Friends of Marymoor Park


Bird Sightings Week 53
December 31 (December 30-31 in leap years)


Rarities for Week 53:

Eurasian Wigeon
31-Dec-22 John Puschock
Snowy Owl 31-Dec-12 High flyover, harassed by a raven
Bobcat 31-Dec-10 Marc Hoffman and others

Report for December 31, 2018                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

Like last year's New Years Eve day, I didn't get down early, and by the time I got there, I was amongst a hoard of dogs.  The weather was good, though, and I had a fine day to end 2018.


  • Ring-necked Pheasant - male in Pea Patch again; New for Week 53
  • Horned Grebe - one out on lake amongst a flotilla of Pied-billed Grebe
  • Virginia Rail - responded from boardwalk
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk - near Pea Patch
  • Hairy Woodpecker - 9th straight week!
  • Pileated Woodpecker - almost as frequently found this winter as Hairy
  • Northern Shrike - one near Viewing Mound

For the (short) day, 46 species.

= Michael

Report for December 31, 2017                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

Week 53 is the blip on the end of the year - just a single day unless it's a leap year.  I went down on the 31st mid-morning, amongst a hoard of dogs, trying to document poor Week 53.  No photos, and nothing dramatic to be seen, but a couple of highlights:
  • Greater White-fronted Goose - TWO this time, with Cacklers and Canadas
  • American Wigeon - a couple below the weir - first since October
  • Lincoln's Sparrow - one from Viewing Mound

Report for December 30, 2016                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

Week 53 usually only has a single day in it (since 52*7=364), but 2016 being a leap year, both December 30 and December 31 fell into Week 53.  Alas, even with double the hours, I couldn't find time to get down to Marymoor.  Luckily, Grace & Ollie Oliver did make it down on the 30th, and it was a very nice day.

Green-winged Teal.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Snow Goose with Canada Geese.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Robin.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Adult Bald Eagle eating a fish.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Golden-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Spotted Towhee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

"Sooty" Fox Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Immature White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for December 31, 2015                                                                                              Birding at Marymoor

It was frigid but gorgeous today – 23 degrees but crystal clear skies. Pre-dawn was glorious, with frost, a glow from the east, a SHORT-EARED OWL cruising the meadows, Venus, Jupiter next to the half-moon, and the sounds of geese on the lake.


Greater White-fronted Goose     1  in large flock of Cackling Geese
American Wigeon                       A couple of flyover flocks, plus 2 birds in slough
Bald Eagle                                  Osprey-faced juvenile spooked geese often
Cooper’s Hawk                         Juvenile in “Pet Cemetery” next to Pea Patch
Short-eared Owl                        Very dark – almost called it Long-eared, 7:15
Red-breasted Sapsucker            Two sightings
Merlin Around                            7:30 a.m. near East Kiosk
Varied Thrush                            Grace had one near the windmill
Spotted Towhee                         Maybe 20+
DARK-EYED JUNCO              Huge flocks everywhere – more than 100

For the day, 53 species. For 2015, a very low count of 150 species. Nine more species are on eBird from other birders, which is closer to a typical year’s count.

Happy New Year everyone!

== Michael Hobbs

Canada Geese in slough below weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Red-breasted Sapsucker.  Photo by Diana Antunes

Female Common Goldeneye.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Purple Finch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male House Finch.  Photos by Ollie Oliver

Fox Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Fox Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Bald Eagle.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Juvenile Bald Eagle.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.

Distant Western Meadowlark.  Photo by Diana Antunes

European Starlings.  Photo by Diana Antunes

Juvenile Bald Eagle.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Steller's Jay.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Green Heron, 2015-12-26.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Green Heron, 2015-12-26.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Cackling Geese, 2015-12-26.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Canada Geese, Cackling Geese, European Starling, 2015-12-26.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for December 31, 2014                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

Clear, cold but still. 59 species for the day.  Beaver were very early. Coyote.  Great Horned Owl at 0600.  Birded  0600-1235   24F-42F   clear

Six silent swans.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Golden-crowned Sparrows.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Canada Geese.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Fox Sparrow showing a lot of red in the early morning light.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male American Goldfinch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male American Goldfinch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Can you spot the Greater White-fronted Goose amongst the Cackling Geese?
Photo by Ollie Oliver

How about now?  Same photo by Ollie, only cropped.

Report for December 31, 2012                                                                                                       Birding at Marymoor

I went out solo today. I track the park’s birds by the week of the year. Poor Week 53 has only a single day each year, except for leap years when it has two days. So we don’t have very many surveys for Week 53, and I thought I’d try to add to Week 53’s totals (and I did – 9 additional species).

I wasn’t expecting it to be a great day, but the weather was about as perfect as you can get at this time of year – thin overcast, no wind, temps in the 30’s, no hint of precipitation. And it was super birdy.

Just as I was heading south from the Dog Area, I heard a Common Raven calling from above. At first I thought the raven must be perched atop one of the tall cottonwoods, but finally I saw it flying very high above the trees. Actually, I thought there were two ravens, but when I got a look at them with my binocs, I could see that one of them wasn't a raven - It was a SNOWY OWL. The owl was slowly cruising southwest, quite high up. I don't know how long the raven had been flying with it, harassing it all the time, but it may well have been for miles. Ravens are much more common in the Snoqualmie Valley than the Sammamish Valley. Soon after passing over the river, the raven broke off its pursuit and headed back to the east.

This is the first known report of SNOWY OWL for Marymoor Park! It brings the Park list to 222, and it was a species that I was skeptical whether we’d ever get. Snowys around here seem to prefer being closer to Puget Sound.

Other highlights:

Greater White-fronted Goose            At least 3 with Cacklers
Cackling Goose                                200+ on grass fields
CALIFORNIA QUAIL                    Male at Compost Piles – 1st for 2012!
Horned Grebe                                  A couple well out on lake
Western Grebe                                 At least 7 well out on lake
Virginia Rail                                      At least 3 heard east of East Meadow
SHORT-EARED OWL                   Nice looks at model airplane field, 7:30 a.m.
Red-breasted Sapsucker                  Near mansion
Hairy Woodpecker                          Four sightings
Pileated Woodpecker                      Female in Big Cottonwood Forest
Northern Shrike                               East Meadow
Common Raven                               Harassing Snowy Owl
Dark-eyed Junco                             Notably plentiful - 60+
Red Crossbill                                   20+ near mansion
American Goldfinch                         Six, just south of dog area

I also had a COYOTE west of the weir, and two RIVER OTTERS on the lake.

For the day, 60 species!

== Michael Hobbs

Common Raven harassing a SNOWY OWL as it flew west over the park.
More (worse) photos below
Rather nice sunrise

Very good-looking Coyote on west side of the slough, just downstream of the weir

Could someone please count the Pine Siskins for me?

Male Ring-necked Duck just above the weir

One of at least 5 Red-tailed Hawks

Another shot of the Snowy Owl shows how it compares in size with the raven

Here, the raven dive-bombs the flapping Snowy Owl

Female Pileated Woodpecker near the start of the boardwalk

Horrible photo, but it documents the male California Quail, our first since June, 2010

Once you finish counting the Pine Siskins (above), could you please count the Cackling Geese?  This was just one of the flocks in the park.

The Cascades were stunning today

Partially leucistic American Robin - a "bad hair day" for life

Report for December 31, 2009

Michael is still in Prague so he missed out on the last Marymoor walk of the year. Today started out mostly cloudy and chilly, but with no wind. It gradually clouded over completely, but with structure to the clouds and the Cascades visible on the horizon. Eventually the cloud cover became a solid gray stratus and we waited for the rain. The rain, predicted to start at 10 AM held off and didn’t start until close to noon. The species diversity was good, although the absolute numbers of birds seemed to be down. There were a few birds singing including Bewick's and Marsh Wrens and Red-winged Blackbirds, and several other species were giving abbreviated versions of songs.


We didn't see anything spectacular but did have nice sightings of:

Barn Owls

Trumpeter Swans

Common Merganser

Green Heron

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Northern Harrier

hear 3 Virginia Rails

and get nice looks at the Northern Shrike.


55 species


All in all, it was a good day for the last day of December.


Brian H. Bell


Male Common Merganser.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Common Goldeneye pair near the weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Ollie's shot of the same

Bufflehead at the lake, with at least two Common Goldeneye.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Four female Common Goldeneye, with Bufflehead.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Adult Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Chestnut-backed Chickadee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Definitely not at Marymoor...

As Brian mentioned, we've been in Prague, Czech Republic.  The winter birding here is very slow - I've seen fewer species in two weeks than the Marymoor crew had in 5 hours on Thursday.  But there are some rather nice birds amongst them,
including this Blue Tit,
Parus caeruleus.  I haven't managed any other photos, really, as I only have my wife's snapshot camera, but I have seen Green Woodpecker, Hawfinch, Gray Wagtail, Bullfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, and more.

Happy New Year to all.

= Michael


Bird Sightings Week 53
December 31
(December 30-31 in leap years)



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