Friends of Marymoor Park


Bird Sightings Week 20
May 14-20*


Rarities for Week 20:

Common Nighthawk 19-May-13 Reported by Andy McCormick
Whimbrel 14-May-00 S. Pink per WOSNews 70 per E. Hunn spreadsheet
Olive-sided Flycatcher 20-May-06 Reported by David White
Olive-sided Flycatcher 17-May-11 Reported by Katie Speirs
Olive-sided Flycatcher 16-May-13  
Bank Swallow 18-May-16  
Western Bluebird ? 16-May-01 Reported by Charlie Wright, East Meadow
Yellow-headed Blackbird 15-May-14  
Yellow-headed Blackbird 16-May-04 Photographed by Graham Hutchison.

Report for May 25, 2023                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

A gorgeous day at Marymoor this morning.  There was a little bit of ground fog that lasted for the first 45 minutes of the walk, but other than that the weather was perfect.  Sunny, never too hot.  49-65 degrees.  There was quite a bit of bird activity, but species diversity is extremely low.

We had just 55 species today.  That's six fewer species than the lowest total in the preceding 10 years, and is 10+ species below the preceding 10-year average!  

Still, there were some things to see.

  • CACKLING GOOSE - One seen very well in a close fly-by with 4-5 Canadas.  At least 3 weeks later than the previous latest spring record!
  • Bald Eagle - Lots of activity, probably at least 7 birds, including 4 juveniles in one tree at the lake.  This year's young???
  • Spotted Sandpiper - 3+ below the weir.  First of Year (FOY)
  • Pileated Woodpecker - Adult feeding baby(s) in a snag in the Big Cottonwood Forest.  Just the 3rd year we've noted nesting in the park
  • Willow Flycatcher - Several heard singing, and at least three seen.  (FOY)
  • Western Kingbird - One atop a tall cottonwood west of the Dog Meadow.  (FOY for the survey)
  • Bullock's Oriole - Female possibly building a nest in the heronry.  Later we saw our first full-adult male of the year
  • Lazuli Bunting - Two females and 1 or 2 males, East Meadow and near the Viewing Mound
Misses today included Common Merganser, Rock Pigeon, Green Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Cliff Swallow, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Yellow-rumped Warbler.

There are also 5-10 species that have usually (at least 12 of the last 20 years) been seen at Marymoor which have not been reported this year.  And there's another 5+ that have been reported on eBird, but have not been seen on our surveys this year.  Also, swallow and swift numbers seem very, very low.  Kind of worrying.

As I said, for the day just 55 species.

= Michael Hobbs

Willow Flycatcher.  Hear it sing "Fitz Bew".  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Pileated Woodpecker bringing food to young in the nest. Photo by Michael Hobbs

Report for May 19, 2022                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

It was another overcast “spring” day at Marymoor, but better than normal - only a tiny bit of drizzle.
We had some nice birds throughout the day:
  • Black Swift - among the big flock of Vaux’s, we had maybe 10  or so over the Community Garden
  • Spotted Sandpiper - 2 at the Rowing Club - First of Year (FOY)
  • Short-billed Gull - a late flock of 17  over Lake Sammamish
  • Western Screech-Owl - one adult, one newly fledged young, pre-dawn
  • Western Wood-Pewee- 1 seen, others heard, (FOY)
  • Willow Flycatcher - heard only, (FOY)
  • Pacific-slope Flycatcher - 1 giving what is called the female location call, (FOY)
  • Cassin’s Vireo - 1 (FOY) - our first since  2019
  • N. Rough-winged Swallow - at the garden, seemingly exploring the crevices in the cement bins like they might try to nest there??
  • Swainson’s Thrush - still haven’t seen any, but more  were in today, including some singing pre-dawn
  • Evening Grosbeak - 3 flyovers, (FOY)
  • Golden-crowned Sparrow - 1-  getting late
  • Western Meadowlark - 1  in  soccer fields, also late
  • Bullock’s Oriole - 4-5 - seemed to be about 3 territories getting set up
  • Nashville Warbler - nice looks at 1, (FOY)
  • MacGillivray’s Warbler - 1 near windmill, (FOY) - sang and then refused to come  out for views despite way too long trying to glimpse it.
  • Lazuli Bunting - ~7 - five males in the east meadow and 2 females in the garden
Several of those - Nashville, MacGillivray’s, Cassin’s, and even Pac-slope aren’t guaranteed every year, much less on a single day.

Misses included Rock Pigeon, Green Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Cliff Swallow, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Western Tanager [maybe heard].
I think if I’ve got things right we had 8 firsts and overall 77  species for the day.
Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA

Report for May 20, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

It was a lot wetter than last night’s forecasts showed.  We birded under very gray skies, and for the first several hours we had intermittent mizzle and drizzle.  Lighting conditions were terrible for viewing, and temps stayed resolutely below 50 degrees.  It was pretty birdy, but there was a lot of heard-only or heard-and-glimpsed birding going on.  Late in the morning, the weather got a little better.
  • Caspian Tern – one from the Lake Platform – only our 2nd of the year
  • Osprey – seem to be sitting on eggs on both nests
  • Cooper’s Hawk – one over grass soccer fields
  • Barn Owl – Matt saw one a little after 5 a.m.
  • Barred Owl – I heard one calling a little before 5a.m.  Sounded like it was near the west end of the boardwalk
  • Pileated Woodpecker – thought we heard one.  Later, we had one fly right over our heads near the cars
  • Western Wood-Pewee – they’re back, and they’re back in numbers.  Probably had 8 at a minimum.  First of Year (FOY)
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow – at least one below the weir
  • Swainson’s Thrush – some nice actual views again this week
  • Red Crossbill – some heard overhead twice
  • Bullock’s Oriole – probably at least 4, with a pair at the Pea Patch gathering nesting material
  • Orange-crowned Warbler – a few heard singing
  • Yellow Warbler – at least 10 heard, a few seen
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – only about three, all heard-only
  • Townsend’s Warbler – at least 1 singing along west edge of Dog Meadow
  • Wilson’s Warbler – at least 4 males
  • Western Tanager – two females at Rowing Club, a male seen later near the tennis courts as I left the park
  • Lazuli Bunting – a minimum of two males and a female, East Meadow
A late scan of the lake was very productive.  First I was able to confirm a BANK SWALLOW  (FOY); earlier we’d thought we might have seen one from the Lake Platform.  There was also a CLIFF SWALLOW, which makes for a SEVEN SWALLOW DAY!  Over the Lake Platform I also found at least eleven BLACK SWIFT  (FOY).  And looking across the lake I found a non-breeding plumage COMMON LOON.
Finally, as I was leaving the park, I spotted a GREEN HERON  (FOY) being chased by a ROCK PIGEON near the intersection of SR-520 and West Lake Samm Parkway.
Misses today included Red-tailed Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, and Downy Woodpecker.  For the day, 74 species.  For the year, adding 4, we’re at 137 species.
= Michael Hobbs

Report for May 14, 2020                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

Our first group survey of the COVID-19 era, and it lands during the worst 6 hours of weather for the week.  It wasn’t horrible, just dark and mizzly, drizzly, and occasionally rainy.  After 9:00, it was sometimes better.  Rather quiet, but we got some good looks at birds.
  • American Coot – one from Lake Platform, unusual this time of year at Marymoor
  • Caspian Tern – one from Lake Platform, our First of Year (FOY)
  • Barn Owl – Matt saw one leave the windmill a little after 4:00 a.m.
  • Willow Flycatcher – one, NW corner of dog area; FOY
  • Northern Rough-winged Swallow – several seen
  • Swainson’s Thrush – only 2-3, but one gave us some nice looks
  • American Goldfinch – pretty, and pretty numerous
  • Bullock’s Oriole – at least 2 males and a female; they gave us multiple fabulous looks
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – one heard at Rowing Club parking lot
We had an unusual sparrow at the north end of the East Meadow that escaped us before we could be positive of the ID.  It may well have been a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW; certainly it had a bright and clean breast, and the correct coloration on the rest of the bird, though the face seemed less strongly marked than one would expect for CCSP.
We had an Empidonax sp. with a bold eye ring that disappeared before we could be satisfied with an identification.
There were a lot of birds that “got away” today.
Misses included Rock Pigeon, Green Heron, Brown Creeper, Marsh Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and Orange-crowned Warbler.
Still, we managed 65 species, though several of those were heard-only (and distantly heard-only at that).
= Michael

Lonesome George, the (presumably released) Ring-necked Pheasant is looking very good these days.  He really needs a mate...  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Report for May 16, 2019                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

We were under the fog today, which made it dark and damp and quiet.  Really quiet.  Not much in the ways of highlights.  Very unfortunate that we weren’t out yesterday, which was much birdier.  I was only there briefly yesterday afternoon at a meeting and then trying to verify a report of a possible Townsend’s Solitaire (can’t confirm or deny), but I heard a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT in the willows along the east edge of the East Meadow.  Unfortunately, my phone croaked yesterday, and I could neither try to call the bird out into view, nor post to Tweeters.  Today, there was no sign of either bird.
Today’s highlights:
  • Bufflehead – lone female at the Rowing Club pond.  There are very few records this late
  • Spotted Sandpiper – at least 3 below the weir
  • Cooper’s (?) Hawk – largish juvenile accipiter flew off too soon for positive ID, but probably Coop
  • Hairy Woodpecker – brought food to the nest
  • Pileated Woodpecker – removed fecal sack from the nest.  Both these nests are close together in the Big Cottonwood Forest
  • SWAINSON’S THRUSH – we finally got them for the survey; last week the were “might-have-been-heard” only
SWAINSON’S THRUSH was the only new species for the day.  Yesterday’s YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT was only the 3rd Marymoor record, the others being from mid-July and early September.
We had 58 species today.  Yesterday, I had RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER and WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, both missed today, besides the chat. 
== Michael Hobbs

Report for May 17, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

It was oddly quiet today, under a thick blanket of clouds. Quiet, that is, except for the BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS WHO SHOUTED ALL OVER EVERYTHING ELSE ALL MORNING. And the birds appeared to be very busy with their own quiet purposes, rather than posing for us. That is to say, the list of birds we saw was substantially shorter than our total list.

Highlights, such as they were:

  • Mallard – two ducklings at the weir, two at the lake, 10 tiny ducklings at the Rowing Club
  • CALIFORNIA QUAIL – heard from across the slough
  • Spotted Sandpiper – two at the weir
  • Anna’s Hummingbird – two nests currently occupied that I know of
  • Western Wood-Pewee – one silent bird, south of the Dog Meadow
  • N. Rough-winged Swallow – a few amongst the Violet-greens and Trees
  • Evening Grosbeak – one barely heard overhead
  • Golden-crowned Sparrow – getting late for them; 3 at north end of East Meadow
  • Bullock’s Oriole – one barely heard in large cottonwood
  • Lazuli Bunting – Female at north end of East Meadow

Misses included Gadwall, Rock Pigeon, Green Heron, Cliff Swallow, Brown Creeper, and Pine Siskin, all of which have been seen on at least half of previous Week 20 visits.

Nothing new for the year.

For the day, a stretch to call it 60 species, with 9 of those heard only, and several others (Yellow Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Swainson’s Thrush, Western Tanager, Red-tailed Hawk, Barn Swallow, etc.) seen only by one person, or only glimpsed by a few people.

Disappointing for May.

== Michael Hobbs

Killdeer along the slough.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Great Blue Heron below the weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

One of two Anna's Hummingbirds on nests.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Spotted Towhee, singing.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Mallards at Rowing Club - cuteness!.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Mallards at Rowing Club - cuterness!.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for May 18, 2017                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

Another uncharacteristically quiet day for May, under a high blanket of overcast. For the early few hours, lighting was difficult. Add to that a paucity of song, and things were pretty sparse.


  • At least 6 wood ducks, mostly males
  • Bufflehead – 3 females; getting late for them
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove – two sightings of single bird(s) – first for 2017
  • Vaux’s Swift – probably 15+, a high number for Marymoor
  • Spotted Sandpiper – at least two below weir
  • Barn Owl – Matt saw one leave the windmill, very early
  • Western Wood-Pewee – 1-2; first for 2017
  • Pacific-slope Flycatcher – 1; first for 2017
  • Swainson’s Thrush – 3-5 seem, probably our best looks EVER at old Ash tree at the Rowing Club
  • Western Tanager – singing male(s)
  • Bullock’s Oriole – d i s t a n t  view of a male

Matt & Sharon saw a BEAVER pre-dawn, and we all saw a COYOTE on the far side of the slough below the weir.

For the day, 59 species. For the year, adding three, we’re up to 130 species, I believe.

== Michael Hobbs

Female Black-headed Grosbeak.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Female Anna's Hummingbird on the nest.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Female Anna's Hummingbird gathering spider silk for a nest.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Swainson's Thrush.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Swainson's Thrush.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for May 19, 2016                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

This was another of many days where the night and early morning weather looked pretty bad, but the actual weather in the morning was pretty decent. From before our 5:30 a.m. start time, the rains had subsided, and we had a dry morning under not-to-dark overcast. There were thick, dark clouds around, but also some thin spots that gave us pretty good light much of the time. And it was birdy the way May should be birdy.


  • Wood Duck – 2 females with ducklings at the lake, 2 males
  • Double-crested Cormorant – Unusual late-May sighting – 1 twice, or 2
  • Green Heron – Sub-adult bird seen twice – prob. the 1 that overwintered
  • Turkey Vulture – Getting late for a spring sighting; First of Year (FOY)
  • Spotted Sandpiper – Two at weir, some wing-up displays
  • Ring-billed Gull – Several sub-adult birds  – unusual for late May
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove – Three at East Meadow
  • Barn Owl – Matt had ~5 this morning, including at least 1 juvenile
  • BLACK SWIFT – ~75, certainly DOZENS, mostly to the SE (FOY)
  • Anna’s Hummingbird – 2 large babies in nest near start of boardwalk
  • Willow Flycatcher – At least 2,  (FOY)
  • Pac.-slope Flycatcher – At least 2
  • BANK SWALLOW – Two+ at lake, seen well. Only the 3rd or 4th record
  • - Warblers -   – Reasonable numbers of the expected species
  • CHIPPING SPARROW – Mark & Lee saw 2, East Meadow
  • Lazuli Bunting – Singing male, and female, Viewing Mound
  • Bullock’s Oriole – Nice looks at males
  • Evening Grosbeak – Several small flyby flocks

For the day, 72 species. For the year, adding TURKEY VULTURE, BLACK SWIFT, and WILLOW FLYCATCHER, we’re up to 130 species in 2016.

== Michael Hobbs

Male Common Yellowthroat  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Subadult Green Heron.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Western Wood-Pewee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bushtits building a nest.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Western Tanager.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Western Tanager.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Anna's Hummingbirds.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Anna's Hummingbird juveniles are almost fledged.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hooded Merganser duckling.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Wood Duck with duckling.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Wood Duck with duckling.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Barn Swallows.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Barn Swallow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Rufous Hummingbird.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Black Swift.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Lazuli Bunting.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Lazuli Bunting.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Male Anna's Hummingbird stretching.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Just what was that weird pose again???.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Sub-adult Bald Eagles.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Male Black-headed Grosbeak. Photo by Lillian Reis

Bushtit with large caterpillar.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for May 14, 2015                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

It was a rather subdued morning at Marymoor today. It was dark and misty and mizzly. The BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS, WARBLING VIROES, and WILSON’S WARBLERS were out in force, singing away. Conservatively, we had at least 20 of each species, but that’s probably a huge undercount for each. But beyond that, things were not that hopping.


Wood Duck                 2 pair, one with babies
Mallard                        Strange to see a male hanging with a female w/babies
Mourning Dove            1 flew around the Compost Piles area
Barn Owl                     Matt & Sharon had one, Viewing Mound, after 5:00 a.m Anna’s Hummingbird    Female building nest under heronry
W. WOOD-PEWEE    Silent bird at Rowing Club – First of Year
Pac.-slope Flycatcher   Uncooperative bird south of heronry – FOY
Golden-cr. Kinglet        Adult feeding fledged young at Rowing Club parking lot
LAZULI BUNTING     5+ males, 2+ females, East Meadow & Fields 7-8-9
Evening Grosbeak         Sharon saw two fly over the Dog Meadow area

Matt also heard what sounded like baby BARN OWLS in the windmill, after several weeks without. 2nd clutch?

We had great looks at AMERICAN BEAVER – at least 3 out in the daytime across from Dog Central.

For the day, 64 species. Misses included Gadwall, and Cedar Waxwing (late in getting back?). Grace&Ollie had STELLER’S JAY and a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK just after the rest of us left for the day, or we would have missed those, too.

== Michael Hobbs

Juvenile (foreground) and adult Great Blue Heron. Photo by Hugh Jennings
Red-breasted Nuthatch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Bullock's Oriole.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Rufous Hummingbird.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Lazuli Bunting. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Lazuli Bunting singing. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Tree Swallow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Western Wood-Pewee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Baby BUNNY - Squeee!  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Wood Duck, 2015-05-09.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Bald Eagle, 2015-05-09.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

White-crowned Sparrow, 2015-05-09.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Black-headed Grosbeak, 2015-05-09.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Black-headed Grosbeak, 2015-05-09.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Western Tanager, 2015-05-09.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Swarm of Honey Bees, 2015-05-09.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for May 15, 2014                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

It was warm and hazy. The full moon was setting just as the sun was rising, both just at 5:30 a.m. when we were starting, though both were a bit obscured by haze. Things get awfully early from now on until July (especially for those of us, like me, who were at the opera the night before). The haze kept the full sun away for the morning, so it didn’t get too hot too fast. The mosquitoes were thick. The trees were noisy with Black-headed Grosbeaks and Wilson’s Warblers (though we didn’t SEE any of the latter). The day was not filled with surprises, but was fairly birdy.

Highlights: (FOY – First of Year)

Common Merganser           Appear to be nesting near the park office
Great Blue Heron                Large babies in the nests
Spotted Sandpiper              Heard and glimpsed at lake platform – FOY
Swainson’s Thrush              Heard calls; a few of us saw 1 at Rowing Club – FOY
Cedar Waxwing                  FOY on 5/13; small flocks seen 5/15
Golden-crowned Sparrow  Getting late; still one present
Western Tanager                 Flock of ~20 in Doug Firs near mansion
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD   Female in fields 7-8-9 (There was
                                                            a male two weeks ago)
Evening Grosbeak                A few flyby birds calling

Though the second sighting of YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD this month, it’s just the 6th YHBL sighting ever for Marymoor.

Misses today included Rock Pigeon, Band-tailed Pigeon, Western Wood-Pewee, and Orange-crowned Warbler. We saw pretty much everything else that was to be expected, though we were hoping for more unusual species than just the YHBL.

For the day, 59 species. For the year, I think we’re at 130 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Many of the Mallards at Marymoor are part-domestic stock, which provides for a wide range of plumages.  The bird a the top had tones and patterns that had a few people thinking "Northern Shoveler", before the whole bird was seen.  Photo by Hugh Jenning
Male Bullock's Oriole.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Brown-headed Cowbird.  Note the typical beak-up posture.
Photo by Hugh Jennings

Female Brown-headed Cowbirds.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Tree Swallow at a nest box.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Female Yellow-headed Blackbird on a goalpost, fields 7-8-9.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Ahh, Muskrats...

...Muskrats trying to make more muskrats.    Photos by Hugh Jennings

Report for May 16, 2013                                                                                                                              Birding at Marymoor

The rather heavy overcast of the early morning slowly thinned to broken sunshine by late morning, and the threatened showers never happened. So it was kind of dark for the first hour which made viewing difficult, but otherwise, the weather was very nice. The birding was great. It was really, really birdy, and it was often difficult to hear the less common species over the cacophony of American Robins, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Warbling Vireos, and Wilson’s Warblers.


Northern Shoveler               At least 1 of a flyby flock of 5; unsure of the rest Great Blue Heron                Several of the young are quite large
Osprey                               1 on nest; 6 simultaneously kettling near windmill!
Spotted Sandpiper              First of Spring; 1 near weir at about 6 a.m.
Vaux’s Swift                       Great looks near weir, maybe 8 total
Hairy Woodpecker             Male bringing food to nest; young chirping inside
OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER – 1, silent, across slough from Dog Central
Western Wood-Pewee        Three – FOS
Hammond’s Flycatcher?      Probable, along boardwalk. Silent, poor views
Pacific-slope Flycatcher       1 near 3rd dog swim beach, silent, good looks
Warbling Vireo                    Ubiquitous, singing - 30+
Purple Martin                       2-3, model airplane field, male gathering nest material
Tree Swallow                       Pair copulating
N. Rough-winged Swallow   A couple seen
Pacific Wren                        One singing near dog area portapotty. LATE.
Swainson’s Thrush               Saw about 3; Matt heard singing early
Cedar Waxwing                  Nest being built, west edge of Dog Meadow
Orange-crowned Warbler    Only 1
Bl.-throated Gray Warbler   Female, west edge of Dog Meadow
Townsend’s Warbler           One heard singing, SE of East Meadow
Wilson’s Warbler                Ubiquitous, singing - 25+
Western Tanager                 Flock of 8, maybe 10+ total
BULLOCK’S ORIOLE      Copulating, NW part of Dog Meadow; 3 birds total
Red Crossbill                       Flock of a dozen or more near start of boardwalk
Evening Grosbeak                Heard near mansion

For the day, 71 species! For the year, adding SPOTTED SANDPIPER, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER, WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, and PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER, I think we’re up to 129 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Very dark domestic "Mallard" with dark ducklings.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Common Merganser pair at weir.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Bullock's Oriole pair, shortly after copulating in a nearby birch tree.
Photo by Hugh Jennings

Adult (top) and three young Great Blue Herons on a nest in the heronry.
Photo by Michael Hobbs

Male Black-headed Grosbeak.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Cedar Waxwing building a nest.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Western Tanager.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Marsh Wren.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Adult Bald Eagle.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Swainson's Thrush.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Violet-green Swallow at windmill.  Photos by Ollie Oliver

The swallows are almost certainly nesting just under the roof in a hole

Three of the six Osprey kettling over the river near the windmill.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

One of the Ospreys.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Song Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Northern Orioles, 2013-05-15.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for May 17, 2012                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

It was sunny but chilly this morning, with a bit of a nasty cold breeze, and maybe that kept some of the birds hidden or quiet. We're definitely into Summer mode - we didn't have a single lingering winter species; everything was a breeding bird, a strict migrant passing through, or a wanderer. Only a couple of new arrivals, and otherwise things were fairly quiet. Warbler numbers were way, way down from last week.


Turkey Vulture                               One high to the northwest
Caspian Tern                                  One flew up the slough towards the lake
EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE Two flew up the slough towards the lake
Barn Owl                                        Matt had 3 at model airplane field pre-dawn
Western Wood-Pewee                   1 in Big Cottonwood Forest - First of Spring
Pacific-slope Flycatcher                  2+, Meadow edges - FOS
WESTERN KINGBIRD                2 between East Meadow and airplane field
Orange-crowned Warbler              Only about 2
Yellow Warbler                             1 seen, a few heard singing
Yellow-rumped Warbler                 Fewer than 5
Black-headed Grosbeak                 Males in abundance, and a couple of females
Bullock's Oriole                             One female north of Dog Central
Evening Grosbeak                          Flock of thirteen, plus several more flyovers

Wilson's Warbler and Common Yellowthroat were fairly numerous

We saw two VAUX'S SWIFTS in apparent display flight - gliding in tandem with wings held upright in a sharp dihedral.

There's at least one white fluffy baby RED-TAILED HAWK on the odd-snag nest west of the main park entrance. The baby GREAT BLUE HERONS that we could see in the heronry at Dog Central are getting sizable. At least 2 SAVANNAH SPARROWS were seen gathering nesting material.

Somehow this spring, we've managed to miss Blue-winged and Cinnamon Teal, Short-eared Owl, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, and MacGillivray's Warbler. Green Heron and Purple Martin have only been seen once or twice, and not yet on a Thursday walk. We're still waiting on Willow Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, and Lazuli Bunting.

For the day, 60 species. For the year, adding WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE and PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER, we're up to 130 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Adult Bald Eagle.  Photo by Ollie Oliver
Bald Eagle in the early morning light.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Bullock's Oriole near where they nested last year.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

One of two Western Tanagers along west edge of Dog Meadow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Western Wood-Pewee in the Big Cottonwood Forest.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Black-headed Grosbeak.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

One of two Western Kingbirds.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-breasted Nuthatch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Typical loose-flock flight style for these 13 Evening Grosbeaks.  Inset shows the white wing panels of a male.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bewick's Wrens at a possible nest hole, 2012-05-13.  Photo by Marc Hoffman

Report for May 19, 2011                                                                                                                           Birding at Marymoor

It was COLD out there (just 37 degrees at 5:30 a.m.), but with almost clear skies and little wind, it did slowly warm up and it was 61 degrees by the time we left the Rowing Club. We were disappointed in having ZERO FLYCATCHERS, though this is still a bit early for them. Basically, nothing is showing up early and some things are lingering late, but we found virtually everything that ought to be here at this time of year.

The best few minutes were along the west edge of the Dog Meadow, where we were treated to prolonged, glorious looks at both male and female WESTERN TANAGERS. One or two trees over were a pair of BULLOCK'S ORIOLES. We had our first-of-the-year CEDAR WAXWINGS. And WARBLING VIREOS, WILSON'S WARBLERS, and BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS were out singing.

Lingering winter visitors included:
    Northern Shoveler              Pair flyby at 5:30
    Lincoln's Sparrow              1 east of the East Footbridge
    Golden-crowned Sparrow  2 near Pea Patch

Other highlights:
    Great Blue Heron        Numbers up - foraging for young?
    Green Heron               Several sightings; one posed at RC
    Sharp-shinned Hawk   2 south of windmill
    Hairy Woodpecker     Female very actively feeding young at nest
    Cliff Swallows             Gathering mud at Compost Piles
    Swainson's Thrush       1 singing at 5:00; first song of year
    Townsend's Warbler   2+ east of East Footbridge
    Evening Grosbeak       4 flyovers (dang hard to see)

Our only real misses were Pied-billed Grebe (absent in recent summers, so no surprise there), Band-tailed Pigeon (a 50-50 shot this time of year), Belted Kingfisher (less than a 50-50 shot), Western Wood-Pewee (seen 7 out of the last
17 years), and House Sparrow (absent for several years now, so totally no surprise). That is to say, we didn't miss anything expected.

We also had a Pacific Tree Frog hopping around near the park office.

For the day, 66 species. Adding Cedar Waxwing, the year list is now at 130.

It was a good day, except for my whining.

== Michael Hobbs

Male Bullock's Oriole.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Western Tanager.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Swainson's Thrush.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Pacific Treefrog.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Hairy Woodpecker at the nest hole.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Hairy Woodpecker leaving the nest hole.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Common Merganser.  Photo by Marc Hoffman

Barn Swallow, 2011-05-18.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Cliff Swallow, possibly starting a nest, 2011-05-18.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Mourning Dove, 2011-05-18.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Osprey, 2011-05-18.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Olive-sided Flycatcher, 2011-05-17.  Photo by Kathryn Speirs

Orange-crowned Warbler, 2011-05-13.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Male Wilson's Warbler, 2011-05-13.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Male Rufous Hummingbird, 2011-05-13.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Wood Duck pair, 2011-05-13.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Snail photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for May 20, 2010

It was a miserable, cold, windy, dark morning.  Blessedly, we only had about 5 minutes of rain (9:02-9:07 or thereabouts), but it threatened all morning.  About 10% of our species were heard-only, and there were quite a few things seen only by a few people.  Whining aside, we actually did pretty well.


Bufflehead                          1 female lingering at the Rowing Club
Green Heron                      1 near old nest at Rowing Club
Bald Eagle                          Huge numbers (7-10) continue
PEREGRINE FALCON    1 over Dog Meadow
Virginia Rail                        2+ near weir, one seen
BLACK SWIFT                At least 16 - earliest sighting ever, FOS
Vaux's Swift                       2-3.  Numbers seem down this year
Downy Woodpecker          Copulating
Western Wood-Pewee       At least 3
WESTERN KINGBIRD    2 at the north end of the East Meadow
Swainson's Thrush              Finally some song, 1 seen
Cedar Waxwing                 First in 8 weeks
Wilson's Warbler               Notably many singing
Evening Grosbeak              Heard many times overhead, glimpsed

Our previous early record for BLACK SWIFT was 2009-05-21, so this was barely earlier, but earlier nonetheless.

One BEAVER in the slough as well.

Only one WESTERN TANAGER was heard, and that just barely.  No Orange-crowned Warblers.  And we hoped in vain for Lazuli Bunting or Bullock's Oriole.

For the day, 66 species.

== Michael

Female Common Merganser.  Photo by OIlie Oliver
American Crow harassing a Red-tailed Hawk. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female American Goldfinch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Mallard Ducklings all in a row, with a Painted Turtle, at the Rowing Club

Bushtit rebuilding a nest at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Beaver in the slough across from Dog Central.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Green-winged Teals with a drake Cinnamon Teal, 2010-05-14.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Male Bullock's Oriole, 2010-05-16.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for May 14, 2009

Well the weather sucked.  High 40's to low 50's, overcast, drizzle, cold wind.  Mayvember again.  Still, there were at least 10 of us out there this morning trying to find spring somewhere.

It was moderately birdy, but the viewing was terrible.  We often spent long minutes searching fruitlessly for the bird we could hear singing "in that tree - it's got to be".  Several times, though, we did find the birds with work.

Lots and lots of BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS singing - the new ubiquitous species.

We had two mystery empidonax flycatchers, which were kind of the highlight of the day, and caused lots of conversation.

Other highlights:

Bufflehead                      Four females still at the lake
Green Heron                  Four sighted, including on the RC nest
Pacific-slope Flycatcher  Very obvious ID on this guy
Warbling Vireo               Nearly as common as the grosbeaks
Swainson's Thrush          1 seen, two more heard.  FOS
Cedar Waxwing              2 near east footbridge  FOS
Townsend's Warbler      1 singing, and finally seen, at Rowing Club
Western Tanager            Male and female at Rowing Club

Matt saw some DEER, we had one RACCOON climbing a cottonwood near Dog Central, and there were loads of Eastern Cottontail rabbits.

After the walk, there was the official opening of the Marymoor Connector Trail (new bike trail connecting the Sammamish River Trail to the East Lake Sammamish Trail, through Marymoor Park).  The opening event was held over by the model airplane field at the east side of the park.  I added a couple of birds to the day list - RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, drumming, and a single PURPLE MARTIN.

For the day, we had 59 species, plus the mystery empidonax(es).  For the year, we're up to 130 species.

== Michael

Male Black-headed Grosbeak obscured by the leaves,
typical of the kind of views we had today.

Eastern Cottontail in the East Meadow

Pacific-slope Flycatcher near first footbridge

Pacific-slope Flycatcher

Ollie Oliver's photo of Cedar Waxwings near the east footbridge

Ollie's photo of the Green Heron on the nest at the Rowing Club

Ollie's photo of a female Western Tanager at the Rowing Club

Male Hairy Woodpecker at the nest hole, across from the Rowing Club dock.
Photo by Ollie Oliver

Ollie went back later and found a female Wood Duck with 10-11 ducklings

...and one of the ducklings was a Hooded Merganser
(in front of her tail, the near one of the trio)

Ollie's photo of a non-native snail

Brian Dobbin's photographed a Virginia Rail and baby
on the east side of the boardwalk on May 14.

Ollie Oliver's Photos from the week of May 12th

Pine Siskin, 2008-05-14

Warbling Vireo, 2008-05-14

Evening Grosbeaks at the Rowing Club, 2008-05-14

Red-breasted Sapsucker bathing at the Rowing Club, 2008-05-15

Western Wood-Pewee, 2008-05-15

Western Wood-Pewee, 2008-05-15

Report for May 15, 2008

I think there were 16 of us this morning, including more than a dozen bright and early for our 5:30 a.m. start time.  The weather wasn't this afternoon's heat and sun, but was rather humid, with heavy overcast. The wind didn't pick up until late, which left the thick clouds which made the light dim and flat.  Birds were around, but not always easy to see, especially with the big group.


Wood Duck                         Female with 4 babies at lake
Bald Eagle                            Adult on "new" nest
Western Wood-Pewee         Good looks in Cottonwood Forest
Red-breasted Nuthatch         Frequent food deliveries to nest
Brown Creeper                     Seen at the nest we thought abandoned
Yellow Warbler                     They're back - but didn't want to be seen
Western Tanager                   Managed looks at 3
Black-headed Grosbeak        Even the females seemed bright
Bullock's Oriole                     Present, but seen only by a few
Evening Grosbeak                 Seen well in ash trees at Rowing Club

The biggest excitement was at the lake platform.  At the very end of April, I installed two plastic gourds for PURPLE MARTIN right near the lake platform.  Nine days later, Graham sent me a photo showing a female in one of the gourds.  So we were eager to see for ourselves today.  When we arrived, there was a martin in one of the gourds, and Tree Swallows hanging out by the other.  After watching (and listening to) the martin for several minutes, four other martins flew in.  Soon there were five martins flying around the lake platform.  When we left, a pair of martins was sitting on the crossbar being buzzed by an annoyed Tree Swallow.   Later, there was a pair of martins feeding over the East Meadow, and later still there was a pair of martins feeding over the Pea Patch gardens.  So the presence of the gourds seems to be attracting martins to the accessible parts of the park.

For history, martins nested in boxes at the northeast corner of the park in the 1970's.  I don't think any martins at all were seen at/near Marymoor from about 1980 until about 2003, when Kevin Li placed some new martin boxes on the old pilings.  They nested there the year he put the boxes up, and we saw occasional martins the next couple of years (though I don't think we saw evidence of nesting).  Since then, we've had only perhaps one sighting a year, during the post-breeding period.  We've speculated that these were birds from Juanita Bay Park in Kirkland, or some other nesting location.  It would be great if the gourds could mean we see martins regularly at Marymoor.

The second big excitement was east of the mansion.  We heard a COOPER'S HAWK calling from a deciduous tree.  We finally managed to relocate the nest, and saw the female standing atop it.  She flew to the deciduous tree, where we watched her eating what appeared to be a juvenile robin laid out on a wide branch.  While she was eating, we saw the male fly to the nest.  Very cool.

For the day, we had 66 species.

== Michael

Western Wood-Pewee in Big Cottonwood Forest

Male Purple Martin at the gourds

Tree Swallows trying to claim a gourd

Two females and a male Purple Martin at the gourds

Purple Martin pair a the gourds

Eastern Song Sparrow in the Pea Patch

Female Cooper's Hawk eating juvenile robin

Male Common Yellowthroat at the Rowing Club

Report for May 17, 2007

We had about 15 people under heavy overcast skies this morning, starting at 5:30.  It was pretty birdy, which made it fun.  It was very mosquito-y, from the south end of the dog area all the way to the East Meadow, which made it less fun.


Green Heron            One flew east across dog meadow
Spotted Sandpiper    2 flew down slough, 1 on dock at lake
Willow Flycatcher     1 in East Meadow, singing
Western Kingbird     1 seen over towards the model airfield
Lazuli Bunting           2-3 at Compost Piles
Bullock's Oriole        3-6 seen, including multiple males, at least 1 female
Evening Grosbeak    Several fly-overs of small flocks

Lots and lots of WARBLING VIREOS and WILSON'S WARBLER, a few YELLOW WARBLER mostly heard, only 1 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, a couple of silent  ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, and decent numbers of COMMON YELLOWTHROATS.

There was one probable female LAZULI BUNTING just east of the weir, early. Later, at the Compost Piles, there were at least 1 male buntings.  Neither had well-developed blue, but more than enough to be sure of the gender.  At least one sang.  They were moving around a lot, and were seen in the trees, on the ground, on blackberries, and all the way over towards the model airplane field.  Once, Marv Breece spotted one WAY over to the east, and as I listened to his directions on how to find the little guy, my eye stopped on a different bird.  It was the WESTERN KINGBIRD, which soon flushed and flew off to the northeast.

For the day, we ended up with 66 species.

= Michael

Swainson's Thrush

Bullock's Oriole male in a Cottonwood

Rufous Hummingbird male at the Pea Patch

Canada Geese in the slough near the windmill

Purple Finch near the windmill

Black-headed Grosbeak


Bird Sightings Week 20
May 14-20*      *adjust by 1 day in leap years


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