Friends of Marymoor Park


Bird Sightings Week 43
October 22-28*


Rarities for Week 43:

Tundra Swan 28-Oct-21 35 in NE corner of lake
Sora 28-Oct-10  
Dunlin 25-Oct-12  
Franklin's Gull 26-Oct-14 1st winter bird, present to at least 30-Oct-14
Iceland Gull (L. g. thayeri) 27-Oct-16  Also seen 03-Nov-16
Cattle Egret 24-Oct-19  
Rough-legged Hawk 25-Oct-12 Hovering over East Meadow at sunrise, then made its way over to fields 7-8-9 and drifted off to the northwest
Red-naped x Red-breasted Sapsucker 27-Oct-15 Hybrid.  Spencer Hilde, ph.
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 22-Oct-99 Bird present 21-Oct to 24-Oct
American Dipper 27-Oct-11 At weir
Island Canary 22-Oct-07 Escapee.  Photographed by Linda Phillips
American Tree Sparrow 25-Oct-12 Reported by Sharon Aagaard
Swamp Sparrow 26-Oct-05 Two birds?  Below weir, then later at Compost Piles

Report for October 26, 2023                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

This was one of our better days in recent weeks.  It was also our first frosty start of the fall, with a starting temperature of 32 degrees.  It slowly warmed to 48, though, under partly sunny skies, with no wind at all.  So quite pleasant, and a great reminder to have gloves, hats, hotties, etc., put back into the birding gear bag.  Birds are definitely changing over; we had 9 species of ducks for instance.

  • Cackling Goose - A flock of hundreds landed near the concert venue.  More in flybys
  • Ring-necked Duck - A late scan of the lake showed one male near the long dock.  First of Fall (FOF)
  • Lesser Scaup - The late scan of the lake confirmed Lesser; we'd had 6 scaup sp. fly past earlier
  • Bufflehead - About 15 seen from the Lake Platform (FOF)
  • Hooded Merganser - Four at the Rowing Club pond.  Earlier had two probable flybys of four ducks each
  • Western Screech-Owl - Heard one or two from the east end of the boardwalk (FOF)
  • Northern Flicker - The first one we saw was eating Madrone berries off of a tree
  • Merlin - Streaked past the Pea Patch heading south
  • Varied Thrush - Nice look at a male near Dog Central
  • American Pipit - At least one flew over the Viewing Mound at 7:45 a.m.
  • Pine Siskin - Heard, and finally one seen.  I saw about 8 on Wednesday
  • Townsend's Warbler - Several glimpsed at different locations.  At least three birds
We also had a probable GREAT HORNED OWL near the mansion, but our view was too brief to be 100% sure.  

I was also at Marymoor on Wednesday, and had RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER (first since August), two DOWNY WOODPECKER, and at least one ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, all in a fabulous mixed flock just south of the Dog Area.

Misses today included Western Grebe, Virginia Rail, Short-billed Gull, California Gull (though there were many gulls in the pre-dawn fog), Red-tailed Hawk, Downy Woodpecker (but seen Wednesday), Northern Shrike (seen 15 of previous 29 years), Purple Finch (did they all transmogrify into Pine Siskin?), Savannah Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, and Western Meadowlark.

We had 59 species identified, with many ducks and gulls seen but not identified to species, and the probable Great Horned Owl.  With the additional 3 species Wednesday, that's 62+ in 24 hours.

= Michael Hobbs

American Robin. Photo by Tony Ernst

Varied Thrush. Photo by Tony Ernst

Juvenile Pied-billed Grebe. Photo by Tony Ernst

Male American Goldfinch. Photo by Tony Ernst

Report for October 27, 2022                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

It was a blustery fall day today, and the ari was so fresh and clear!  So, so, so much more pleasant than last week's fog+SMOKE.  The river is still very low, but it's at least 5 inches higher than last week with a little water flowing over the weir for the first time in months.  Not tremendously birdy today, and the birds came in clusters.  But not bad at all.

  • Common Loon - One seen on a late scan of the lake; First for 2022! (FOY)
  • Double-crested Cormorant - One from Lake Platform - First of Fall (FOF)
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk - Very active juvenile dancing with the crows near Pea Patch
  • Great Horned Owl - Matt had one near the start of the boardwalk pre-dawn (FOF)
  • Pileated Woodpecker - One across the slough in distant snags
  • Merlin - Nice looks at the beginning of our walk
  • American Crow - Very numerous and active
  • American Robin - Twice as many as there were crows!
  • Western Meadowlark - Three in the East Meadow, then over towards the model airplane field
In an abbreviated walk late yesterday afternoon I had:
  • Hermit Thrush - Two near the east end of the boardwalk (FOF)
  • European Starling - But none seen today
  • Lincoln's Sparrow - Two in East Meadow, one in Pea Patch
Misses for yesterday and today combined included Western Grebe, Short-billed Gull, Ring-billed Gull, (though we did have a very few "Black wing-tipped Gulls" today of uncertain species), Cooper's Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, and Pine Siskin.

For the day, 55 species.  Adding yesterday's birds, 58 species.  

= Michael Hobbs

Mallards, Gadwall, and a Glaucous-winged Gull enjoy water flowing over the weir for the first time in many months. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Adult and juvenile White-crowned Sparrows. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for October 28, 2021                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

Geez – one bad weather forecast and everybody stays home!  It was just me, Matt, and Brian this morning, and the weather wasn’t even that bad.  In fact we had over an hour without rain to start the walk, a mix of mizzle and drizzle with occasional clearings after that, very few gusts of wind, and our only real, real rain came just before noon as we were leaving the Rowing Club.  Birds were a little hard to come by, but it certainly wasn’t a waste of a morning.
  • American Wigeon – a pair hung out with the coots all morning
  • Greater(?) Scaup – three females out from the Viewing Mound
  • Short-billed Gull – about six all told, First of Fall (FOF)
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – at least one
  • Cooper’s Hawk – at least one
  • Pine Siskin – flock of maybe 20 – First Flock of Fall (FFOF)
  • Savannah Sparrow – still at least 1, East Meadow.  Likely to disappear very soon
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – one, East Meadow
  • WHITE-THROATED SPARROW – one in a mixed flock of Zonos in the middle of the Dog Meadow (FOF)
On a quick drive-through after the Rowing Club I spotted ROCK PIGEON and a NORTHERN SHRIKE.  A little later I did a late scan of the lake, trying to tie down the species of Aythya ducks (got them to *probably* Greater), but I turned up several other species: Two RIVER OTTERS, two NORTHERN SHOVELER, a WESTERN GREBE,...
... and 35 SWANS! I had to drive around to the other side of the lake to be close enough to identify them.  As far as I could tell, they were all TUNDRA SWANS, 3-4 juveniles and the rest adults.  This is just the 7th record I have for Tundra Swan at Marymoor (today’s birds would have been easily visible from the Lake Platform).
Misses today included Virginia Rail, Barn Owl, Downy Woodpecker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch, Western Meadowlark, and Yellow-rumped Warbler (might have heard 1-2). 
By the time we were finished at the Rowing Club, we’d had 52 species.  I added 6 more after the walk for a day’s total of 58 species.  That’s why I don’t listen to the weather reports.
= Michael Hobbs

Just a few of the 35 Tundra Swans at the north end of the lake
Photos by Michael Hobbs

Report for October 22, 2020                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

We had great weather this morning, and plenty of birds.  Days are getting shorter and wetter, so it was really nice to have such a pleasant day before winter sets in.
  • Ring-necked Duck – one in the slough.  We had a sighting 8 weeks ago, but this feels like the real First of Fall
  • Hooded Merganser – One in a flyover flock; first in 5 weeks
  • Common Merganser – Four Commons made up the rest of that flyover flock
  • Horned Grebe – one in the slough gave us excellent looks; later we got to see it fly up the river to the lake
  • Common Loon – two in the fog from the Lake Platform; 99% sure that’s what they were.  First of Fall (FOF)
  • Western Screech-Owl – early birders heard one
  • Great Horned Owl – Matt saw a large owl, but couldn’t be sure of ID (could have been a Barred, for instance).  But a separate birder photographed one in the park today
  • Five Woodpecker Day
  • Cedar Waxwing – good size flock in a tree as we approached the weir
  • American Pipit – 3 or so, in flyovers
  • Pine Siskin – I think 120 minimum; huge flock and later sightings of smaller flocks
  • Savannah Sparrow – still at least one in the East Meadow
  • WHITE-THROATED SPARROW – one bright bird in the Pea Patch
  • Western Meadowlark – East Meadow, grass soccer fields.  At least 6
  • ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER – one in Pea Patch
While we were approaching the weir, we had great looks at several WILSON’S SNIPE, including some who were swimming in shallow water east of the main channel.  Then, an adult COOPER’S HAWK came in and struck one of the snipe.  I didn’t see the Coop fly in, nor the strike (Jordan may have seen the whole thing).  I only heard people shouting that there was a Cooper’s Hawk *in the water*.  Sure enough, the Coop stood there in water up to its belly.  It was awkwardly standing on something, and would occasionally adjust its grip.  A couple of American Crows were down there keeping a close eye on the hawk, and about 10 birders were staring too.  The hawk stood there, in the water, for probably two minutes.  After the crows left, the Coop hopped onto dry land, with a dead snipe clutched in its talons.  A little later, the Coop took off with his prey and flew low out of sight.  It had never even occurred to me that Snipe might be a target of a Cooper’s Hawk.
Mark thought he had a distant CALIFORNIA SCRUB-JAY, which proved elusive if so.
For mammals, Matt saw deer near the windmill long before dawn.  We had poor views of River Otter and American Beaver swimming the slough.  And, of course, we had the usual E.G. Squirrels and E. Cottontails.
Misses today included Gadwall, Western Grebe, Ring-billed and California Gulls, Barn Owl, and Northern Shrike (13 of 26 previous years for this week).
For the day, we had at least 63 species.

= Michael Hobbs

Male Belted Kingfisher. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Black-capped Chickadee Photo by Bob Asanoma

Adult Cooper's Hawk caught something in the water. Photo by Bob Asanoma

...and we can see it was a Wilson's Snipe. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Horned Grebe, with a Wood Duck pair in the back. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Red-breasted Nuthatch at the park office feeder. Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for October 24, 2019                                                                                                                      Birding at Marymoor

Excellent day at Marymoor today – no rain, no wind, not cold.  It wasn’t even too cloudy, too foggy, or too sunny.  Just about perfect, and quite birdy.  Those of us doing the survey did not find Eric’s CATTLE EGRET, but still...
  • Green-winged Teal – four below weir; First of Fall
  • Bufflehead – about seven far out on lake; First of Fall
  • Common Merganser – a couple of small flyby flocks
  • Ring-necked Pheasant – heard calling after three weeks escaping detection
  • American Coot – first big fall flock 200+ at lake
  • BONAPARTE’S GULL – brief sighting of three flying down the slough – First since 2016!
  • Mew Gull – a few in the gull flock on the grass soccer fields – First of Fall
  • Green Heron – one at Rowing Club
  • Barn Owl – one hunting East Meadow until after 7am
  • Pileated Woodpecker – on across slough
  • Northern Shrike – juvenile north of grass soccer fields
  • Pacific Wren – one singing at south end of Dog Meadow – First of Fall
  • Varied Thrush – 1-2 at south end of Dog Meadow, one singing
  • American Pipit – flyover of flock of 6
  • Pine Siskin – first real flocks – maybe 35 total
  • Western Meadowlark – two at north end of East Meadow
Eric’s CATTLE EGRET is the second report for Marymoor Park that I am aware of.  The first report was from November 15, 1994, by Bob Dolphin, as listed (probably in Washington Field Notes) in WOSNews 35.  Really excellent to have a second report for the site after almost exactly 25 years.
Last week was notable for the accipiters (at least 5 individuals, many sightings) and Merlin (probably 1 bird, three sightings).  Today, we saw none of these.  Today, the little birds seemed carefree and visible.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so...
Misses today included Hooded Merganser, Western Grebe, Cooper’s Hawk, Bushtit, and American Goldfinch.
For the day, we had 62 species – adding Eric’s egret makes 63 species – a really good total, I think.
= Michael Hobbs

Report for October 25, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

Samhain is only about a week away, and the switch-over to winter birds has definitely begun. Marymoor is a great place to bird at all seasons, and just when we feel the weekly species list is getting short and predictable, the seasons and the birds change over, and we’ve got new excitement. Today’s rain came on in fits and starts, with long clear periods, before the rain started to increase in earnest around 11:30. For most of the morning, it was really quite nice, and with temps in the 50’s-60’s and no wind, we didn’t mind getting damp much.


  • Northern Shoveler – 37+ birds; high count of 40 probably beat today, but not sure. First of 2018
  • Wilson’s Snipe – some heard pre-dawn, one seen well below weir. First sighting of fall, though heard previously
  • First good fall gull flock, with Ring-billed, California, Glaucous-winged
  • COMMON LOON – juvenile eating fish on lake
  • Green Heron – one at Rowing Club pond
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – one predawn
  • Cooper’s Hawk – several sightings; could have been one bird
  • Barn Owl – seen from Viewing Mound after 7am
  • Pileated Woodpecker – two views
  • MERLIN – two views
  • Northern Shrike – juvenile, with prey, calling, east of East Meadow – First for 2018
  • Cedar Waxwing – still several around
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – one
  • Western Meadowlark – nine north of Fields 7-8-9
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – our only warbler

While this was our first NORTHERN SHRIKE of the year, there was a report from a couple of weeks ago. Today’s bird was quite drab and brownish, and easy to overlook if it hadn’t been calling.

For the day, 58 species. With two new birds for the year (Northern Shoveler, Northern Shrike), I think we’re now at 151 or 152 for the year.

== Michael Hobbs

Report for October 26, 2017                                                                                       Birding at Marymoor

An interesting day today at the park. There was a high, dark overcast without a hint of wind, and temps in the 50’s. The wind eventually picked up, and the overcast began to break up. No precipitation. It was on-and-off birdy – as is typical of fall, we’d go long stretches with nothing, and then come across a tree with eight species or something.


  • Cackling Goose – many flocks overhead (hundreds of birds total); only about 50 birds landed
  • Trumpeter Swan – flyover of three birds. One called. First of Fall (FOF), and somewhat early
  • Ring-necked Duck – two from Lake Platform
  • Virginia Rail – at least 4 called, slough and boardwalk
  • Mew Gull – FOF (confirmed) – at least 3 on grass soccer fields along with Ring-billed, California, and Glaucous-winged (+”Olympics”)
  • Northern Harrier – Juvenile over boardwalk area
  • Great Horned Owl – Matt heard and saw one along boardwalk areas very early – FOF
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl – Matt heard and saw one near east end of boardwalk, screeching at the GHOW – FOF.
  • Pileated Woodpecker – two sightings, heard many times. Possibly two birds.
  • Cedar Waxwing – large flocks still around
  • American Pipit – barely heard a couple of times
  • Pine Siskin – one or more flocks of about 80 birds
  • White-throated Sparrow – one working the moss and lichens 15’ and more up a small Oregon Ash along the slough – FOF

We had several overhead flocks of non-Mallard but otherwise unidentified ducks.

This is the earliest confirmed fall sighting for NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL that we’ve had, but the species is fairly newly-known for the park.

After the walk, I re-covered some of the same ground hoping to confirm reports of possible Sora – no luck there, but I did hear a VARIED THRUSH from the Lake Platform, found a NORTHERN SHRIKE juvenile in the East Meadow (FOF), and spotted 4 KILLDEER in the NE fields. I also saw a group of 6 SWANS on the lake out from Idylwood Beach Park – five adults and a juvenile. It’s possible our three Trumpeters joined a family of three on the lake.

For the day, 60 species.

I was out last Sunday leading a field trip for members of the National Audubon Society board. We did an abbreviated loop from the Viewing Mound out to the Lake Platform on a very, very nice mid-morning. We had seven species Sunday that we didn’t have today: SNOW GOOSE (flock of ~20 overhead), WOOD DUCK, GADWALL, AMERICAN WIGEON, EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE, SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, and TOWNSEND'S WARBLER, so our list for this week was 67.

Misses for the week include Hooded Merganser, Lincoln’s Sparrow, and White-crowned Sparrow.

== Michael Hobbs

American Coots.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Ring-necked Duck (1st winter?).  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Trumpeter Swans.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Trumpeter Swans.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Cackling Geese.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Not an owl - but it plays one on TV.  Wood lump photographed by Scott Ramos

Report for October 27, 2016                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

We had a very good day at Marymoor today – overcast but with no rain or wind. We managed to find most of the expected birds, with a few misses – Downy & Hairy Woodpeckers and Bushtits.

But, then, any three owl day is an excellent day.


  • Great Horned Owl – on post in east meadow before dawn
  • Barn Owl – 2 foraging in east meadow until 6:40
  • Short-eared Owl – circling overhead later in the morning giving good looks
  • Ruddy Duck on lake
  • Western Grebe in river below weir
  • Orange-crowned Warbler
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – Audubon’s and Myrtle
  • Townsend’s Warbler
  • "Thayer’s" Iceland Gull
  • Pacific Wren
  • Hermit Thrush

We also had a loud beaver tail slap in the river before dawn

Good Birding!
Brian H. Bell

Snow Geese.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

California Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Ring-billed Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Glaucous-winged Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

"Thayer's" Iceland Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Pileated Woodpecker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Pileated Woodpecker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Belted Kingfisher.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Crow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Western Grebe in the slough.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Western Grebe centered behind a pair of Bufflehead on the lake.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Ruddy Duck.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Short-eared Owl. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Short-eared Owl. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Short-eared Owl. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Cackling Geese. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Coyote, 2016-10-24. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for October 22, 2015                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

Quite a nice morning, if quiet. The early morning fog made owling difficult but not impossible, and the fog was low, leaving great looks at the trio of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars gleaming in the early morning sky. Once the sun rose, it was partly sunny and really quite pleasant. Unfortunately, much of our trail (from Lake Platform to Viewing Mound) was closed for paving; meaning we had no access to half of the boardwalk, and the entire east side of the trail loop.


Horned Grebe                         In mixed flock with Westerns out on lake
Band-tailed Pigeon                  Sharon saw a flock; we may have seen another
Barn Owl                                Glimpses through the fog pre-dawn
SHORT-EARED OWL          Quick flyby past Viewing Mound ~7:00 a.m.
R.-breasted Sapsucker            2 near mansion
Pileated Woodpecker              1 in Oregon Ash trees
Peregrine Falcon                      1 heading south along far side of slough
NORTHERN SHRIKE            First of Fall, calling non-stop
White-throated Sparrow           1 near Dog Area portapotties
Pine Siskin                                2 flocks – First of Fall

We first had a NORTHERN SHRIKE calling incessantly from atop a birch tree across the weir. The repeated call was reminiscent of a towhee call, or maybe a Gray Catbird. It must have called non-stop for at least 15 minutes. Later, we saw probably the same shrike in the Dog Meadow, and later still (and again calling non-stop) from the Viewing Mound. The last sighting was clearly a juvenile; not sure about the first. Some mewing calls pre-dawn from the Viewing Mound may also have been shrike – very unusual to have one vocal.

For the day, 56 species, despite missing Bushtit, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Brown Creeper, and having only 1 gull and 3 species of duck.

== Michael Hobbs

Purple Finch.  Photo by Lillian Reis

White-throated Sparrow.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Female Pileated Woodpecker.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Northern Shrike.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Red-breasted Sapsucker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

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

Female Belted Kingfisher.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Greater White-fronted Geese, 2015-10-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Canada Geese squabbling, 2015-10-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Canada Geese squabbling, 2015-10-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Dark-eyed Junco, 2015-10-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Kale?  Humans eat that?  How???  Why???
Cooper's Hawk ponders the garden, 2015-10-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow, 2015-10-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Anna's Hummingbird, 2015-10-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Western Meadowlark, 2015-10-17.  Photo by Lillian Reis

American Robin, 2015-10-17.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Shaggy Mane mushrooms, 2015-10-22.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Fungi, 2015-10-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for October 23, 2014                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

It was another one of those days that convinces me of the wisdom of going birding despite “the weather”. Yeah, it rained all night, and it was blowing bits of rain from 7:00 until maybe 8:00, but the rest of the morning was actually pretty nice, with only a few sprinkles and showers. As for birds, nothing dramatic, but there are almost always some notable sightings, and today was no exception.


Turkey Vulture                    Two after the walk – latest ever for Marymoor
Sharp-shinned Hawk           One at the south end of the Dog Meadow
Killdeer                               15-20 in one flock, NE corner of park
Band-tailed Pigeon              Sharon saw a few
BARN OWL                      Flew around from 7:05-7:27 or later!!!
Northern Flicker                  Many, including a pure-looking “Yellow-shafted”
Merlin                                 West of the slough
Northern Shrike                   Juvenile, East Meadow
Common Raven                   Sharon saw/heard one over the Rowing Club
- swallow sp. -                     Sharon saw one over the slough near the windmill
Bushtit                                 Sharon saw a few, East Meadow, first in 5 weeks
American Pipit                     ~5, looking to land, NE corner of park
Orange-crowned Warbler    One along west edge of East Meadow
W. MEADOWLARK         12-13, NE corner of park
Pine Siskin                           Several large flocks, one very large flock

The BARN OWL was out way too late, giving us startlingly good looks in dim daylight. You could see every feather. The crows slept in, but still...

Today’s was the first time we’ve noted a pure “YELLOW-SHAFTED” FLICKER at Marymoor! Today we had a female with a tan face, a red crescent on the gray nape, and bright yellow feathers on wings and tail. There were ALSO 1-2 intergrade males with red malars AND red on the nape. A juvenile that was with the YSFL also may have been an intergrade. We’ve noted intergrades a handful of times before, though we don’t usually scrutinize flickers that closely, and we’ve probably missed many. There were quite a few flickers today (10+), so there must have been some kind of passage of them through the park.

After the walk, I went back to the East Meadow, trying to scare up either a Savannah Sparrow or a Common Yellowthroat. Savannah’s might still be around, but I couldn’t find any. Common Yellowthroat should be gone by now, but both Sharon and I had independently thought we’d heard a call or two along the East Meadow grassy trail. I couldn’t turn one up on my return however. The two TURKEY VULTURES were my consolation prize; they appeared to the NE and came south across the park. Last week’s 3 TUVUs were the latest fall sightings on record for the park, but they didn’t keep that record long!

For the day, we managed 58 species, though it was definitely the kind of day where not everybody sees everything!

== Michael Hobbs

"Yellow-shafted" Northern Flicker, showing red crescent on nape.
Photo by Hugh Jennings
"Yellow-shafted" Northern Flicker showing yellow on the shafts of the tail feathers.
Photo by Hugh Jennings

Two of the dozen Western Meadowlarks.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Western Meadowlark (foreground) and American Pipit.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Western Meadowlark.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Turkey Vulture.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Female Belted Kingfisher, 2014-10-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

First-winter Pied-billed Grebe, 2014-10-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Steller's Jay, 2014-10-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Golden-crowned Sparrow (bottom left), with White-crowned Sparrows below the wier,
2014-10-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Ring-billed Gull, 2014-10-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Glaucous-winged x Western Gull hybrid, 2014-10-21.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for October 24, 2013                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

The fog was like a spell cast over the land to dampen thought and activity. It made the birds quiet and scarce, and made us silly and stupid. We dawdled our way around the park, finding few birds and solving none of the problems facing society. Everyone laughed and was laughed at, yet the level of humor never rose above merely “humorous”, if that. (Okay, Matt did make one joke that was a hare on the funny side). By the end of the day, we were happy simply to have managed to bird the temperature: We had 54 species, while the high temperature topped out at 50 degrees.


Bufflehead                        Two females at lake (1 on Sunday was First of Fall)
Western Grebe                 More than a dozen on the lake, seen late
Sharp-shinned Hawk        One over Snag Row
Cooper’s Hawk               At least 2; a juvie spent the day in the Pea Patch
Mew Gull                         Several. First of fall
Barn Owl                         Brian had one early near windmill
Merlin                              One flew over Viewing Mound
Western Meadowlark      Two at Viewing Mound, seen late

There were a couple of RIVER OTTERS visible from the Lake Platform.

I spent 10 minutes asserting that a particular gull was a California Gull, but Sharon persisted. Upon actual examination, it proved to be perfect for 2nd-winter Mew, and not at all correct for California.  So there was even some learning going on.

Misses today included Gadwall, Downy Woodpecker, Cedar Waxwing, White-crowned Sparrow, and Purple Finch.

As I said, 54 species today.

== Michael Hobbs

Recent beaver work near Dog Central.  Photo by Hugh Jennings
A juvenile Cooper's Hawk spent the day in the Pea Patch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Spotted Towhee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Brown Creeper.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bufflehead are back for the winter.  Two females at the lake.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

First-winter Killdeer.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

A Merlin flew past the Viewing Mound...

...Two photos by Ollie Oliver

First-winter Mew Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Second-winter Mew Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

First-winter Ring-billed Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Crow chasing a Ring-billed Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Fall color.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk, 2013-10-18.  Same bird as above?  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Savannah Sparrow, 2013-10-18.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for October 25, 2012                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

Some days are just stupendous. It was fairly warm (43 degrees predawn, and I think it warmed some), overcast, windless, and even some sun breaks. Good birds were distinctly NOT few and far between. We ended up with a great species total, and it was clear that we missed out on at least a few more.

Highlights: (FOF=First Of Fall)

TRUMPETER SWAN(?)              2 flew south, silent. Tundra would be less likely
Gadwall                                         2 in the slough, seen from RC dock – FOF
Northern Shoveler                          Flyby flock of 7, plus perhaps a wigeon
Northern Harrier                            Male over East Meadow before 8 a.m.
ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK          At sunrise, East Meadow and continued NW
Merlin                                            Two sightings, 2nd time at Rowing Club
DUNLIN                                       1 thought of landing on grass soccer fields
Barn Owl                                        At least 2, as late as 7:20 a.m.
SHORT-EARED OWL                  Mixing it up with Barn Owls – East Meadow
Northern Shrike                              2 again: East Meadow + north of fields 7-8-9
Common Raven                              1 heard
Varied Thrush                                 1 seen by several people, Dog Meadow edge
American Pipit                                 Several flyovers
AMERICAN TREE SPARROW    Sharon AGAIN saw one, Compost Pile area
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW 1 with other sparrows, below weir
WESTERN MEADOWLARK       1 at Compost Piles just before 8 a.m.

We had a very large flock of geese, distantly seen, that were probably CACKLING GEESE, but it was WAY too far off.

Accipiter identification can be difficult, but we had great looks at one bird that was probably a Cooper’s Hawk, but it managed to show such an array of seemingly conflicting features that we left it as either Shooper’s or Carpie. Other accipiters were more easily identifiable as COOPER’S. With the NOHA, RLHA, MERL, COHA, plus BALD EAGLE and RED-TAILED HAWK, we had a 6 raptor day.

AMERICAN ROBINS were present in the hundreds. SPOTTED TOWHEES, while much less numerous, were seen notably more than typical.


We found one LEUCISTIC HOUSE FINCH at the Compost Piles – strikingly ghostly.

For the day, 66 species. The combined list for the last 2 weeks: at least 79 species! For the year, we’re up over 150.

== Michael Hobbs

"Shooper's" or "Carpie"?  Unknown accipiter.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Seven Northern Shoveler.  3rd bird is possibly a wigeon.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Two silent swans flying south, probably Trumpeters

Varied Thrush.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Purple Finch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Hairy Woodpecker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Leucistic House Finch, with House Finch and Golden-crowned Sparrows.

Leucistic House Finch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Leucistic House Finch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Lincoln's Sparrow (left) and Savannah Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Red-winged Blackbird.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Dunlin. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Hooded Merganser at the Rowing Club pond.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Muskrat across from the Rowing Club dock.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for October 27, 2011                                                                                                                           Birding at Marymoor

Despite the fog, we had a pretty good day at Marymoor today that featured several notable sightings. Generally things were quiet, but not all the time!

The big highlight was a NEW PARK BIRD - an AMERICAN DIPPER was at the weir. I never expected to see a dipper on the calm, deep Sammamish Slough, but maybe because the water level is unseasonably low and thus the weir and rocks below the weir are yet to be covered in deep water, a wandering fall dipper found the area attractive. We saw the bird just before 9 a.m., and Lillian texted me that it was back at the weir around 10 a.m.

Matt, on his early morning owling, had a GREAT HORNED OWL in parking lot G, and heard BARN OWL. Then, after 7:30, while was joined by Brian and Scott, they enjoyed a SHORT-EARED OWL along the fence just south of the east kiosk.

Other highlights:

Cackling Goose                                 Hundreds, mostly hidden in the fog
WESTERN GREBE                          Out of place, also at the weir
MOURNING DOVE                        One at the Pea Patch
Northern Shrike                                  An adult at the Compost Piles
Common Raven                                  Mobbed by crows
Varied Thrush                                     Heard near the mansion early
WHITE-THROATED SPARROW    THREE, together, east of 3rd dog beach
Evening Grosbeak                              One on the ground near the windmill

Gulls were back, with at least a few MEW, RING-BILLED, CALIFORNIA, and GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULLS.

A RIVER OTTER was seen well across from the Rowing Club dock.

For the day, counting a heard-only Downy/Hairy, 60 species.

[My day list at Marymoor this morning was exactly the same (55 species) as my bird list for three weeks in Prague (we returned yesterday). Four species were on both lists, and I believe 15 genera were in common.]

== Michael Hobbs

Western Grebe.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Dipper.  Photo by Scott Ramos

American Dipper showing its white nictitating membrane.  Photo by Lillian Reis

American Dipper.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Female Purple Finch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Lincoln's Sparrow.  Photo by Scott Ramos

Common Raven with Killdeer.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Common Raven mobbed by American Crows.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Mourning Dove in the Community Gardens.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Scruffy male Evening Grosbeak.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bewick's Wren.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bewick's Wren.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

River Otter showing its nasty sharp pointed teeth.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

River Otter.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

European Starling, 2011-10-25.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

European Starling, 2011-10-25.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Killdeer, 2011-10-25.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Hooded Merganser, 2011-10-25.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

First-winter Pied-billed Grebe, 2011-10-25.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

White-throated Sparrow, 2011-10-22.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for October 28, 2010                                                                                                                          Birding at Marymoor

It was overcast, and intermittently drizzly this morning, and I have a horrible cold and have no voice today.  I almost didn't show up, but I did, and it turned out to be a pretty good day for birds.  Most of the time, it was actually quiet, but things kept popping out pretty regularly.


Ring-necked Duck              First of Fall - about 3 at lake
Greater Scaup                     FOF - 2 with RNDU
Green Heron                       1 at the Rowing Club
MERLIN                            1 apparent taiga-type near mansion
SORA                                Responded to clapping
Mew Gull                            FOF, maybe 50
Barn Owl                            Matt & Scott had a great show early
Hairy Woodpecker             One near east footbridge
Northern Shrike                  Juvenile at S end of East Meadow
American Pipit                    A few flyovers
Orange-crowned Warbler   2 with kinglets and chickadees

I clapped for rails at the last slough access before the boardwalk, and immediately got a loud response from a SORA, followed by a quieter response from a VIRGINIA RAIL.  Virginia Rail often will respond to clapping, and Sora will respond to Virginia Rail. But I've never had a Sora respond first to clapping.  We heard a Sora at the same spot 2 weeks ago.  This is the 11th time we've had Sora at Marymoor.

For the day, 59 species.  Yesterday, I had 4 additional species (Western Grebe, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Brown Creeper, Pacific Wren) for a week-total of 63.

== Michael

Rarely seen (though more frequently heard) Pacific Treefrog.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Adult Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Killdeer.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Merlin.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Western Grebe, 2010-10-27.   Photo by Ollie Oliver

Western Grebe, 2010-10-27.   Photo by Ollie Oliver

Bewick's Wren, 2010-10-27.   Photo by Ollie Oliver

Savannah Sparrow, 2010-10-27

Male Golden-crowned Kinglet, 2010-10-27

Female Golden-crowned Kinglet, 2010-10-27

Eastern Gray Squirrel, 2010-10-27.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Garter Snake, 2010-10-27

Report for October 22, 2009

It was gorgeous before First Crow this morning.  The sky was cloudless and deep, with Venus shining brighter than the gathering dawn to the east.  A low ground fog covered the meadows, so I climbed the dirt piles at the north end of the East Meadow and watched and waited.  At about 7:10,  or maybe just before, a SHORT-EARED OWL worked its way south from the road along the ditch at the east edge of the meadow and then disappeared into the fog.

Brian Bell was approaching, and I dreaded having to tell him that he'd missed the owl by less than two minutes.  But Brian called out to me something I couldn't quite parse.  I looked down towards him, only to come face-to-face with a Short-eared that may have been intending to try for a morning meal around the Compost Piles.  We spotted each other when the owl was about ten feet away.  I didn't have time to flinch before the owl, startled by my presence, jerked away to the east.

For a while, it seemed like the rest of the day would pale in comparison to the early owl experience, but no...

There were about a dozen of us this morning, and though the birds were mostly invisible early on, the day was fine.  The early fog lifted to form a thin overcast though which the sun fought feebly all day.  The birds came in bunches, sometimes with good looks.


Greater White-fronted Goose    10 with Canadas in NE fields
Cackling Goose                         About 8 with the White-fronts
Wood Duck                              Still a pair.  They get sparse until March
MERLIN                                  One perched briefly across the slough
Barn Owl                                  Matt & Scott had at least 1 early
Red-breasted Sapsucker           Two, including nice looks at RC
Hairy Woodpecker                   One in Big Cottonwood Forest
Pileated Woodpecker               One across from Rowing Club dock
NORTHERN SHRIKE            Nice adult in East Meadow
Orange-crowned Warbler         One with bushtits and chickadees
Western Meadowlark               One at the East Meadow
Evening Grosbeak                     Often heard overhead, no good looks

The 10 Greater White-fronted Geese is by far the most we've ever had at Marymoor at one time. The previous high was 5 on October 16, 2008.

The NORTHERN SHRIKE was very active.  It was first spotted on a hawthorn in the middle of the East Meadow, but it then moved to the willows east of the meadow, then perhaps all the way north towards the velodrome, before returning to the cherry trees at the Compost Piles.  It then flew off to the southeast.  So it might be covering the entire NE quadrant of the park.

There were a variety of gulls on the grass soccer fields at 7:30.  The fog and their jumpiness made viewing difficult.  There was one particularly dark large first-winter gull that we think might have been a Western Gull, but distinguishing field marks were not noted.

We had no Green Heron for the first time since March.  Sometimes Green Herons will stick around sparsely through the winter, and other years they clear out.  We have seen Green Heron all but three weeks of the year over the last 15+ years.  But perhaps this winter will be one of the winters we don't see them.

For the day, we managed 64 species!

== Michael

See also Marc Hoffmann's photos at

Nice fall color, even in the fog

Bewick's Wren

Male Purple Finch eating Oregon Ash seeds

Ruby-crowned Kinget

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Adult Northern Shrike east of the East Meadow

Four of ten Greater White-fronted Geese that were with Canada and Cackling Geese

Hugh Jennings photo of same.

Steller's Jay

Hugh Jennings photo of a Pileated Woodpecker female

Report for October 23, 2008

Aside from some early drizzle that cleared fairly quickly, it was a delightful day at Marymoor today.  We were about a dozen people, and we had good birds intermittently all day.  The rest of the time Matt and I filled with atrocious puns.  What could be better.


SNOW GOOSE                          One flew overhead in a flock of Canadas
Double-crested Cormorant            First of Fall
Barn Owl                                      Scott had one at 6:30 a.m.
SHORT-EARED OWL                We had two in the East Meadow @ 7:25
Pileated Woodpecker                    I heard one near the mansion
HORNED LARK                         1 at Compost Piles, flew south
American Pipit                               More than 1, grass fields, various times
Townsend's Warbler                     Great looks in Ash Tree, Dog Meadow
Western Meadowlark                    Three from the Compost Piles, 1 singing

We were due to meet at 7:30.  At 7:15, Matt, Brian, and I gave up on trying for Scott's Barn Owl.  I decided to walk back along the grass trail on the east edge of the East Meadow.  As I neared the north end, a SHORT-EARED OWL  flushed from the tall grass and glided to the northeast.  Maybe one or two minutes later, a second SEOW came flying in from the *northwest* carrying some kind of fairly large rodent.  It flew right over Brian, Matt, and Scott, flew past me, and landed about where the first owl had been.

Duck numbers were absurdly low.  By the time we got to the Rowing Club, we'd seen a total of 5 MALLARDS.  That's it.  The lake was empty - not even a coot.  From the Rowing Club dock, though, we found 3 GADWALL, and walking back past the ponds, Sharon spotted a male HOODED MERGANSER, thus tripling our species count for ducks.  There were also 4-5 AMERICAN COOTS in the slough.

South of the windmill, we watched a juvenile RED-TAILED HAWK drop out of a
tree and catch some very small prey which it ate in 1 bite before returning to the tree.

Brian and I went to the private cabana afterwards for a last scan of the lake.  There had been Pied-billed Grebe out there, but we'd also seen what looked like Western Grebe, but we'd been unable to confirm.  From the cabana, we saw several WEGR and about the same number of Horned Grebe

For the day, 62 species.

== Michael

Ollie Oliver's photo of an adult Bald Eagle

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

Ollie's photo of an American Pipit

Ollie Oliver's photo of fall color

My photo of the Anna's Hummingbird at the Pea Patch

Ollie's photo of same

Fungus growing at the base of a tree northeast of the mansion

Gadwalls in the slough, female on left, male on right

Male Hooded Merganser at Rowing Club pond

Male Hooded Merganser leaving Rowing Club pond

Report for October 25, 2007

Michael was out of town, so Matt and I got to substitute for him yesterday. The day may have dawned sunny somewhere else, but not at Marymoor. We had heavy fog in until at least 11 AM, for quite a while you could not see the other side of the river. The last part of the day cleared and was quite pleasant.

The highlight of the day occurred while we were sorting through a group of small birds in the cherry trees near the river. A SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (immature) zoomed in looking for a meal. You have never seen a small group of trees clear out so fast, but a few birds didn't make it. The hawk landed and scanned the branches, then moved to the edge of the trees. We quickly became aware that a BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEE was frozen on a branch about 8 feet away from the hawk. The Sharpie was looking in all directions, but didn't seem to see the chickadee. We then became aware that at least 3 other birds were similarly frozen in position - two YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS and another chickadee. We watched for at least 25 minutes, studying the Sharpie minutely from quite close - the bird didn't react to our presence. Finally our original chickadee either moved slightly, or the hawk finally saw it and made a dive toward it. The inexperience of the hawk was evident as the chickadee successfully moved out of the way, and all the other birds departed for the nearby berry patches. The Sharpie and a lone chickadee were the only occupants of the clump when we finally continued our walk.

Song was way down, but not absent or we would have had a tough time finding the birds that were present. A good number of SPOTTED TOWHEES and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS were there. A VIRGINIA RAIL sounded off from a ways below the weir (we couldn't have seen it for the fog if it had been 15 feet away). In spite of the fog we had 5 raptors for the day - a BARN OWL early, an adult and later immature COOPER'S HAWK, the SHARP-SHINNED HAWK, 3 RED-TAILED HAWKS (one being mobbed in the distance by crows), and an adult BALD EAGLE. There were two nice groups of geese on the fields near the cricket pitch - both CANADA and CACKLING GOOSE- intermingled for easy comparison. The Cacklers finally took off and obliged by calling. GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS were either all over Marymoor, or the same flock followed us all morning.

Birds of note: Sharp-shinned Hawk Cooper's Hawk Wilson's Snipe Barn Owl Orange-crowned Warbler Winter Wren American Pipit Cackling Goose

A RIVER OTTER was in the tree patch near the soccer fields - we figured it took a left turn in the fog and was lost. We also saw a RACCOON, a bunny and the usual EASTERN GRAY SQUIRRELS.

All in all a good day, and 51 species in spite of the fog.

Brian H. Bell, Woodinville WA

Linda Phillips found an escaped Canary at the Compost Piles on 2007-10-22

Ollie Oliver's photo of a Northern Shrike in the East Meadow 2007-10-26


Bird Sightings Week 43
October 22-28*      *adjust by 1 day in leap years



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