Friends of Marymoor Park

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Bird Sightings Week 48
November 26 - December 2*

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Rarities for Week 48:

Brant 26-Nov-08 With Cacklers, 26-Nov and 05-Dec
Brant 02-Dec-09 With Cacklers in NE corner, 02-Dec, 03-Dec, 17-Dec
Trumpeter Swan 01-Dec-06 Two birds
Trumpeter Swan 26-Nov-11  
Tundra Swan 30-Nov-07  
Redhead 27-Nov-97  
Red-necked Grebe 29-Nov-00 Two birds
Greater Yellowlegs 29-Nov-06 Two birds flying over the maintenance barns, calling repeatedly
Dunlin 30-Nov-09  
Franklin's Gull 27-Nov-13 Juvenile with large flock of Mew Gulls
Northern Saw-whet Owl 29-Nov-12 About 5:00 a.m., near entrance bridge
Hutton's Vireo 28-Nov-06  
Swamp Sparrow 26-Nov-10 Photographed

Report for December 1, 2016                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

It was our coldest morning of the winter yet – there was even a touch of frost. November was notably warm, but at least there’s some hint of winter this month :) Mostly a thin overcast, some sun, a brief bit of drizzle. Pretty nice. And the birding was really good.

Highlights:

American Wigeon                    Heard pre-dawn, then had a flock fly out
Greater Scaup                         Lone female in slough with Buffleheads
Common Goldeneye                About 4 at the lake – First Of Fall
Eurasiam Collared-Dove         One flyby near concert venue
SHORT-EARED OWL          Great looks, East Meadow, 7-7:20
N. SAW-WHET OWL           Nice look, 6:30ish, north of “Mysterious Thicket”
Common Raven                       First of the year – two different flybys
BOHEMIAN WAXWING     Two, SE corner of East Meadow
Lincoln’s Sparrow                   3-4 at Compost Piles
Western Meadowlark              A dozen north of Fields 7-8-9
Purple Finch                            Nice flock of around a dozen along slough

Our only previous confirmed sighting of BOHEMIAN WAXWING at Marymoor was a single bird hanging out with Cedar Waxwings from late-February through early April, 2012. Today, we had very good looks at two along the east edge of the southern tip of the East Meadow. They were feeding on berries with American Robins, and were sticking close to each other.

It was a really nice day, with lots of good looks at birds, and some nice surprises. For the day, 58 species.

== Michael Hobbs


Male Bufflehead taking off.  Photo by Ollie Oliver
 


Gynandromorphic female Mallard showing male characteristics.
Bill color identifies her true gender.  Photo by Hugh Jennings


Female and male Common Goldeneye.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male Purple Finch eating Oregon Ash seed.  Photo by Hugh Jennings


Common Raven.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Bohemian Waxwings.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Bohemian Waxwing.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Bohemian Waxwing.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Bohemian Waxwing.  Photo by Hugh Jennings


European Starlings.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Western Meadowlarks often associate with European Starlings.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Western Meadowlark.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Golden-crowned Kinglet. Photo by Ollie Oliver


Hooded Merganser swallowing a fish. Photos by Ollie Oliver

Report for November 30, 2015                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

I calculate the week of the year differently than, say, Microsoft Excel.  Their calculation tells you which row on the year's calendar you are on.  This means that, if the year starts on a Saturday, Week 1 has only 1 day.  For the purposes of trying to figure out seasonality of birds based on the weeks they have appeared, their calculation isn't useful.  With my method, the first seven days of the year are Week 1, the second seven days are Week 2, and so on.

I relate this, because we were in danger of missing Week 48 entirely this year.  The year started on a Thursday.  Since we birded the Wednesday before Thanksgiving instead of doing our usual Thursday walk, there would have been no survey for the week starting Thanksgiving.  I couldn't have that, so I headed down to Marymoor early on Monday, November 30.

As it turns out, Ollie & Grace went down on the 29th too, so we have pretty good coverage for Week 48 after all.

From the photos, it looks like Sunday the 29th was a nice, warmish, sunny day.  Monday the 30th, however, was frigid.  It was a balmy 23 degrees at 7:00 a.m. !!!  The frost was so thick that it looked almost as if it had snowed.  It took its time warming up, too, but it was a pretty nice day in the end.

Highlights:

Greater White-fronted Goose   At least 1 with Cacklers
Green-winged Teal                   Dozens in slough below weir
Horned Grebe                          Far out on lake
Western Grebe                         Two, far out on lake
Yellow-rumped Warbler           1 or 2 "Audubon's" subspecies
TOWNSEND'S WARBLER   1 near South Shelter, first since August

I also had 2 COYOTE, one of which chased off some of the geese.

Grace & Ollie had SHORT-EARED OWL and the NORTHERN SHRIKE, as well as a few more species I didn't have, so my list was 52, and the week's list was closer to 58.


Frosty view of the East Kiosk.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Double-crested Cormorant in slough near windmill.  Photo by Michael Hobbs


Cackling Geese dislodged and/or melted the frost from the grass under and around the flock.  Photo by Michael Hobbs


ONE Golden-crowned Sparrow, 2015-11-29.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


TWO Golden-crowned Sparrows, 2015-11-29.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Short-eared Owl being harassed by a crow, 2015-11-29.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Short-eared Owl being harassed by a crow, 2015-11-29.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Note the wing pattern (upper and lower), 2015-11-29.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Short-eared Owl STILL being harassed by a crow, 2015-11-29.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for November 26, 2014                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

Following yesterday’s rain and last night’s stiff winds, I was surprised at how pleasant the weather was this morning. The wind died down right around sunrise, and we had clouds, a few patches of blue skies, and tropical temperatures: 57-60 degrees in the last week in November! It wasn’t terribly birdy, however.

Highlights:

Cackling Goose                       800-1000 came in at sunrise, but didn’t land
Wood Duck                            2 males, 1 female at mouth of slough
Barn Owl                                Sharon had one around 6:40 a.m.
Red-breasted Sapsucker         1 at start of boardwalk. First since early Oct.
American Kestrel                     Male between Compost Piles and airplane field
Common Raven                       Two flying west of the slough

That’s about it for highlights. Misses for the day included Ring-necked Duck, Common Goldeneye, Wilson’s Snipe, Northern Shrike, Bushtit, Lincoln’s Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, and American Goldfinch.

Even though the CACKLING GEESE never landed (well, a few may have lit for a minute or two before exploding back into the air), it’s quite a sight to see so many birds flying around. The huge flock fragmented into many small flocks. Many times during the morning, lines of geese (15-50) would pass overhead. There seemed no consensus as to destination.

It was very nice to see the gorgeous male AMERICAN KESTREL, which has been oft-photographed by others in the last few weeks, but never seen on our Thursday surveys until today.

I did catch a glimpse of the partially leucistic GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET south of the windmill.

After Marymoor, I headed down to LAKE SAMMAMISH STATE PARK to try for the American White Pelican. No luck with that, but in the hour or so I was down there, I did see 35 species. What surprised me most was that EIGHT of those were species not seen at Marymoor this morning: Northern Shoveler, Common Goldeneye, Common Loon, Western Grebe, California Gull, Herring Gull, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and American Goldfinch.

So, for the day, 52 species at Marymoor.


Mallard with some domestic duck influence.  The red on the side might suggest a Mallard x Northern Shoveler hybrid, but the red would be lower on the breast for Shoveler, not high on the sides.  The entire structure of the bird is Mallard, as are the curly tail feathers and the bill.  It's slightly larger size also points to
domestic influence.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Green-winged Teal in front of a female Mallard.  Note the great disparity in size.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male Purple Finch eating Oregon Ash seeds.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Pied-billed Grebe with fish (probably a sculpin).  Photo by Ollie Oliver


It's hard to tell the Pine Siskins from the leaves.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Bufflehead in the slough.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Red-breasted Sapsucker near the start of the boardwalk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Our best look at a Fox Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male American Kestrel.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male American Kestrel.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for November 27, 2013                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

This weather is almost scary, it’s so nice. It was a bit chilly, and there was some ground fog, predawn. But certainly by about 8:30, it was warming up under partly cloudy skies showing a lot of blue. (You should have seen the moon and Jupiter in the wee hours, and Mt. Rainier at sunrise...) And we had some exciting birds to go with the delightful weather.

Right at 7:30, a large group of MEW GULLS (several hundred) landed on the grass soccer fields. We spent at least 10 minutes fruitlessly looking through them for Ring-billed or California, and only turned up some GLAUCOUS-WINGS and “Olympic” gulls. I gave up and started the stroll to the river, when I heard shouting back at the parking lot. Stan Wood had spotted a smaller gull. We managed to get close enough for some pretty good looks, and were amazed to find it was a juvenile FRANKLIN’S GULL. Ollie got some photos, which will be on the blog in a few days. This is just the third time we’ve had Franklin’s Gull at Marymoor, and this was by far our best look. The last time we had a Franklin’s was NOVEMBER 24, 2010 – a very similar date! The other sighting was in late May quite a few years ago. For me, personally, this was my first Franklin's Gull at Marymoor, my 209th species for the park for my personal list.

If anyone want to try and chase the Franklin’s Gull, I’d suggest being there from 7:30 to 8:30 tomorrow or Friday. The Mew Gull flocks fly in just around sunrise, and often (but by no means always) land on the grass soccer fields for breakfast. They typically leave within an hour of arrival.

Other highlights:

SNOW GOOSE              Two flew over the Viewing Mound about 7:15
Cackling Goose                Some nice big flocks landed in the park. 300 total?
Wood Duck                     At least 5 in the upper slough
Horned Grebe                  1-2 visible from Lake Platform
FRANKLIN’S GULL      See notes above
Hairy Woodpecker           Near Dog Area storage shed
Pileated Woodpecker       Seen far to the east of the east footbridge
Yellow-rumped Warbler   One at Rowing Club
Townsend’s Warbler        One at Rowing Club
Fox Sparrow                    Unusually plentiful
Purple Finch                      Male at Rowing Club

It was so warm, we heard PACIFIC TREE FROG, and saw a GARTER SNAKE – our first snake sighting ever for November-February.

For the day, 55 species.

== Michael Hobbs


Juvenile Franklin's Gull with Mew Gull. Photo by Ollie Oliver


Juvenile Franklin's Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Juvenile Franklin's Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Possibly our first-ever Turkey sighting for Marymoor


Male Common Goldeneyes.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male Common Goldeneyes.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male Purple Finch eating Oregon Ash seed.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male Purple Finch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


There were many American Coots in the slough.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


We don't always get good looks.  Townsend's Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for November 29, 2012                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

Thank goodness the wind died down at sunrise, for there was horizontal rain at times before that. We did get rained on, at times, but without the wind it wasn’t too bad. Temps around 50 degrees also tempered the discomfort. And we had long stretches without rain at all. Not a bad morning, weatherwise, considering what we could have had. For birds, it was a good day for ducks and geese, and we managed to find most of the other usual stuff.

In an attempt to catch the geese and gulls before they flew off, we ended up pulling a u-turn and doing the walk in reverse.

Best bird was a BARN OWL that we accidentally flushed out of Snag Row while walking between the Pea Patch and the grass soccer fields. Best bird for Matt was a NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL that he heard tooting near the mansion at 5 a.m.

Other highlights:

Greater White-fronted Goose Four with huge flock of Cacklers
Wood Duck                           Pair in slough
Northern Pintail                      Sharon had a couple fly over
Lesser Scaup                         One male, first for 2012!
Common Merganser              Maybe 5-6
Western Grebe                      A couple out on the lake
Hairy Woodpecker                On a branch over the boardwalk
Northern Shrike                     North of fields 7-8-9
Varied Thrush                        One near mansion
Yellow-rumped Warbler        Amit had two in Snag Row

For the day, I think we came up with 59 species total.

== Michael Hobbs


On the Viewing Mound.  Note that 6 of us are wearing the same rain hat.
Photo by Hugh Jennings

Female Belted Kingfisher at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Hooded Mergansers at the Rowing Club, 2012-11-28.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Pileated Woodpecker, 2012-11-28.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Pied-billed Grebe, 2012-11-28.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Greater White-fronted Geese with Cackling Geese, 2012-11-28.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

American Goldfinch, 2012-11-28.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Leucistic House FInch, 2012-11-21.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for December 1, 2011                                                                                                                           Birding at Marymoor

The sighting of the day was fog, as in, that's mostly what we sighted. It didn't lift, really at all, until we got to the Rowing Club. Otherwise, things weren't too bad - no rain, no wind, not too cold. But gray, gray, gray, gray, and fairly birdless.

Highlights:

Cackling Goose               Several hundred on grass fields
Great Blue Heron             More than usual - 10?
Virginia Rail                     Responded to clapping
Wilson's Snipe                 1 at Rowing Club
Hairy Woodpecker          Male at Rowing Club
Cedar Waxwing              5-10, getting late for them
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1 near windmill
Pine Siskin                      Notably numerous - 200+

Matt had no owls early, but did hear a BEAVER. We also saw a MUSKRAT at the Rowing Club.

I made a late run to the condos at the northwest end of the lake (I have special permission to do quick surveys from there) to see if there was anything on the lake - it had been completely fogged in when we were at the lake platform. There were four adult BALD EAGLES visible, along with 12 PIED-BILLED GREBES and a COMMON MERGANSER male.

For the day, 52 species.

== Michael Hobbs


Pacific Wren on a Madrone Tree.  Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz


Pine Siskins in flight, showing their distinctive wing stripe.
Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz

Golden-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz

Golden-crowned Kinglet.  Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz

"Barbs and toenails".  Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz

Lincoln's Sparrow - photo by Ollie Oliver

Lincoln's Sparrow.  Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz

Cackling Geese in the fog.  Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz

Steller's Jay on the park office.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz

Muskrat at the Rowing Club north pond.  Photo by Dasha Gudalewicz

Male Hooded Merganser, 2011-11-25. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-naped Sapsucker, 2011-11-25.  Photo by Darrel DeNune

Possible Herring Gull x Glaucous-winged Gull, 2011-11-25.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for December 2, 2010                                                                                                                          Birding at Marymoor

We swam through rather thick fog for much of the morning.  As we walked the slough, it was pretty well impossible to see birds on the far shore.  At the lake we couldn't see beyond the docks.  But by the time we got to the East Meadow, the sun was shining and the skies were blue.  Not too cold.  Not a bad day, even if it was quiet at times.

Highlights:

Greater White-fronted Goose  Two at the far side of the weir
Wood Duck                            Still one drake hanging around
Virginia Rail                             Clapped from boardwalk - 4 answered
Killdeer                                   35 on grass fields - a lot for December
Western Gull                            1 in a mixed flock on grass fields early
Barn Owl                                 Seen as late as 7:10, with prey
Hairy Woodpecker                  East Meadow and Rowing Club
Yellow-rumped Warbler          2+ at Rowing Club
Evening Grosbeak                    Heard some over Big Cottonwood Forest

Our big misses today were Bald Eagle, Rock Pigeon, and Bushtit.

Grace & Ollie Oliver visited the park last Friday (which counts as "this" week).  They saw 4 species we didn't see today:

Snow Goose                      1 juvenile
Hermit Thrush                    1
Varied Thrush                    4
SWAMP SPARROW       1

 So, for the day, 57 species.  For the "week", 61 species.

For 2010, I think we're at 145, which is a dozen species fewer than last year, and would be the lowest year total since 2004 if we don't get several more.

== Michael


Fog

Bufflehead pair in fog


Song Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hairy Woodpecker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Witch Hazel

Adult Greater White-fronted Goose with Cackling Geese

About 1/3 of the Cackling Geese on two softball fields

Moss on the boardwalk

Dark-eyed Junco, 2010-11-26.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Swamp Sparrow, 2010-11-26.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Swamp Sparrow again.  It was in about the same location on 2010-11-26 as it had been on 2010-11-18.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for November 30, 2009

I made an impromptu trip out to Marymoor this morning.  It was interesting to do the loop solo for a change, instead of with a dozen people.  I missed the extra ears and eyes.  There was a heavy overcast, and a steady breeze.  No rain, but the air was damp.  The barometer was probably falling, and birds were scarce and hard to see.

Highlights:

Cackling Goose        1000-1500, none landing
Western Grebe         One on the lake
Green Heron            Hidden along east shore at Rowing Club
DUNLIN                 4 on floating dock seen from lake platform
Mew Gull                 About 1000 flew in at dawn to soccer fields
Hairy Woodpecker  South end of East Meadow
Winter Wren            Once again, singing at 2 locations

The Cackling Geese came over in about 10 flocks between 8:00 and 9:00

Dunlin are new for the year list.

Duck numbers remain absurdly low, with only a few Mallards, 4 Bufflehead and
one Hooded Merganser at the Rowing Club, a and a flyby small flock of
wigeon.  And no American Coots at all.

Oh - I should mention...  Water levels are high.  There's about 6" of water
over the slough trail on the way to the boardwalk, and about 3" of water
over the boardwalk in places.  No problem wearing tall rubber boots, but too
much water for ankle boots.

== Michael

UPDATE 12/1/2009:  There was a single BRANT with a flock of  Cackling and Canada Geese in the NE part of the park, near the baseball diamonds.  The geese flew out around 12:30.   I also had a NORTHERN SHRIKE.  A couple of Lincoln's Sparrows,  and four American Coots were the other species I had there today that I did not see Monday.

 

Lillian Reis photographed this Fox Sparrow, 2009-11-27

Some of the ~1000 Mew Gulls on the soccer fields

Large flocks of (mostly) Cackling Geese were overhead...

... for much of the morning

"Slate-colored" Dark-eyed Junco

Report for November 26, 2008

What a difference a week makes!  We had a glorious, bird-filled day today, in extreme contrast with last week.  It was cold and foggy to start, but the fog was thin and there was no wind.  The sun flirted with us for the first 3 hours before the fog finally burned off revealing pretty much cloudless blue skies.  Never really got warm, though.

The morning started with a Cooper's Hawk on the fence just as we got to the weir - as we were watching it, a Merlin flew overhead and landed on one of its favorite perches.  Those were two of the 6 species of raptor we had.  We had a Sharpie in the Cottonwood Forest, a Bald Eagle, and many sightings of  Red-tailed Hawk, including the very cooperative juvenile several times.

The bigger excitement was the BRANT goose with hundreds of CACKLING GEESE inside one of the baseball fields in the northeast corner of the park. What the heck was it doing there?  Congrats to Mark and Lee Crawford for predicting Brant as one of the "next birds for Marymoor" (I thought they were nuts when they nominated that one).

Highlights:

BRANT                            New bird for the park
Green Heron                     Juvenile at the Rowing Club
Northern Harrier               North end of the East Meadow
MERLIN                          Two sightings, one early, one late
Anna's Hummingbird         First sighting since late October
NORTHERN SHRIKE    One east of East Meadow, one at Rowing Club
Townsend's Warbler         One northeast of the mansion
Fox Sparrow                    Numerous, in large groups - maybe 20 overall
"Slate-colored" Junco        Female at Compost Piles

At the Rowing Club we had the 3 RIVER OTTERS again.

For the day, 56 species.

== Michael


Cooper's Hawk below the weir in the early morning fog

Male Purple Finch eating Oregon Ash seeds


Fox Sparrow photo by Ollie Oliver


Dark-eyed Juncos - male "Oregon" at left, female "Slate-colored" on right.
Photo by Ollie Oliver


Close-up of the female "Slate-colored" Dark-eyed Junco


Brant goose with Cackling Geese


Brant goose with Cackling Geese.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Brant goose with Cackling Geese.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


The photogenic juvenile Red-tailed Hawk near our cars once more


Ollie's photo of same


Female Hooded Merganser at the Rowing Club, with male Mallard


River Otter photo by Ollie Oliver, at the Rowing Club


Can you find the Wilson's Snipe?  It's right there, plain as day.  Really


Eastern Gray Squirrel near the mansion

Report for November 29, 2007   

It was a bit chilly, but the threatened showers didn't happen, and the fog burned off fairly quickly. It turned out to be a nice morning to be out, even if the birds were a bit quiet.

We had four species of goose from the parking lot before we even got started. There were 300-500 CACKLING, at least one GREATER WHITE-FRONTED, and then in a flyby of CANADAs, we had a lone juvenile SNOW GOOSE. The juvenile Tundra Swan, present the last two visits, was not seen, but a dog person said it had been there yesterday.

Besides the 4 geese, it was a good day for ducks, with 8 species, including 14 NORTHERN SHOVELER at the Rowing Club, at least 6 HOODED MERGANSER, a lone LESSER SCAUP, and a GADWALL. For some reason, Gadwall have become quite uncommon at Marymoor.

The best bird of the day was a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW with juncos at the Art Barn and maintenance building northeast of the mansion. That was our first WTSP of 2007, and one of the rare times we've seen one that wasn't with Golden-crowned Sparrows.

Other Highlights:

Cooper's Hawk Both and adult and a juvenile Merlin Brief view of bird flying north chased by a crow Hairy Woodpecker One on the far side of the slough at the lake platform Fox Sparrow Several nice looks Townsend's Warbler One NE of mansion Pine Siskin 100+

For the day, 55 species.

== Michael


Cackling Geese fly in at about 7:15 a.m.


White-throated Sparrow on the Maintenance Barn roof


Ollie Oliver's better photo of the White-throated Sparrow.

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Bird Sightings Week 48
November 26 - December 2*      *adjust by 1 day in leap years

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