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Bird Sightings Week 49
December 3-9*

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Rarities for Week 49:

Brant 05-Dec-08 With Cacklers, 26-Nov and 05-Dec
Brant 03-Dec-09 With Cacklers in NE corner, 02-Dec, 03-Dec, 17-Dec
Trumpeter Swan 06-Dec-07 Four birds
Tundra Swan 06-Dec-07  
Dunlin 06-Dec-07  

Report for December 8, 2016                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

Cold settles down into the valleys on nights like last night. So dawn was COLD at Marymoor. The air was so dry that there were just a few little rosettes of frost on the windows of my car. Frost was heavy on the grasses of the meadows. The air was clear and frigid. The stars were bright. Temps dropped down to at most 20 degrees at sunrise. My hands still ache with cold, though the rest of me did pretty well. Birding was slow despite the almost-sunny morning, though it did pick up a bit at the end when it got up to 34 degrees.

Highlights:

Gr. White-fronted Goose                At least 4-5 with Cacklers
Cackling Goose                              Est. 1300 on grass fields
- ducks -                                        Seven species
Sharp-shinned Hawk                      One near Dog Area portapotties
Cooper’s Hawk                             1-2 birds
Killdeer                                          One near park entrance – first in 7 weeks
Northern Saw-whet Owl                1-2 heard by early birders
Red-breasted Sapsucker                Rowing Club – first in 6 weeks
Northern Shrike                             Adult in East Meadow
Common Raven                             Two flew across slough – 2nd week in a row
Varied Thrush                                1 at Rowing Club – First of Fall
OR.-CROWNED WARBLER      1 at East Kiosk – only 4th ever in December
Western Meadowlark                     3+, model airplane field, Compost Piles
coyotes                                          At least 2 pre-dawn

And we were able to sample the fresh-made mini donuts at Bear Creek Coffee in Lot D for the first (and definitely not the last) time.

For the day, 57 species.

== Michael Hobbs


Female Greater Scaup in the slough.  Based on eye color and facial pattern, the bird on the left is adult, while the bird on the right is juvenile.  Photo by Ollie Oliver
 


Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


A Great Blue Heron landed very close to the Sharp-shinned hawk.  The hawk merely glared at it.  Photo by Hugh Jennings


Adult Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Hugh Jennings


Golden-crowned Sparrow in the frost.   Photo by Ollie Oliver


Orange-crowned Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Orange-crowned Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Song Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Greater White-fronted Goose, adult, with Cackling Geese.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for December 3, 2015                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

We had wind and rain early, but both eased off a bit later. The disturbed weather kept the birds hidden and quiet, though, and even though conditions weren’t nearly as bad as I’d feared, the birding was pretty pathetic. For long stretches of the morning, it wasn’t just that we weren’t seeing anything new for the day – we weren’t seeing, or hearing, ANYTHING.

Highlights:

Cackling Goose              Large flock (750+) took a LONG time to decide to land
Wood Duck                   Pair in slough near Dog Central. First since October
Northern Pintail              Two, flyby, First of Fall
Green Heron                  Juvenile at Rowing Club pond again
Cooper’s Hawk             East Meadow, juvenile
Western Gull                  One that looked good for Western, First of Fall
Pileated Woodpecker     Flyby as we drove to Rowing Club
Northern Shrike              Juvenile on soccer goals north of fields 7-8-9
American Pipit                1-2, East Meadow, with one landing in Dog Meadow
Purple Finch                   2 in Oregon Ash at 2nd Dog Swim Beach,
                                              just 2nd since October

For today, just 47 species, which includes several seen only by one or two people.

== Michael Hobbs


Wood Duck pair.  Photo by Hugh Jennings


Cackling Geese just couldn't decide when or where to land...


...more swirling Cacklers.  Two photos by Bob Asanoma


Cackling Geese finally landed.  Photo by Bob Asanoma


Whitecaps on the lake mean very few birds.  Photo by Bob Asanoma


Just a portion of the dozens of crows that hung out along the east edge of the Dog Meadow for a bit.  Photo by Hugh Jennings


Male Hooded Merganser at the Rowing Club pond.  Photo by Ollie Oliver
(Did you spot the Green Heron in the background?)


Bewick's Wren.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Pacific Wren.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Pacific Wren.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for December 4, 2014                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

It was a fairly typical "nice" December day; cloudy and chilly, but only a hint of precipitation now and then.  Okay, maybe there were some periods of drizzle.  It was fairly birdy, in terms of there being a lot of birds to look at.  But rarities are, well, rare in December.

Highlights:

Northern Shoveler           About 10 feeding communally on the lake
- ducks spp. -                  All told, 10 species; good diversity for Marymoor
Horned Grebe                 One out on the lake
Cooper's Hawk               Both adult and juvenile
Barn Owl                         Early birders saw one perched, East Meadow firs
N. SAW-WHET OWL   Matt had 2-3 really early; one near park entrance seen
Red-breasted Sapsucker  Two, not together
AMERICAN KESTREL  Beautiful male seen again, on Viewing Mound
Purple Finch                     Some landed right next to us, in Oregon Ash tree

For the day, we managed 52 species, and really didn't miss any of the expected species except Common Goldeneye, Wilson's Snipe, and European Starling.

== Michael Hobbs


Male Ring-necked Duck.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Juvenile Cooper's Hawk.  Breast markings seem more typical for Sharp-shinned Hawk,  but rounded tail and the shape/color of the back of the head look better for Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Adult White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Brown Creeper.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Juvenile Mew Gull.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Pacific Wren.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


I counted 144 Pine Siskins in this flock.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Up close, note forked tails and yellow wing stripes on the Pine Siskins.
Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male American Kestrel, 2014-12-03.  Photo by Ollie Oliver.
We saw this same bird on Thursday as well, but Ollie's photos weren't quite as good.


Male Anna's Hummingbird, 2014-12-03.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Sometimes the best way to spot a Greater White-fronted Goose is to look for the orange legs.  Photo, 2014-12-03, by Ollie Oliver


Cackling Geese, 2014-12-03.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for December 5, 2013                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

More of this ridiculous frosty, dry weather. It was 20 DEGREES when we started this morning, and only just got to 31-32 degrees when we left at noon. There was no wind to clear the thin, high overcast, which instead thickened through the late morning. It made for a cold day, but manageably cold due to the still dryness. Ducks may have been assembled around the slough due to frozen ponds elsewhere; certainly the Rowing Club ponds were nothing but ice. The high numbers (12 species) of ducks made up for low numbers of passerines.

Highlights:

Greater White-fronted Goose   One with Cacklers on grass fields
TRUMPETER SWAN             4 flew silently overhead – First of the year
Wood Duck                             At least 1 pair
American Wigeon                     One female barely visible in slough
Northern Shoveler                    Several
Green-winged Teal                   At least 1 pair
Lesser Scaup                            A few seen late on lake
Pied-billed Grebe                      A late count on the lake: 20+
Horned Grebe                           Four seen late on lake
Cooper’s Hawk                        Maybe a Sharpie too
Pileated Woodpecker               One heard from Rowing Club
AMERICAN KESTREL          One on Field 9

For passerines, we managed to find at least 1 of many of the usual suspects, but nothing unusual. We were at Dog Central (maybe 9:00 a.m), and the list was already at 30 species before we got our first AMERICAN ROBIN. I doubt we had even 10 total; probably more like 6-8.

Our only previous winter sightings of AMERICAN KESTREL were all in the winter of ‘08/’09. A male was seen 11-Dec-08, a male on 01-Jan-09, a female on 08-Jan-09, and a pair on 15-Jan-09. It’s unclear how many individuals that represents, but regardless, it’s clear that this species is quite unusual in winter at Marymoor. We have no sightings from November or February.

A really pretty COYOTE, maybe the same one that was photographed so wonderfully last January, crossed the grass soccer fields right at 8:00 a.m. Matt also heard an AMERICAN BEAVER pre-dawn. There is a LOT of beaver activity (i.e. cutting down trees) at the park right now!

For the day, 53 species.  I believe we're at 157 species for 2013.

== Michael Hobbs


Beautiful, frosty sunrise.  Photo by Michael Hobbs


Trumpeter Swans.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Adult Double-crested Cormorant in the slough.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Female Northern Shoveler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Female Downy Woodpecker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Female American Kestrel.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Adult Greater White-fronted Goose with Cackling Geese.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Adult Cooper's Hawk, probably male based on small size.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male Anna's Hummingbird near Park Office feeders.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male Anna's Hummingbird near Park Office feeders.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male Ring-necked Ducks at the Rowing Club pond, 2013-12-03.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Wilson's Snipe at the Rowing Club pond, 2013-12-03.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for December 6, 2012                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

It was unrelentingly overcast today, with some drizzle, and a variable but stiffly annoying breeze. Still, with temps around 45 degrees, and no real rain, it wasn’t too bad. We had some good birding highlights, even if much of the day wasn’t terribly birdy.

Highlights:

Cackling Goose                Huge flocks overhead, with ~800 on the ground
Wood Duck                     Pair in slough
Northern Pintail                Flock of 8-10 overhead
PEREGRINE FALCON Adult bird, seen twice today (and once yesterday too)
Barn Owl                         Probably at least a couple of birds
Short-eared Owl              Great looks, kiting over model airplane field, after 7 a.m.
Northern Shrike               Two seen simultaneously, East and Dog Meadows
Pacific Wren                    Six noted – ties a high count
Purple Finch                     Five along slough
RED CROSSBILL          100+,  high in trees around mansion all morning

Except for one unidentified flyover woodpecker while we drove to the Rowing Club, we were without any kinds of woodpeckers at all. Not even a flicker.

Wednesday, however, Ollie Oliver had DOWNY and PILEATED WOODPECKERS and NORTHERN FLICKER, as well as a HORNED GREBE.

For the day, 54 species.

== Michael Hobbs


About 100 Red Crossbills.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Common Goldeneye pair in slough.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Ring-necked Duck pair in slough.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Two Great Blue Herons were standing atop nests at the heronry.  Unclear if they were defending territory, or doing a little maintenance.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Adult Peregrine Falcon launches herself off the top of a Doug Fir near the mansion.
 Photo by Ollie Oliver

Adult Peregrine Falcon in flight.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 2012-12-05.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Horned Grebe, 2012-12-05.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Pileated Woodpecker, 2012-12-05.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Hooded Merganser, 2012-12-05.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Red Crossbill, 2012-12-05.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red Crossbills in flight, 2012-12-05.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red Crossbills, 2012-12-05.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Red Crossbill, 2012-12-05.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Black-capped (left) and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, 2012-12-05.
Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-breasted Nuthatches at the park office feeders, 2012-12-05.
Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for December 8, 2011                                                                                                                           Birding at Marymoor

We were all shocked. The forecast was for patchy morning ground fog, and Marymoor is *always* one of those patches. But not today. Instead, we had high overcast and a bit of a chilly breeze, but otherwise excellent weather. And it was birdy.  It was also an amazing group.  Augmented by three who just graduated (congratulations Scott, Paula, and Phyllis), there were seven Seattle Audubon Master Birders amongst the 12 of us!

Highlights:

Greater White-fronted Goose   1 adult with Cacklers
Cackling Goose                        Huge flock on grass soccer fields
Wood Duck                             2 pair? (maybe only 1 pair seen twice) on slough
Green-winged Teal                   First of fall - male at Rowing Club
Common Goldeneye                 Especially numerous (dozen or more)
Barn Owl                                 Nice looks as late as 7:15
Hairy Woodpecker                  Male near park office
Northern Shrike                       Fields 7-8-9 after 8:00 a.m.
Common Raven                       1-2, a couple of sightings
American Pipit                         1 flew over soccer fields
Yellow.-rumped Warbler         Several at Rowing Club
Red-winged Blackbird             30+ at Rowing Club (all males?)
Pine Siskin                               Many great looks at large flocks

We couldn't turn up any Common Redpolls, despite the Pine Siskins being unusually cooperative.

For the day, 59 species. I had a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK near the windmill yesterday, to make at least 60 species for the week.

== Michael Hobbs


American Crow eating a fish below the weir.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Wood Duck near the weir.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Common Goldeneye pair.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Common Raven.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-tailed Hawk.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Red-tailed Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Green-winged Teal at Rowing Club pond.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Red-winged Blackbirds at Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for December 9, 2010                                                                                                                          Birding at Marymoor

The most amazing thing about this morning was that after about 8:15, it essentially didn't rain at all.  We even had sunshine for a few moments.  We were all prepared for and/or dreading the worst, and were very pleasantly relieved.  Given the hard rain all night, it was quite a surprise.

There were a fair number o birds to look through today, too, but it was mostly the birds we expect to see.

Highlights:

Wood Duck                1 male in slough
Northern Pintail           2 flocks overhead - first of 2010
Green Heron               At Rowing Club pond
Bald Eagle                   4 adults
Killdeer                       Not so common in December
Anna's Hummingbird   At park office - first since October
Northern Shrike          One east of East Meadow
Purple Finch                Some good looks, heard more

We managed 57 species today, all together, though nobody saw them all...

== Michael


Common Goldeneye pair.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Female and male Purple Finch eating Oregon Ash seeds.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male and 3 female Common Goldeneye.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Canada Geese.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Great Blue Heron at the Compost Piles.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hooded Merganser female at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hooded Merganser female at the Rowing Club.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Hawthorn Berries.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Frost, 2010-12-04.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Report for December 3, 2009

What a glorious day to be out.  Even an hour before sunrise, the full moon, shining through thin overcast onto frosty fields, made it bright enough to read.  And it was frosty - 28 degrees at 7:30.  We had to deal with some fog from 7:30 until about 8:00, but then it cleared off nicely, leaving us with a mostly windless day with some sun, and crisp, clear air. It wasn't very birdy early, but with a large group of birders (18), we managed to find quite a bit by the end.  Along the way, we had some nice
looks at a few birds as well.

Highlights:

We had a flock of about 500 CACKLING GEESE, comprised of several subspecies, inside one of the baseball diamonds in the NE corner of the park.  Amongst them were two GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, and probably the same BRANT I saw yesterday.

Matt, Natalie, and Mark saw three (presumed) TRUMPETER SWANS fly overhead.

We had good (for this winter) duck diversity, if not high numbers, with 1 WOOD DUCK, a few AMERICAN WIGEON, MALLARDS, a single female GREEN-WINGED TEAL, four BUFFLEHEAD, three  COMMON GOLDENEYE flying, three HOODED MERGANSER, one or more male COMMON MERGANSER flying,   Still, pathetically low numbers.

The GREEN HERON was again tucked in along the east edge of the Rowing Club pond.

We had three different COOPER'S HAWKS, two adults and one juvenile.

A MERLIN streaked across the river at Dog Central and flew though trees loaded with robins.  Later we saw it fly across the Dog Meadow heading east.

We had one HAIRY WOODPECKER in an ash tree.

We had a not-terribly-cooperative NORTHERN SHRIKE in the East Meadow, which gave us a few views.

A COMMON RAVEN was being harassed by crows NE of the mansion.

We also had a RIVER OTTER well out on the lake.

For the day, 59 species, though that number is somewhat inflated by birds
seen only by one or two of the 18 of us.

== Michael

 

Frosty East Meadow, 7:27 a.m.

The Merlin briefly landed in a distant cottonwood

The clouds, the moon, the trees, and the frost

The moon, a bit past full, setting around 8:30 a.m.

Hairy Woodpecker high in an Oregon Ash tree

Lillian Reis' photo of a Downy Woodpecker

American Coot from the lake platform

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk, seen from the boardwalk

Song Sparrow at the Compost Piles

Bewick's Wren at the Compost Piles.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Brant goose with Cackling Geese

Ollie Oliver got a little closer for his nice shot

Ollie's photo of an adult Greater White-fronted Goose with Cackling Geese

Juvenile White-crowned Sparrows, from front and back.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Anna's Hummingbird in the Pea Patch

Ollie's photo of same

Adult Cooper's Hawk next to the Pea Patch

Vexing gull. Almost looks like a Western Gull.  The head is a bit smudgy, though, and the mantle isn't that dark.  Probably at least mostly a Western, though it may have a Glaucous-winged  ancestor somewhere...

Report for December 4, 2008

Our first December outing was chilly, but manageable.  We were under the fog early on, and it burned off in only a few hours, leaving us under glorious sunshine.  The only odd thing was the paucity of birds.  What we were mainly missing were passerines.  What we did have today, that we've been mostly missing this winter, were ducks.

Highlights:

There was one SNOW GOOSE with a hundred or so CACKLING GEESE in the grass/gravel parking lot north of the grass soccer fields.  We had many huge flocks of mainly Cacklers, but some CANADAs, flying overhead most of the morning.  Three goose day.

For ducks, we had two male WOOD DUCKS, which are not at all common in December at Marymoor.  We had a pair of AMERICAN WIGEON at the north end of the lake, and later in the slough.  Quite a few MALLARDS, of course.  A single male RING-NECKED DUCK at the Rowing Club pond, lots of BUFFLEHEAD everywhere, and a lone female COMMON GOLDENEYE near the windmill, three female HOODED MERGANSERS also at the Rowing Club pond, and a flyby male COMMON MERGANSER.  Eight species, though the total number of ducks was only about 50 individuals.

The Rowing Club was really the place to be, with a GREEN HERON and quite a few WILSON'S SNIPE. 

Matt and Scott had a BARN OWL early over the East Meadow, and later we had  two HAIRY WOODPECKERS at the north end of the meadow.  The NORTHERN SHRIKE was seen there, as well as near the first dog swim area *and* north of fields 7-8-9.  It was very active today.

Three RIVER OTTERS were seen a few times in the slough.

For the day, 51 species.

== Michael


The weir under fog

Pair of adult Bald Eagles


Ollie's photo of a small Cooper's Hawk


Northern Shrike from the Compost Piles


Ollie's photo of a Dark-eyed Junco at the Compost Piles


Snow Goose, with Cacklers (foreground) and Canadas (background)


"Sooty" Fox Sparrow


Ollie's photo of Killdeer in Lot B


Ollie returned to Lot B for a closer photo of the Snow Goose


Male Ring-necked Duck at the Rowing Club

Report for December 6, 2007   

We had a really interesting day at Marymoor today. Water is high, and water birds were all around. The slough path to the boardwalk is blocked by deep water. A dozen of us had fun under mostly cloudy skies that occasionally dripped tiny amounts of water on us. We had a good half-hour of almost sunshine, followed by increasing gloom and chill. But the birds kept us awake.

Highlights:

The juvenile TUNDRA SWAN has taken up residence in a large pond on the grass & gravel parking lot just north of the grass soccer fields. Also enjoying the pond (it's a BIG puddle) were MALLARD, GADWALL, AMERICAN WIGEON, BUFFLEHEAD, geese, and gulls.

We also had four adult swans fly north over the compost piles, and based on their large size and looooong necks, Brian Bell and I concluded they were TRUMPETER SWANS. (Thanks Knut, for spotting them)

The geese arrived late. The first flock came in and quickly left. It appeared to be mostly CACKLING GOOSE with one (presumably the same as previous weeks) juvenile SNOW GOOSE.

More geese came in while we were admiring the Tundra Swan, round about nearly noon. In all, I think about 500 Cacklers came in, with no more than 50 Canadas. Among the late arrivals was one GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE.

Other ducks seen today were: GREATER & LESSER SCAUP, COMMON GOLDENEYE, COMMON & HOODED MERGANSER, and NORTHERN SHOVELER (at the Rowing Club). So just from swans, geese, and ducks, we were at 16 species.

Other highlights:

OSPREY WOW - circled over east meadow, flew south Sharp-shinned Hawk One bird flying towards the lake Townsend's Warbler Nice male just as we were leaving the Rowing Club Purple Finch Distant views from Cottonwood Forest. Close views at Rowing Club.

After the walk, Brian and I went over the lakeside cabana to try to get a positive ID on the scaup (both were present). We added a single HORNED GREBE and a flock of 23 DUNLIN.

For the day, 61 species. Not bad for December.

== Michael


A late Osprey, high over the East Meadow

Northern Shoveler and Hooded Merganser at Rowing Club


23 Dunlin over Lake Sammamish


Dunlin coming in for a landing on one of the docks.

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Bird Sightings Week 49
December 3-9*      *adjust by 1 day in leap years

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