swallow numbers really difficult, but certainly more than 400 and maybe more than 1000, depending on how far out on the lake one wanted to count.


  • Cackling Goose – one flock of ~60; only rarely have had them later in spring
  • TRUMPETER SWAN – one landed in the slough south of Dog Central
  • American Wigeon – four on the lake Killdeer – nest with 4 eggs in grass/gravel field
  • California Gull – at least 1
  • Osprey – one near nest; this was our first sighting of the year actually on the survey
  • BARN OWL – one flying briefly around 8:48, Dog Meadow
  • Western Screech-Owl – Matt saw one east of the boardwalk, 6:00ish
  • – All 5 woodpeckers – Pileated seen by Sharon and Jordan right after the walk
  • N. Rough-winged Swallow – one seen from Lake Platform – First for 2018
  • CLIFF SWALLOW – one found on a late scan of the lake – First for 2018
  • HERMIT THRUSH – one immediately south of Dog Meadow – First for 2018
  • Western Meadowlark – four north of Fields 7-8-9, one singing
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – one male – First of 2018
  • COMMON YELLOWTHROAT – one singing unseen from across the slough – First of 2018

The BARN OWL looked like it might have been flushed by dogs, and then appeared to roost hidden in the triangle separating the south end of the Dog Meadow from the East Meadow.

This is our latest spring sighting confirmed for TRUMPETER SWAN, though we have 2 later sighting of SWAN sp., one from 2017-04-10, and second a very unusual date of 2012-06-14, when 5 unidentified swans flew by.

Conversely, this was our 3rd-earliest CLIFF SWALLOW ever; the earliest was 2004-04-01.

Birds I saw earlier this week were HOODED MERGANSER on 4/3 – our first in 5 weeks; COOPER’S HAWK on 4/2 – appeared to be carrying a twig into the Big Cottonwood Forest – nesting???; BELTED KINGFISHER on 4/3; VARIED THRUSH on 4/4; and at least two ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS on 4/4 – First of 2018.

For the day, 66 species (plus two sightings of unidentified pigeon/dove that may have been EUCD). For the week, 72 species. For 2018, we’re at 100 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Trumpeter Swan in the slough.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male American Robin.  Photo by Michael Hobbs
Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Willow in bloom.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Salmonberry in bloom, 2018-04-03.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Report for April 6, 2017                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

We were dampened by drizzle/light rain for a couple of hours this morning, then had a little bit of clearing, then more drizzle.  Skies were mostly gray.  Unsurprisingly, the birds weren’t as active as they might have been.  I think it’s pretty typical to feel that “Spring is late”, and there’s certainly no evidence to the contrary this year.  But looking at past years, we’re often still waiting for the bulk of the spring migration at this date.  I think we’re just perennially impatient.
  • 9 species of duck
  • Pied-billed Grebe – only one; quite possibly they won’t nest at Marymoor again this year
  • Wilson’s Snipe – might have heard a winnow at dawn
  • Barn Owl – adult brought prey to the windmill before 5am, Matt heard the baby(s)
  • SAY’S PHOEBE – One in the East Meadow gave us great looks
  • COMMON YELLOWTHROAT – Several males; first of 2017 for us, but seen as early as last weekend by others
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler - ~20 "Audubon's" and 1-2 "Myrtle’s".  Singing. 
Still no Orange-crowned Warbler, and we haven’t seen a Brown-headed Cowbird yet.  Both should be there next week.  There’s a long list of fairly rare birds that could show up next week too, though subsequent weeks look even better.  PATIENCE.
For the day, 56 species.  For the year, the park is up over 100.
== Michael Hobbs

American Robin.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Say's Phoebe.  Photo by Joanne Iskierka

Say's Phoebe.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Tree Swallow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Common Yellowthroat.  Photo by Bill Fletcher

Savannah Sparrow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Savannah Sparrow.  Photo by Bill Fletcher

Luzia tent for Cirque Du Soleil.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for April 7, 2016                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

Another gorgeous day which started cool and ended up simply warm and sunny. Not stupendously birdy, but a fine early spring day.


Cackling Goose                Large flyover flock; should be heading north
Wood Duck                     Pair in trees in Large Cottonwood Forest again
- 10 total duck species -  
Cooper’s Hawk               Worn juvenile near weir
GREAT HORNED OWL Matt heard one NE of mansion, 5am – FOY
Pileated Woodpecker        Seen even of the last nine weeks!
PURPLE MARTIN          Five seen from NE corner of lake at martin houses
Barn Swallow                   One over boardwalk – FOY
AMERICAN PIPIT          2 north of Viewing Mound – FOY
Western Meadowlark       3 in East Meadow
Brown-headed Cowbird   3-5 in East Meadow – FOY

We’d heard that PURPLE MARTINS returned over a week ago, so I tried scanning after last week’s walk without success. Today, however, I found four males and a female, scoping from the NE corner of the lake. This is, by far, the earliest martin sightings I’ve had at Marymoor, though I confess I haven’t looked from the NE corner this early most years.

For the day, 62 species. I had two additional species yesterday (Fox and Lincoln’s Sparrows). For the year, adding GREAT HORNED OWL, PURPLE MARTIN, BARN SWALLOW, AMERICAN PIPIT, and BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD, we’ve now had 99 species.

Next week’s walk will be at 6:30 a.m., contrary to previously posted information.

== Michael Hobbs

The Red-breasted Sapsuckers like drumming on the metal caps.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Common Merganser pair.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Worn Juvenile Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male House Finch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bushtits at the nest.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Marsh Wren building a nest.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Bushtit.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female and male Brown-headed Cowbird. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Savannah Sparrow.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Osprey.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-breasted Nuthatch.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Northern Flicker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

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

Notice the garter snake that one has caught.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for April 2, 2015                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

We had overcast, drizzle, rainbows, and sunshine this morning. It wasn’t exactly warm, but mostly in the upper 40’s. The birds didn’t seem to mind that it wasn’t gorgeous – they were out and about anyway.


Horned Grebe                  1 in almost full breeding plumage in slough
OSPREY                         2-3 birds, including at cell tower
                                               way to the ENE of the park
Barn Owl                         Matt & Sharon had a great look from Viewing
                                               Mound, 6:15am
Anna’s Hummingbird        2 full-sized young in 1 nest, 2nd nest found
All 5 woodpecker species, including a pair of Pileateds, and a trio of sapsuckers
Violet-green Swallow       100 birds, minimum. Overhead everywhere, all morning HERMIT THRUSH          1 at Rowing Club parking lot – FOY
Orange-crowned Warbler 2 seen, 3-4 more heard singing – FOY
Lincoln’s Sparrow            1, East Meadow, first since early February
Western Meadowlark       2, north edge of Fields 7-8-9
Red Crossbills                  A few still around mansion

Good mammal day. Matt heard and saw AMERICAN BEAVER early. We had a LONG-TAILED WEASEL just before 7 a.m. at the East Kiosk, and Grace&Ollie had another late at the Rowing Club. We had a MUSKRAT up in a willow in the middle of the slough. Plus the usual EASTERN GRAY SQUIRRELS and EASTERN COTTONTAILS...

So, 3 new species for the year (OSPR, HETH, OCWA) brings us to 95. For the day, 65 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Male Rufous Hummingbird.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Fox Sparrow.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Rainbow off to the west.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

There were a hundred of these snails on the fence around the Viewing Mound early.
Photo by Lillian Reis

Horned Grebe acquiring breeding plumage.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Horned Grebe with male Wood Ducks.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Nearly fledged Anna's Hummingbirds.  Photo by Gary Luhm

Mother Anna's Hummingbird arrives at the nest.  Photo by Gary Luhm

Feeding the baby Anna's Hummingbirds.  Photo by Gary Luhm

Savannah Sparrow, East Meadow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Western Meadowlark.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Chestnut-backed Chickadee at nest hole.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Note that you can see the feet on this American Coot.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hermit Thrush at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Long-tailed Weasel at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Long-tailed Weasel at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Rufous Hummingbird, 2015-03-27.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Marsh Wren, singing, 2015-03-27.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for April 3, 2014                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

Michael is off to exciting stuff in Neah Bay, so Matt and I got to substitute for him today at Marymoor. It was a good day, a bit chilly early but warmed up. Lots of birds singing today and kept us on our toes. 63 species for the day.

First of Year:
Hermit Thrush
Common Yellowthroat
Brown-headed Cowbird
Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Nice sightings:
Barn Owl
Short-eared Owl
Hairy Woodpecker pair – copulating
Virginia Rail
American Wigeon
Ring-necked Duck
Anna’s Hummingbird on nest
Varied Thrush

Brian H. Bell

One male and two female Brown-headed Cowbirds.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Breeding-plumaged male "Audubon's" Yellow-rumped Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Downy Woodpecker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hermit Thrush.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Glaucous-winged Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Adult and juvenile Mew Gulls.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Adult Mew Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Common Yellowthroat.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Varied Thrush.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male American Robin.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Golden-crowned Kinglet.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Purple Finch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-breasted Sapsucker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-breasted Sapsucker at extensive set of sap wells.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Singing Savannah Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

The crew at the Lake Platform.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Will photo drones like this one be part of birding in the future?  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Very odd flight position for a Great Blue Heron, 2014-03-27.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for April 4, 2013                                                                                                                              Birding at Marymoor

Overcast with mist turning to drizzle turning to rain, but very, very birdy today. There was a constant chorus from PINE SISKINS, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, and AMERICAN ROBINS, making counts of those species very difficult.


Greater White-fronted Goose    FIVE with Cacklers
Cackling Goose                        150 near park entrance
American Widgeon                    Pair seen from lake platform|
Great Blue Heron                      Adults sitting low on nests. Eggs?
OSPREY                                 One in NE corner of park
Bald Eagle                                One in nest, another flying nearby
Cooper’s Hawk                       One east of East Meadow
KILLDEER                              Two adults, one chick
Band-tailed Pigeon                    Quick flyover
SHORT-EARED OWL            One around 6:15, Dog Meadow
Anna’s Hummingbird                 Female on nest at Rowing Club
Rufous Hummingbird                 Males and females, more than 10
Red-breasted Sapsucker           Two at Rowing Club
Hairy Woodpecker                   One, south end of Dog Meadow
Pileated Woodpecker               Two just south of dog area
Barn Swallow                           Two, with VGSW and TRES
Common Yellowthroat              They're back.  Heard about 5, saw about 2
Lincoln’s Sparrow                     One, Pea Patch, first in 7 weeks
White-crowned Sparrow           Many pugetensis singing
Purple Finch                              Singing all over, hard to count
Red Crossbill                            Still a dozen+ around mansion

LOTS of singing by most of our breeding species. AMERICAN ROBIN nest building, GREAT BLUE HERONS still toting sticks around, TREE SWALLOWS coming out of nest boxes, BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE emerging from hole in snag, etc., etc., etc.

We also watched RIVER OTTER copulation in the slough.

For the day, 69 species. For the year, we added only COMMON YELLOWTHROAT today, and BARN SWALLOW as early as Tuesday, to bring the 2013 list to 98.

== Michael Hobbs

Male Common Merganser at weir.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Common Merganser at weir.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Copulating River Otters above the weir.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

River Otter above the weir.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Red-winged Blackbird near the weir.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hairy Woodpecker.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Male Red-winged Blackbird had the audacity to land on the Purple Martin gourd structure.
Photo by Michael Hobbs

The Red-winged Blackbird was quickly chased off by two Tree Swallows who did not appear amused.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Tree Swallow in East Meadow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male American Goldfinch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Adult Killdeer with one baby.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Baby Killdeer tucked under the wing of adult.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Wilson's Snipe flies out.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Osprey on softball field lights.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Crows on newly mown soccer field.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

One of five Greater White-fronted Geese with Cackling Geese.
Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-breasted Sapsucker at the Rowing Club.
Photo by Ollie Oliver

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

Tree Swallows at nesting box in the East Meadow, 2013-04-03
Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz

Quintessential scene: Savannah Sparrow singing in the East Meadow, 2013-04-03
Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz

Green-winged Teal pair, 2013-04-03
Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk illustrating the typical head extension in front of a straight leading edge to the wing, 2013-04-03.  Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz

Report for April 5, 2012                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

It rained in the pre-dawn, but cleared in time for some owling. Most of the morning we had little bits of drizzle, but mostly dry weather, if rather dark and overcast. We should have walked just a touch faster, because when we got to the Rowing Club, the skies just opened up and soaked us. Spring is getting here slowly, but just our species count shows that seasonal movements are underway.


Greater White-fronted Goose         One with Cacklers
Cackling Goose                              Flock of ~40, probably Taverner's subspecies
Ring-necked Duck                          1 female - first since February
RED-NECKED GREBE                1 well out on lake (thanks, Ollie)
TURKEY VULTURE                    1 over mansion around 11:00 a.m.
Osprey                                           2 at/near nest near velodrome
Sharp-shinned Hawk                       Juvenile harassing Cooper's Hawk
Cooper's Hawk                              A couple of sightings
Merlin Falcon                                 Flew south; ID by size, flight style
Virginia Rail                                    2+ responded from boardwalk
Red-breasted Sapsucker                Many sightings
Pileated Woodpecker                     1 flew south
SAY'S PHOEBE                            East Meadow, near shed area
Savannah Sparrow                          Back in force, singing proudly

If I count right, we had 70 species for the day. New species this week for our 2012 list were RED-NECKED GREBE, TURKEY VULTURE, OSPREY, to get us to 97. Alas - no Orange-crowned Warbler yet.

== Michael Hobbs

Female Varied Thrush near the mansion.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

The Great Blue Herons are still actively building nests.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Rufous Hummingbird.  Photo by Josh Adams

Male Rufous Hummingbird.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Say's Phoebe in the East Meadow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Savannah Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

"Pugetensis" White-crowned Sparrow singing in the Pea Patch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Greater White-fronted Goose with "Taverner's" Cackling Geese.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Turkey Vulture over the mansion.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-tailed Hawk on odd-snag nest.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Sharp-shinned (left) and Cooper's Hawks sharing a thermal.  Photos by Josh Adams

Cooper's Hawk flips upside-down to fend off attacking Sharp-shinned Hawk

Rock Pigeon - possibly a display pose.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bald Eagles at the new nest, 2012-04-04.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Osprey at the nest platform, 2012-04-04.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Osprey above the nest platform, 2012-04-04.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for April 7, 2011                                                                                                                           Birding at Marymoor

It was cold and dark and rainy and flooded.  It was often hard to find the birds, and often really hard to see them at all.  There were a lot of species that were "heard-only" for a long time before we finally saw one, and a few things that were only seen by one or two people.

But there was a LOT out there.


American Wigeon                   Two east of the East Meadow
BARROW'S GOLDENEYE  Female with all-dark bill at lake
Common Loon                       Three at lake
Green Heron                          One at Rowing Club
American Kestrel                    TWO females
Merlin                                    1 quick flyby
Barn Owl                               1 after 6 a.m., model airplane field
SHORT-EARED OWL         1 after 6 a.m., model airplane field
Hairy Woodpecker                 Near Rowing Club dock
CLIFF SWALLOW              1 at lake, first of the year
Barn Swallow                         2-3 over East Meadow
Pacific Wren                          Still at least 2 singing
Varied Thrush                        1 heard near mansion, 1 at Rowing Club

The BARROW'S GOLDENEYE was only our 8th record at Marymoor (and first since 2007), and could easily have gone unnoticed.  Ryan Merrill spotted it amongst a tight group of Common Goldeneye females.  The bill was all dark (unusual for either species at this time of year) but was clearly smaller than the bills of the Commons.  And the head shape consistently had the steep forehead and "puffy" appearance of a Barrow's.

While we've had COMMON LOON every month of the year except July-September, April seems to be the time we see them most consistently.  November would be the other good month for them.  Three birds, however, is noteworthy.

Pacific Wren apparently don't breed at Marymoor, and tend to clear out by this time of year.  We have only one sighting later than today in the spring period - April 9, 2003.   They show up again in September.  Today we had two singing at quite disparate parts of the park.  Maybe with the cold spring, they'll hang around a while.

We also had a large, pale, black wing-tipped gull that might have been a Herring Gull, but it was seen only distantly in flight.

We did well with mammals too:

Virginia Opossum            1 dead in the grass at airplane field
American Beaver              Matt heard tail slaps near windmill
Muskrat                            1 in slough
Townsend's Mole             1 on mansion lawn - great looks
River Otter                       At least 2 from the lake platform

For the day, 70 species!  Earlier in the week, at least 5 additional species were seen:  Cooper's Hawk, Band-tailed Pigeon, Mountain Bluebird, Lincoln's Sparrow, and Brown-headed Cowbird.

New for the year list this week were Barrow's Goldeneye, Common Loon, Osprey, American Kestrel, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Mountain Bluebird, and Brown-headed Cowbird, to bring the park year list to 99 species.

A good week.

== Michael Hobbs

Uncredited photos by Michael Hobbs

Okay - a very distant shot.  But this was one of three Common Loons

Female Common Goldeneyes with a female Barrow's Goldeneye (far right)

Partially leucistic Dark-eyed Junco with a pied pattern.  Photo by Ryan Merrill

Red-breasted Sapsucker at Rowing Club.  Photo by Ryan Merrill

Female American Kestrel.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Pacific Wren in the afternoon.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Pacific Wren in the afternoon.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Townsend's Mole near the mansion

Note the stubby tail and huge front paws

Male Ring-necked Pheasant, 2011-04-02.  Photo by Darrel DeNune

Female Bufflehead, 2011-04-08.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for April 3, 2011                                                                                                                           Birding at Marymoor

I took advantage of a relatively nice morning, and headed down to Marymoor Park (Redmond, King Co., WA) to try and find some spring birds. Water levels are unseasonably high - 5.26 feet at the gauge, or about 1.3 feet higher than average.

I'm still getting over the terrible cold that kept me in bed last Thursday - one of the very few times I've not shown up at my own bird survey because of sickness.   It was especially unpleasant to have missed last week's trip, since Thursday marked the 17th Anniversary of my weekly Marymoor surveys. So I was really feeling the need, this morning, to get over there.

As it was, I missed the best birds of the morning.   A photographer showed me his photos of a couple of the six MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS that were at the north end of the East Meadow.  The bluebirds had moved on by the time I got over there.  I had to make do with more mundane spring arrivals.  Tim Kuhn's photos are to the right.

The OSPREY are back - two were perched near their nest near the velodrome.  And I had a male BROWN-HEADED COWBIRD.

Other highlights:

Wood Duck                Pair in slough
American Wigeon        About 8 in a seasonal puddle
Cooper's Hawk           One adult
Red-br. Sapsucker      2 near start of boardwalk
Hairy Woodpecker      1 near Dog Central
Pacific Wren                1 singing.  They tend to leave in early Apr.
Townsend's Warbler     2 NE of the mansion
Savannah Sparrow        1 singing, N end of the East Meadow

At the park office feeders, there was a DOUGLAS SQUIRREL.  This is only the
2nd time, in over 1000 visits to Marymoor, that I have seen Douglas

In less than 3 hours this morning, I found 55 species of bird (not counting
the Mountain Bluebirds which I didn't see).  Adding Osprey, Mountain
Bluebird, and Brown-headed Cowbird, the park year list stands at 94 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Report for April 8, 2010

From 6:30 until about 8:00, we were beset by gloomy overcast.  We then had a 20-minute rain squall.  After that, it slowly got sunny.  It was breezy at times.  It was never exactly warm, and it certainly wasn't spring-like, but I'd say we were really lucky with the weather.  For the first two hours after I got home it was hailing, sometimes hard.  Water levels are high as well, after all of our recent precipitation, though there wasn't water over the trail, just mud.

For all of the stormy weather, it was fairly birdy too.


Osprey                                           Two hanging around the nest
Sharp-shinned Hawk                      I had one at the Rowing Club late
MERLIN                                       Streaked through right over our heads
Hairy Woodpecker                        Saw a couple
Northern Shrike                             One still in the East Meadow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow   About 2 at the lake
Yellow-rumped Warbler                 LOTS

The MERLIN gave us a great show, flying in from the west just south of the weir, and streaking over our heads as it crossed the Dog Meadow.  It aimed a little smack against an American Crow as it went by (no contact, I don't believe).

The NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS were our only new arrivals for the year. We looked in vain for Cliff and Barn Swallows, Hermit Thrush, Orange-crowned Warbler, migrant Lincoln's Sparrows, or Brown-headed Cowbird, all of which should be here soon.

I spent some time afterwards observing the (click for photos)
ANNA'S x RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD hybrid at the Rowing Club.  Again, I did not hear it vocalize while perched.  When I played the Anna's Hummingbird track on my iPod, the bird responded aggressively.  During that time, it made the ticking call that Anna's make.

There was also a possibly gynandromorphic Mallard at the Rowing Club.  It had a female-type bill, but it's overall coloring was a washed-out version of a male Mallard.

Salmonberry are blooming fully.  Red Elderberry are really beginning to bloom, as are many species of tree.

For the day, 62 species.

== Michael

Bushtits were visiting this nest in a Weeping Willow at the Rowing Club

Male Hairy Woodpecker behind the Rowing Club dock

Mallard on left has a washed out male plumage, and a female-type beak

This is possibly a case of gynandromorphism.  The male to the right appears normal

Hugh Jennings' photo of the tulips at the windmill

Hugh Jennings' photo of the turtles at the Rowing Club pond

Report for April 7, 2009

Just before anyone panics, no it's not Thursday already. All of the posts about great birds from Montlake Fill almost got me headed there this morning before I "got real" about it and went to Marymoor instead.  I did my usual walk - usual in all regards except that I was alone.  Quite a change from the 12-17 people I've been having recently.  I kept wishing for another pair of eyes and ears.  The weather couldn't have been better - almost completely cloudless and no wind.  Cool to start, but warming quickly.

The verdict?  Spring is Here!  I had SEVEN new birds for the year list!


Cinnamon Teal                      Male in slough near lake
Osprey                                  One on nest platform
Green Heron                         One near lake
Greater Yellowlegs ?             3 high flying silent shorebirds
Barn Swallow                        2 flew over the Compost Piles
American Pipit                      1 flyby
Orange-crowned Warbler     1 near weir, silent
Common Yellowthroat          4-5 singing away (saw 1)
Lincoln's Sparrow                 Only our second of the winter
Brown-headed Cowbird       One male calling in flight
White-crowned Sparrow      Still gambelii around, singing

I'm almost 100% sure of the ID on the yellowlegs.

Signs of breeding:

Red-tailed Hawk, presumably on eggs, on odd-snag nest
Barn Owl in nest box
Red-breasted Sapsuckers drumming
Downy Woodpecker drumming
Anna's Hummingbird male displaying
Rufous Hummingbird males displaying, female with nest material
Tree Swallows visiting nest boxes
Bushtits all paired up with one pair building nest
American Robin with nest material

For the day 57 species.  The park year list is now up to 101.

== Michael

Orange-crowned Warbler in a Red Alder near the weir

Same Orange-crowned Warbler in a different Red Alder near the weir

Male "Audubon's" race Yellow-rumped Warbler in a Red Alder

Yellow-rumped Warbler at the Rowing Club

Common Yellowthroat failing to remain still for his photo

Caught him this time, in a Spirea

Male Cinnamon Teal in the slough near the start of the boardwalk

Barn Owl is presumably on eggs

Report for April 2, 2009

Blech - heavy rain interspersed with slightly less heavy rain.  Temps in the low 40's.  At least there wasn't much wind - the only saving grace, but that's a biggie.  Only six more weeks of winter, thank god.  Over a dozen of us trudged around Marymoor Ark this morning.  There were birds to see, but overall the species total was fairly pathetic and my hands were cold.  And you know what?  It was great.


Wood Duck                                At least 5, lots of calling
Common Goldeneye                    At least a dozen
California Gull                              8-10, which is a lot for Marymoor
Barn Owl                                     Sharon saw it in the next box
WESTERN SCREECH-OWL     See the note below, and the photos way below
Rufous Hummingbird                    Several - nice looks
Northern Shrike                           At least 2, calling
Fox Sparrow                               20-25, some singing

The BARN OWL was *not* visible in the box shortly after 7:00, but Sharon stopped by again at about 11:00a.m. and was able to see it.  I think this demonstrates that the adult can be in the box and not be visible.  We also had one, barely visible, roosting near the windmill again.

FOX SPARROWS were all over the slough trail through the dog area.  They were mixed in with SONG SPARROWS, SPOTTED TOWHEES, and GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS, but probably outnumbered those species combined.

Ollie spotted a NORTHERN SHRIKE in the Dog Meadow, and we spent quite a while making sure it wasn't a Loggerhead.  At one point it was buzzed by a female RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD.  Later, there were 2 shrike at the north end of the East Meadow.  They flew off together to the northwest, and at least one of them was calling in flight.

Swallows were almost a no-show.  Finally, Ollie spotted one west of the mansion.  It turned out VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS were flying very very low over the slough there.  We found more at the Rowing Club pond, again flying very low over the water.  We had no other swallows today.

The best moment of the morning, by far, though was just after we found those first swallows.   Matt turned to me and said, "Wouldn't it be cool if we found a WESTERN SCREECH-OWL in one of these trees?  Oh My God - there's one right there."  There really was barely time between the first and second sentences for me to actually write them as two sentences.  The owl was in just about the very first spot Matt looked, about 8 feet up a young fir. We had close but obscured views of the bird, which was a lifer for one or two people and was a first visible WESO for several more.

Besides the female RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD buzzing the first shrike, we had two males south of the East Meadow, which posed for us nicely.  Still no Salmonberry blooming, though we did find some Red-flowering Current in bloom.

We ended up the day with only 49 species, but my wife says the Screech-Owl ought to count for two.  If you don't like that math, we also had a LONG-TAILED WEASEL with a mouth full of something furry, which ought to count for something...

== Michael

Female Mallard (left) and male Gadwall (right)

Strangely, the Gadwall shows a white neck ring. Possibly a sign of hybridization
with Mallard.  Photos by Ollie Oliver

California Gull - photo by Ollie

Ollie's photo of a couple more of the California Gulls.

Ollie managed to get photos of the Western Screech Owl

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

Report for April 3, 2008

What a nice day it was.  There were 17 birders (if I managed to count right), and sunshine, and birds.  It was below freezing to start, but the sun was out, and it wasn't windy, and it soon warmed up.  Not a whole lot of new birds back, but there was plenty to see!


Osprey                              1 back, seen at nest and over mansion
Wilson's Snipe                   2-4 below weir, 1 at Rowing Club
Barn Owl                           2? young in nest box
Black-capped Chickadee   Nest excavation underway at RC
Brown Creeper                  Building nest south of mansion
Northern Shrike                 Nice looks north of fields 7-8-9
American Robin                 Two nests found
Yellow-rumped Warbler    Several, both races
Dark-eyed Junco               Building nest near mansion
Western Meadowlark        One near Compost Piles

A HAIRY WOODPECKER was seen on a short snag along the slough.  While we were watching it, a NORTHERN FLICKER landed just above the Hairy.  There were also at least 3 DOWNY WOODPECKERS in the immediate area, and maybe more. Later, we had a RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER at the Rowing Club to make a 4 woodpecker day.

There were two COOPER'S HAWKS circling over the Dog Meadow.  One was flapping with extremely deep wingbeats (wings going almost straight down then almost straight up) in a moderate, deliberate rhythm that we had never seen with a Coop before.  It was clearly straining to gain altitude quickly. The other was doing the more ordinary flap-flap-flap-glide, with relatively shallow wingbeats.  Later, we saw a Coop with what appeared to be a freshly caught robin, east of the mansion.   Perhaps because of our presence (though we were trying to be good), it ended up leaving the uneaten carcass on a branch and flying off.  Presumably it returned later.

Quite a few WOOD DUCKS, singing SAVANNAH SPARROWS, nest exchanges for the RED-TAILED HAWKS atop the odd-snag nest - lots of fun stuff.

Afterwards, I did a quick walk through the main loop solo, to see if we'd missed anything the first time through.  Things were MUCH quieter at 1:30 than at 7:00.  The only things added on the bonus loop were seeing a BALD EAGLE at the new (west) nest, a lone COMMON LOON very far out on the lake, and a pair of NORTHERN FLICKERS caught in flagrante delicto.

For the day, 65 species.   With the week's additions of Osprey, Common Loon, and California Quail (reported by Martyn Stewart a couple of days ago), I believe our 2008 list is up to 89.

== Michael

Composite photo of the Northern Shrike north of fields 7-8-9

Female and male Common Mergansers just above the weir

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Canada Goose photo by Ollie Oliver

Hairy Woodpecker

Ollie Oliver's photo of the Hairy

Crescent moon at 6:40 a.m.

Brown Creeper emerging from nest site in crack.  Note the twigs stuffed below the bird.

Report for April 05, 2007

14 of us had a great day under clearing skies at Marymoor this morning.  It was very birdy, with a couple of surprises, some interesting behaviors, and some new arrivals.

Highlights (FOS=First sighting of Spring):

Osprey                                 Copulating - FOS
Bald Eagle                            Adult seen leaving new nest
Red-breasted Sapsucker       Great looks south of mansion
Northern Shrike                    East Meadow - latest spring date ever.
Varied Thrush                       Heard singing west of the park.  Getting late.
American Pipit                      5 on grass fields 7-8-9
Yellow-rumped Warbler       Many nice singing males
Common Yellowthroat          Heard in East Meadow - FOS
Brown-headed Cowbird       FOS

Two male BELTED KINGFISHERS chased each other around grandly and noisily. At one point they landed on some snags along the river and started displaying by spreading their wings.  A female came by causing even more commotion.

The OSPREY are back, seen flying high overhead and calling, seen near the nest, and seen copulating on a light pole near the nest.

We had fun watching BROWN CREEPERS in the big cottonwood forest, and listening to an abundance of singing SAVANNAH SPARROWS just about everywhere.

The BALD EAGLE nest may be deep enough that an adult can be hidden completely inside it.  We looked and looked, trying to catch a glimpse of activity at the nest, without success.  When we got to the lake, a single adult was on the usual tree on the west bank.  As we looped back, several people saw an adult eagle *leave* the nest and fly north.  So I think it's possible that one eagle was on the nest almost the whole time, with the other one hanging at the lake.

After the Rowing Club stop, I went to the cabana to scan the north end of the lake, as we were grebeless for the day.  I was hoping for Pied-billed, but what I found were 4-5 HORNED GREBE in (or approaching) breeding plumage. I did see some Pied-billeds too, but they were too far away to count for the Marymoor list.

For the day, 62 species.  3 new for the year (OSPR, COYE, BHCO), to bring the year total to an even 100.

= Michael

Displaying male Belted Kingfisher

Fox Sparrow

American Pipits

Male Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's race)

Red-breasted Sapsucker


Bird Sightings Week 14
April 2-8*      *adjust by 1 day in leap years



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