Friends of Marymoor Park


Bird Sightings Week 34
August 20-26*


Rarities for Week 34:

Sora 20-Aug-15 Juveniles at Lake Platform
Sora 22-Aug-02 Two juveniles at weir
Lesser Yellowlegs 23-Aug-07 Seen and heard by Matt and Tom
Common Tern 25-Aug-04 Two birds?  Immature seen during regular walk from lake platform. Confirmed around 6:00 p.m. from Idyllwood Park
Black Tern 26-Aug-04 Probably seen on the 25th with Common Tern, but confirmed on the 26th from Marymoor
California Scrub-Jay 24-Aug-09 Photographed by Randy Rowluk - two birds in birch in East Meadow
Bank Swallow 20-Aug-20 Reported by Lillian Reis
Horned Lark 19-Aug-12 Reported by Lillian Reis
House Wren 26-Aug-99 Reported by Mike West.  Dust bathing along RC path
Vesper Sparrow 25-Aug-16 One along slough trail below weir
American Redstart 22-Aug-02 Two birds, start of boardwalk
Northern Waterthrush 22-Aug-14 One along boardwalk just north of Lake Platform
Black Bear 20-Aug-15 Only known record for this species in the park! Photographed on boardwalk

Report for August 25, 2023                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

It felt more like fall today, with temps in the 50's and 60's (actually, 49 degrees to start).  And it was pretty birdy, including many more individual birds that didn't breed in the park, though no long-distance migrants yet.

     Vaux's Swift - Maybe 15
     Cooper's Hawk - One immature from the start of the boardwalk
     Red-breasted Sapsucker - Juvenile plus 1-2 more
     Pileated Woodpecker - Two at the east end of the boardwalk, and one near the mansion
     Willow Flycatcher - Several apparent juveniles, but absolutely no songs
     Purple Martin - None at the gourds, nor around the snags on the far side of the slough, but some flying overhead to the SE
     Barn Swallow - Large numbers, widespread, maybe 50
     Violet-green Swallow - Maybe 2, maybe more
     Cliff Swallow - Two
     Swainson's Thrush - Several, including a couple of obvious juveniles
     Red-winged Blackbird - 4+ in the Pea Patch raiding the sunflower heads
     Orange-crowned Warbler - One or more, south end of the East Meadow
     Western Tanager - Quite a few - maybe 6, in groups
     Black-headed Grosbeak - Quite a few - maybe 5, in groups

The juvenile COOPER'S HAWK was perched for a long time.  When it flew off, it made the same call as on the Sibley app, marked "squeaky whistles of juvenile", a call none of us remember hearing before.


Misses today included just Pied-billed Grebe, Rock Pigeon (seen yesterday), Killdeer, Brown-headed Cowbird, and Black-throated Gray Warbler.

For the day, 57 species.

= Michael Hobbs

Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk. Photo by Michael Hobbs

Juvenile Swainson's Thrush. Photo by Michael Hobbs

Male Pileated Woodpecker. Photo by Michael Hobbs

Pileated Woodpecker near east end of boardwalk. Photo by Michael Hobbs

Report for August 25, 2022                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

For perhaps the third week in a row, we were out on the hottest day of the week.  This does not help the birding.  Pre-dawn was absolutely gorgeous with the thinnest sliver of a crescent moon and Venus rising in the East, and Jupiter setting in the west.  There was a bit of ground fog around sunrise.  Otherwise, we were in the sun all morning.  Temps went from 63 to 78 degrees!  There were a fair number of birds about, but it was especially challenging birding as the birds were quiet and skulking, juvenile calls are hard to identify, and almost all of the birds are looking scruffy these days.  But I think we managed to track down at least most of what was around.

  • Gadwall - Female with two tweenaged ducklings.  Seems a bit late for the youngsters
  • Greater Yellowlegs - One heard calling in flight
  • Cooper's Hawk - Three sightings, hard to know if that's 1, 2, or 3 birds, but likely just 1
  • Western Screech-Owl - Matt heard one pre-dawn
  • Five Woodpecker Day - Pileated was heard-only, but heard several times
  • Warbling Vireo - Probably about 4 total
  • Orange-crowned Warbler - One at Compost Piles
  • Yellow Warbler - A few still around, with one still singing
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler - One or more likely two in Dog Meadow
  • Black-headed Grosbeak - Making Downy-like calls.  One seen, several more might have been heard earlier
All morning long, the trick was to be very careful to check EVERY bird in mixed flocks of chickadees, yellowthroats, wrens, finches.  The warblers and vireos were hiding amongst them.

Misses today included Rock Pigeon (though there were a few pigeons today we couldn't ID), Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, and Wilson's Warbler.

A late scan of the lake confirmed the gull to be a CALIFORNIA GULL, and added BARN SWALLOWS and a single CLIFF SWALLOW.  Counting those, we had 60 species today.

= Michael Hobbs

Report for August 26, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

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

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

Report for August 20, 2020                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

It was dark and wet to start, but the clouds cleared and we had some sun later.  Our biggest problem was that we dressed for rain but we were beset by humidity and heat.  It was a very muggy morning.  Birds were occasionally active, but mostly pretty thin.  There were definitely some things to see though.
  • Common Merganser – four at the weir; first in 5 weeks
  • Anna’s Hummingbird – seemed notably abundant
  • American Coot – lone bird still; more should be arriving in the coming few weeks
  • Caspian Tern – two flying north separately.  We’ve only ever had a couple of sightings later than this
  • Great Blue Heron – heard a couple of grum-grum-grum calls, so we deduce there is at least one baby still on the nests.  Otherwise, quiet
  • Green Heron – two
  • Accipiter sp. – Probable Cooper’s Hawk, Fields 7-8-9
  • Barn Owl – one glimpsed around 6 a.m.
  • Western Screech-Owl – at least two birds, predawn.  Last was heard after 6 a.m.
  • Belted Kingfisher – MANY sightings of two birds chasing each other.  Probably just 2 total
  • MERLIN – Saw at least twice; being chased by Purple Martins who were not amused
  • BANK SWALLOW – 99 percent sure I’m right; flying with Barn Swallows near Viewing Mound.  Might have been two
  • Pine Siskin – a few in a couple of places.  Our first ever for Week 34
  • CHIPPING SPARROW – one adult in Pea Patch
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler – 2-3 along edge of Dog Meadow
  • Wilson’s Warbler – two north of weir along slough, near the Madrone tree
  • Black-headed Grosbeak – one
The probable BANK SWALLOW was a brown-backed, white-bellied swallow with a white chin and some darkness in a collar across the upper breast.  I never got a perfect look.  Some Tree Swallows can show something similar, but this looked more like Bank to me.  Also, we’ve never had Tree Swallow at Marymoor after the 11th of August, and only a dozen August sightings total, whereas we’ve had Bank Swallow 8/4/11, 8/8/09, 8/18/15, and 9/9/16.
For animals, we had RIVER OTTERS below the weir and a DEER at the Rowing Club
Misses today included Hooded Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe, Red-tailed Hawk, Bushtit, Red-winged Blackbird, and Yellow Warbler.
For the day, 56 species.
= Michael Hobbs

Report for August 22, 2019                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

the overcast was dark and threatening, but we got literally only a few drops of mist all morning.  Viewing was often pretty terrible, due to a combination of the bad lighting, breeze, and the extremely active movements of the little birds.  Quite a bit of post-breeding dispersal and migration apparent.  We had several large mixed flocks that were excitingly full of species and desperately frustrating because they wouldn’t sit still.  We also had a big group out today, possibly due to a start time of 6:30, rather than ridiculously early.
  • NORTHERN SHOVELER – four flew overhead; probably our earliest fall sighting ever
  • Common Merganser – probably same family as last four weeks
  • Vaux’s Swift – Not seen the past 2 weeks.  Today, flock of 20, among other sightings.
  • Caspian Tern – one fishing the lake
  • Red-breasted Sapsucker – juvenile acquiring adult plumage?
  • Pileated Woodpecker – one seen twice, or two
  • PEREGRINE FALCON – adult in dead cottonwood near the weir.  First since January
  • Western Wood-Pewee – only two, at Rowing Club
  • Pacific-slope Flycatcher – several sightings
  • Warbling Vireo – 5+
  • Barn Swallow – our only swallow, but a couple of dozen seen
  • Swainson’s Thrush – Matt heard 60-100 in predawn migration; we heard a few and saw two
  • Savannah Sparrow – 15+, after none last week.  More contrasty than the Marymoor breeders
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – 1 or 2 near Viewing Mound.  First of Fall, and possibly the earliest fall sighting ever
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – 1 or 2 juveniles in East Meadow
    • Orange-crowned Warbler – maybe 7
    • Common Yellowthroat – 15, including singing male
    • Yellow Warbler – 5 or so, incl. singing male
    • Black-throated Gray Warbler – 4?
    • TOWNSEND’S WARBLER – male, First of Fall, and only our 2nd for 2019
    • Wilson’s Warbler – 1-2
  • Western Tanager – 2 or 3
  • Black-headed Grosbeak – maybe 3
Misses today included: Hooded Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe, Green Heron, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Red-winged Blackbird
For the day, 59 species.  Tuesday, I had a SPOTTED SANDPIPER that we didn’t find today, so 60 species for the week.
= Michael Hobbs

Report for August 23, 2018                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

This morning dawned breezy, cloudy, and exceptionally smoky. Despite the breeze, it seemed as though all of the smoke had been compressed below the clouds; the smell of smoke was very strong, and visibility was quite restricted. By about 7:30, though, we began to get mist and then mizzle. By later in the morning we even got a little drizzle. By the time we were at the Rowing Club, we saw actual BLUE SKY with no hint of orange through the holes in the cloud cover.

As far as birds, it was very quiet, however.


  • Rufous Hummingbird – still at least one in the Pea Patch
  • GREATER YELLOWLEGS – heard very distant Tu-Tu-Tu calls from somewhere to the east. First of 2018
  • Western Screech-Owl – heard pre-dawn near east end of boardwalk
  • Pileated Woodpecker – heard distantly, seen distantly, finally seen close up from boardwalk.
  • Western Wood-Pewee – Adult feeding juvenile near weir; maybe 4 birds total
  • Willow Flycatcher – Maybe 5 total
  • Warbling Vireo – at least 1
  • Barn Swallow – maybe as many as 35 (some of those have to go down as “swallow sp.” due to distance, but they looked right for Barn)
  • Swainson’s Thrush – Heard maybe 8; saw none
  • Yellow Warbler – 1 or 2; only warbler seen for sure besides Common Yellowthroat
  • Black-headed Grosbeak – still a couple

Misses included Hooded Merganser, Vaux’s Swift, Green Heron (may have heard pre-dawn from boardwalk), Violet-green Swallow, Marsh Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet (may have heard), Savannah Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird (may have glimpsed one), and Orange-crowned, Black-throated Gray, and Wilson’s Warblers.

For the day, just 46 species, our lowest species total for 2018!

== Michael Hobbs

Adult Great Blue Heron.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Mother and 5 baby Common Mergansers.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Osprey.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Juvenile Dark-eyed Junco - a generic little brown/gray job.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

The extent of the "rain"; my car window after the walk.
Photo by Michael Hobbs

Report for August 24, 2017                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

Another exceptionally quiet day. Overcast, breeze for the first hour or so. There weren’t even many dogs in the dog park, and people seemed to be walking around half-asleep. I think the entire park is waiting for a cleansing rain.


  • CINNAMON TEAL - one flying with Mallards – first fall sighting ever
  • GREEN-WINGED TEAL – one female flyby, 4th-earliest fall sighting ever
  • Virginia Rail – one heard across slough from near start of boardwalk
  • Spotted Sandpiper – two across from 3rd Dog Swim Beach
  • Cooper’s Hawk – juvenile on soccer goals, fields 7-8-9
  • Warbling Vireo – at least a couple
  • Black-capped Chickadees – especially numerous
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee – especially numerous and widespread
  • Swainson’s Thrush – heard about 5
  • Black-throated Gray Warbler - 3+
  • Brown-headed Cowbird – one juvenile

Misses today included Vaux’s Swift, Green Heron, Western Wood-Pewee, Willow Flycatcher, Marsh Wren, European Starling, Purple Finch, Savannah Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Red-winged Blackbird.

== Michael Hobbs

Canada Geese and American Crows.  Photo by Hugh Jennings


Great Blue Heron looking under the weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Anna's Hummingbird, having a difficult molt moment.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for August 25, 2016                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

Our last August walk was warm and sunny (really nice dawn), and not overly birdy, but pretty good nonetheless.


Green Heron                      1 nearly invisible at Rowing Club pond
Sharp-shinned Hawk          1 calling unseen to the NE just before sunrise
Band-tailed Pigeon             Several sightings
Mourning Dove                  1 on far side of slough
Barn Owl                           Flew past Viewing Mound at 5:40 a.m.
W. Screech-Owl                Matt had one around 5am at start of boardwalk
- all 5 woodpeckers -         Few good looks, though
Warbling Vireo                   Two, presumably migrants
Purple Martin                     Young have fledged from gourd nest
Orange-crowned Warbler   Maybe 4
Yellow Warbler                  1-2
Bl.-throated Gray Warbler  4-6
Wilson’s Warbler                1
VESPER SPARROW         1 along slough trail below weir
Black-headed Grosbeak      1 adult female, 1 juvenile male, I believe

Below the weir on the slough trail we had a sparrow that gave us fits.  An obvious, bold, white eye-ring made us think VESPER SPARROW, but it was pale, low contrast, had no apparent reddish shoulders, and we couldn't see white outer tail feathers.  Ollie's photos saved the day.  Being able to review them at our leisure made it easy to made the identification.  This is just our 6th Vesper Sparrow at Marymoor, and most of the sightings have been mid-August through mid-September.

The two just-fledged PURPLE MARTINS, hatched in the gourd nest, were sitting in the nearest tree. When we got to the lake, both parents were sitting on the gourd cross-arm. Nice to see successful fledging.

After the walk, I took another look at the north end of the lake, finding a juvenile CALIFORNIA GULL, two NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS, and two juvenile BALD EAGLES, all species new for the day’s list.

Misses today included Spotted Sandpiper (this year’s babies appear to have grown and flown), Rock Pigeon, and Brown-headed Cowbird (unusually, no August sightings this year).

For the day, 63 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Vesper Sparrow, showing the very obvious white eye-ring.  Photo by Ollie Oliver
Vesper Sparrow, showing a pinkish bill, and streaking that doesn't extend far down the breast.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Vesper Sparrow.  It appears that the white outer tail feathers were growing in.
Photo by Ollie Oliver

Vesper Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Red-winged Blackbird looking over his shoulder.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Distant Mourning Dove.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Osprey - note white feather edges.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Hairy Woodpecker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Young male Black-throated Gray Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Tail color is important in identification of yellowish warblers.  The dark tail eliminates Yellow Warbler.  That, plus the facial pattern (which we also saw), indicated this was an Orange Crowned Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

White Admiral Butterfly. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Common Branded Skipper moth.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Bullfrog.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Muskrat.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for August 20, 2015                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

With Michael out today, Brian and I headed up the weekly walk. The 10 of us gathered realized pretty early on that Michael might well have snuck in yesterday and removed a good portion of the park's birds -- it was eerily quiet for much of the day. We seem to have hit a trough in the surges of migrants and local birds. Weather was refreshing -- cool, low 60s, and misting for much of the walk.

Despite the overall quiet, we did have some nice surprises as ever:

Great Blue Heron as with last week , some young on the nest again, rumbling away

Green Heron 2 , one immature at the lake platform, 1 adult at the Rowing Club pond looking sharp

Virginia Rail 1, decent views at lake platform

Sora 1, even better views, at lake platform

Greater Yellowlegs at lake platform

Caspian Tern 1, fly-over in dog area, I think the first in ~2 months and I think our latest sighting ever at Marymoor

Pileated Woodpecker 1, early across the slough

Pacific-slope Flycatcher 1, at Rowing Club, our only flycatcher of the day

Swainson's Thursh only 1 seen, but before dawn I had several flying over giving their migration call note - first time this season for that.

American Robin making the list only because the total number was about the same as Swainson's Thursh - fewer than 10 all day - wow.

Lincoln's Sparrow 1, first of fall, at viewing mound - it looks like next week is typically the week they arrive at Marymoor very consistently, so a little early

Western Tanager 1 or 2

The rail show was the highlight of the day -- I'd heard Virginia Rail early at the lake platform, so we played for it while out there as a group, and one responded. When we went to look for it, we found a rail. Despite my trying to turn it into the heard Virginia Rail for a bit, wiser minds prevailed and said 'nope, that's a Sora' -- it ended up giving us amazing looks, and eventually the Virginia Rail came out to join it for less excellent but still good looks. Double rail views in one place!

We had a couple small flocks of mixed passerines - not the warbler flocks of recent weeks though- A few Black-throated Gray Warblers, a couple Warbling Vireos, Yellow Warblers, and nearby Common Yellowthroats, but none of the other warblers we might normally come across.

Notable misses show the changing of the season - No Black-headed Grosbeaks, no Western Wood-Pewees, probably no Willow Flycatchers [I heard a plausible 'whit' call repeated several times, but didn't think it was enough to be confident enough to count it]. No Owls, no Gulls, and a dip on Bushtit

For the day, we came up with 54 species.

Matt Bartels Seattle, WA

Belted Kingfisher.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Caspian Tern.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Caspian Tern.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Sora - Part 1.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Sora - Part 2.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Sora.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Note the long toes to spread out the 2.6 ounces on a lily pad.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Rock Pigeon.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Adult Green Heron.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for August 22, 2014                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

A group of birders found a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH along the boardwalk just north of the Lake Platform, a new bird for the Marymoor Park bird list.  They also had a SOLITARY SANDPIPER along the slough, only our 2nd-ever fall sighting for that species (and 5th sighting overall).  Grace & Ollie went later in the day and were unable to find either species, but did find a few species we missed on Thursday: PIED-BILLED GREBE, VIRGINIA RAIL, SPOTTED SANDPIPER, and RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER.

Sadly, no photos were obtained.

== Michael Hobbs

Purple Martin female.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Black-throated Gray Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Steller's Jay.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Spotted Towhee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Spotted Sandpiper.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Barn Swallow and Purple Martin.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Purple Martins.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Mule Deer.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Mule Deer.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for August 21, 2014                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

It was an odd day at Marymoor.  Clouds came in at sunrise, which kept it dark and cool all morning.  There was a bit of a breeze too, which made finding the mostly-silent birds more difficult.  We had a lot of misses, plus some odd surprises.  But mostly it was fairly birdless.
Common Merganser             Three at weir
RED-NECKED GREBE      I had one late from NE corner of lake
Green Heron                        Two juveniles at Rowing Club pond
Cooper’s Hawk                   One near velodrome just before 6:30
WILSON’S SNIPE             1 at lake, earliest fall sighting ever
Band-tailed Pigeon               2-3 birds
Eurasian Collared-Dove       1 at fields 7-8-9
Barn Owl                             1-2 before 6 a.m.
Short-eared Owl?                 95% sure, based on darkness, flight
Warbling Vireo                     2, west edge of Dog Meadow
Purple Martin                       Baby looking out of gourd nest, adults overhead
Violet-green Swallow           Missed last 2 weeks; about 12-15 today
Bl.-throated Gray Warbler   One, west edge of Dog Meadow
Wilson’s Warbler                 West edge of Dog Meadow and at least 1 more
Western Tanager                  Saw two, heard third
We did have large numbers (80+) of HOUSE FINCH, with a good group (40?) of AMERICAN GOLDFINCH (but no Lesser noted). 
Numbers for many species were way down.  We only had about 3 GREAT BLUE HERONS, and none in the nesting trees.  We had no more than 2-3 WESTERN WOOD-PEWEES, heard just 2 SWAINSON’S THRUSH, has probably only a dozen or so AMERICAN ROBINS, no large numbers of CEDAR WAXWINGS, and just 2 or so each of YELLOW WARBLERS, SPOTTED TOWHEES, SAVANNAH SPARROWS, and SONG SPARROWS.  I think there was just one BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, and two BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS.
Misses included Pied-billed Grebe, Vaux’s Swift, any woodpecker except Northern Flicker, Willow Flycatcher, Bushtit, Brown Creeper, and Orange-crowned Warbler.
Still, we managed 55 species for this weird day.
== Michael Hobbs

Common Merganser.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Belted Kingfisher.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Anna's Hummingbird.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Cedar Waxwing.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Purple Martin.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Killdeer, probably a juvenile.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Dark-eyed Junco.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Green Heron.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bewick's Wren.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Eastern Cottontail.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bullfrog.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for August 22, 2013                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

We had gorgeous weather today, with the early morning chill (53 degrees) quickly melting away to sunshine and 76 degrees under clear blue skies. A MERLIN spent the day zooming around the park – I think we had 5-6 sightings all told. It managed to scare up a few other birds for us to see.


Common Merganser              Maybe as many as 4; first since June
Green Heron                          Juvenile gave us good looks near the weir
Cooper’s Hawk                     Juvenile soaring
Spotted Sandpiper                 Several sightings, but maybe just 1 bird
Band-tailed Pigeon                 Maybe 3
Eurasian Collared-Dove         1 from lake platform
Barn Owl                               Matt saw one around 5:15 a.m., East Meadow
Black Swift                            Two mobbing Cooper’s Hawk
Rufous Hummingbird              Still one hanging out at Pea Patch
Red-breasted Sapsucker        Three trees far to the west
Pileated Woodpecker            One heard
MERLIN                               See notes above
Warbling Vireo                      1-2 near windmill
Purple Martin                         Several, probably roused by the Merlin
Black-throated Gray Warbler Lillian photographed one
Wilson’s Warbler                   Male singing at start of boardwalk
Western Tanager                    3+, first since May
Brown-headed Cowbird         3 juvies; probably will disappear soon

For the day, 60 species, the first time we’ve hit that mark in weeks.

== Michael Hobbs

Sunrise.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Early morning ground fog.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Downy Woodpecker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Wood Ducks.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bushtit.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bushtit.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Black-capped Chickadee.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Black-capped Chickadee.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Swainson's Thrush.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Willow Flycatcher.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Black-throated Gray Warbler.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Spotted Sandpiper.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Spotted Sandpiper.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Garter Snake. Photo by Lillian Reis

Fish.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for August 23, 2012                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

It's the August Doldrums, when the species count is rather low, singing is rather rare, and excitement is supposedly hard to come by. Mostly all true today, but there were some good moments. The day was cool and cloudy, but really quite nice.


Common Merganser - Same 7 ducklings from before? Almost grown
Cooper's Hawk - A couple of juveniles about
Virginia Rail - Matt & I heard at least 2 early at lake platform
Barn Owl - Awesome looks at 2, 5:45-6:00, East Meadow
CASSIN'S VIREO - One singing, came in to iPod, along river
Warbling Vireo - One along river
Purple Martin - One high overhead
Bewick's Wren - Large numbers, just about the only birds singing
Black-throated Gray Warbler - At least 2 seen
Wilson's Warbler - 2+, singing
Evening Grosbeak - Several flyovers - probably 15+ birds

Last week's mystery bird, which I'd previously thought might have been an American Pipit, turned out to be a HORNED LARK in very worn plumage. I had to look through about 65 photos to find about 5 that showed enough field marks for the ID. Lillian saw the same bird on the 18th, and the field marks were maybe a little easier to see. Molting bird?

Maybe the best "bird" of the day today, though, was the MINK that Matt & I saw at about 6:15 on the lake platform. It came running down the platform almost to our feet before jumping into the lake. Dare I say "cute"?

For the day, 53 species. Birds we didn't see today included European Starling, any swallows except Martin and Barn, Yellow Warbler, and Brown-headed Cowbird.

== Michael Hobbs

Five of seven young Common Mergansers.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

We search the far shore of the slough carefully for Green Heron.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

This Cassin's Vireo was singing from the far side of the slough...

...but came over to our side when I played its calls on my iPod

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Hooded Merganser at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Savannah Sparrow, 2012-08-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow, 2012-08-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Extremely worn and/or molting Horned Lark, 2012-08-18...

...two photos by Lillian Reis

Report for August 25, 2011                                                                                                                           Birding at Marymoor

I filled in for Michael & Brian today on the weekly Marymoor walk. 16 of us enjoyed a sunny day of actual summer birding. I was out early looking for owls and was not disappointed with multiple sightings of at least 2 Barn Owls over the east meadow. The changing seasons meant dawn was not greeted with a chorus of fitz-bews from Willow Flycatchers this week -- they were still present in lower numbers, but remained mostly silent all day. We ran into several nice flocks of migrants throughout the day - spaced well enough apart to keep things pretty interesting all along the 5+ hours.


  • Green Heron Great looks at 3 immatures, perched high in a tree.

  • Pied-billed Grebe Back last week, we saw 3 this week as well.

  • Northern Harrier Distant looks at one, interacting with an adult

  • Cooper's Hawk Near the sparrow piles

  • Purple Martin Still 2 bills poking out of one of the gourds at the      lake-viewing platform, with 2-3 more perched on tree branches not far away

  • Pileated Woodpecker Heard only , but seemingly at home in their trees across W.Lake Samm from the park.

  • Orange-crowned Warbler  2 or 3

  • Yellow Warbler 2 or 3

  • Black-throated Gray Warbler 3-4

  • Warbling Vireos  Maybe 6 total, definitely more than we've recently had, so another sign of movement

  • Black-headed Grosbeak A group of 6 mostly juvies, working the trees after the boardwalk, together

  • Steller's Jay Starting to eat the hazel nuts- a sign that they've moved from the silent season at Marymoor to a stretch when we'll be seeing them easily for a bit.

Our only swallows besides Purple Martins were Barn Swallows. They were joined briefly by 2 Vaux's Swifts

Red-tailed Hawk -not seen during the walk at all, so I had to double back to pick one up on the light standards after we finished

On the mammal front, 3 River Otters were working the slough.

For the morning, we ended up with 56 species

Matt Bartels
Seattle, WA

Juvenile Green Heron.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Orange-crowned Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Osprey.  Photo by Ollie Oliver  

Black-capped Chickadee  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-breasted Nuthatch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hooded Mergansers with Mallard at the Rowing Club ponds.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for August 26, 2010

The morning dawned absolutely gorgeous, with not a cloud in the sky, the almost-full moon setting, along with Jupiter, and  Mt. Rainier shining in the morning sun.  And then the weather changed.  By 9:00 a.m., we had a thick overcast, and by a little after 10:00, it was starting to drizzle a touch.  It was not tremendously birdy, but there were several nice highlights:

Green Heron                         At least 3 juveniles, lots of looks
American Kestrel                   New for '10.  NE corner of the park
Pileated Woodpecker            One landed near the mansion, another called
Orange-crowned Warbler      3+, including singing male
Yellow Warbler                     3+, including singing male
Black-throated Gray Warbler 3+, male and female/juv.
Wilson's Warbler                   2 males, faint singing
Common Yellowthroat           Still abundant

We had low numbers, but still fairly good diversity of our breeding birds, including 1 RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, 1-2 WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, 5+WILLOW
FLYCATCHER, 2+ SWAINSON'S THRUSH heard (and Matt & Scott reported more pre-dawn, which were probably migrants), 1+ SAVANNAH SPARROW, and 1 BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK.

While we did have a male PURPLE MARTIN flying high over Dog Central, they appear to be done with the gourds for the year.

For the day, 54 species, with Kestrel new for the year.

== Michael

Pileated Woodpecker atop whip snag south of the mansion.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile male Common Yellowthroat.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Juvenile Brown-headed Cowbird close enough to step on

Ollie's slightly more flattering portrait of the heedless cowbird

Male Wilson's Warbler in the blackberries at Dog Central

Sometimes one lucks into wonderful peek-a-boo views

Male Downy Woodpecker in an elderberry.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hugh Jennings caught the moon before it set.

Report for August 20, 2009

It was a beautiful sunny morning, with moderate temperatures. Unfortunately, the wind was constant at about 10 mph.  It really put a damper on the birding, especially as most of the birds are mostly silent right now.  Between the moving branches and the wind noise sufficient to hide chip notes, it made finding birds very difficult.


Hooded Merganser                 Suddenly up to 7 at the Rowing Club
Accipiter sp.                           One at weir, our first since June
Barn Owl                                Reports of a great show, East Meadow, early
HUTTON'S VIREO               Only the 5th-ever Marymoor sighting
Black-throated Gray Warbler  One juv. female, west edge of Dog Meadow
White-crowned Sparrow        A multitude of juvies in the Pea Patch
Black-headed Grosbeak         One juvie male in Pea Patch
Evening Grosbeak                  A dozen near east end of boardwalk
House Sparrow                      Our first since June

The HUTTON'S VIREO was in the northwest part of the Dog Meadow, and gave us great looks and a call or two.

A big surprise were our big misses today.  No Red-tailed Hawks!  No Willow Flycatchers, Violet-green Swallows, Swainson's Thrush, or Yellow Warbler (though all of those tend to have stuck around through mid-September in previous years).  No Red-winged Blackbirds (though we've missed them this time of year before - a definite dip in mid-August in a species otherwise resident).  No Orange-crowned nor Wilson's Warblers, though those migrants are a bit less dependable by week 34.  And only single Warbling Vireo and Black-headed Grosbeak.

For the day, 53 species.  I did have a bat near the windmill at about 5:30 this morning, though.

== Michael

Hutton's Vireo in a willow, northwest corner of the Dog area

Hugh Jennings' photo of the Hutton's Vireo

One more view of the Hutton's

Hugh's photo of two Green Heron juveniles, near the RC dock

Report for August 21, 2008

Another gorgeous day.  The early morning ground fog burned off quickly.  It got a bit too hot, but not outrageous.  It was pretty birdy, though at times the birds seemed to be taking an incredible delight in tantalizing us in a very cussed way.  We ended up with a good species count, including 5 species of woodpecker, but 3 of those woodpeckers were heard-only :(


NORTHERN HARRIER                 Flyby
Virginia Rail                                    Heard from the lake platform
Spotted Sandpiper                           Flying fairly high up the slough
Red-breasted Sapsucker                  Immature flew past us early on
Warbling Vireo                                Adult feeding juvie cowbird
Red-eyed Vireo                               LOTS of singing at the south end of the park
Purple Martin                                   One HIGH over mansion area
Northern Rough-winged Swallow  One over East Meadow
Bushtits                                            Bringing food to a nest at Dog Central - late?
Orange-crowned Warbler                Flock of 6+ at south end of Dog Meadow
Yellow Warbler                               Male singing, several others seen
Wilson's Warbler                            1-2 at the south end of the Dog Meadow
Evening Grosbeak                           Heard and glimpsed

Had a juvenile COOPER'S HAWK who thought chasing after crows was the way to get ahead.  Good luck!

Had what appeared to be a LONG-TAILED WEASEL swimming across the slough ???

For the day, 64 species.

== Michael

Female and male American Goldfinch at the Community Gardens

Belted Kingfisher at the Rowing Club

Belted Kingfisher and Hooded Merganser at the Rowing Club

Ollie Oliver's photo of a molting Dark-eyed Junco

Ollie Oliver's photo of the Belted Kingfisher

Ollie's photos of a Western Wood-Pewee

Report for August 23, 2007

Michael is off to Prague, so Matt Bartels and I substituted for him at Marymoor this morning. The morning started out cool (53F) but clear, and with some low ground fog along the river. Twelve of us enjoyed the morning, even though there is not much singing going on now. Lots of juveniles around.

Highlights included:

  • LESSER YELLOWLEGS (maybe only the third for the park, and perhaps new for the year)
  • CEDAR WAXWING adults and juveniles
  • Lots of juvenile COMMON YELLOWTHROATS
  • Several WARBLING VIREOS (one feeding a young bird and lots of chases)
  • A single CLIFF SWALLOW (first in maybe three weeks)
  • A MOURNING DOVE (always scarce at Marymoor)
  • At least 3 WESTERN TANAGERS (imm. or female).

A nice morning, and 57 species total.

Brian H. Bell

Ollie Oliver's photos:  Spotted Sandpiper

Green Heron

Cedar Waxwing


Bird Sightings Week 34
August 20-26*      *adjust by 1 day in leap years



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