Friends of Marymoor Park

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Bird Sightings Week 50
December 10-16*

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Rarities for Week 50:

Trumpeter Swan 11-Dec-08 65 birds
Swamp Sparrow 16-Dec-10 Two birds, different locations

Report for December 15, 2016                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

A remarkably nice day, with temps hovering around the freeze, almost no breeze at all, and a thin blanket of high clouds that occasionally showed blue. It gave us comfortable conditions and good light. The geese dominated the scene, but there was more to see too.

Highlights:

Gr. Wh.-fronted Goose             Two with Cackling Geese
Snow Goose                             One found by people exiting the park to the NE
CACKLING GOOSE              2000+, with lots of movement.
                                                 Mostly staying on grassy fields
Canada Goose                          100+ only
American Wigeon                      Flock of ~35 in slough below weir
                                                 Highish count for Marymoor
- Nine species of duck-
Bald Eagle                                 Adult eating coot along slough;
                                                 2nd came in, chase ensued
Sharp-shinned Hawk                 Juvenile along boardwalk
Great Horned Owl                     Matt heard early, near mansion
Northern Saw-whet Owl            Matt glimpsed early, south of East Meadow
Pileated Woodpecker                1 heard, glimpsed, near mansion just after 8
MERLIN                                  1 on fir above mansion just after 8
Northern Shrike                         E and SE of East Meadow today
Yellow-rumped Warbler            A handful of “Audubon’s” about
Western Meadowlark                ~12 near model airplane field

The CACKLING GEESE were amazing, with huge flocks flying in and landing right around 8:00 a.m. Later, they were split into 2-4 flocks on the fields, and when spooked, they’d rearrange themselves. So they were a constant presence in the air and on the ground.

We also saw 2 COYOTE on the far side of the slough. Matt saw American Beaver pre-dawn near the lake platform.

For the day, 60 species.

== Michael Hobbs


Merlin.  Photo by Ollie Oliver
Green-winged Teal.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


One of the two Coyotes.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Song Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Bald Eagle eating an American Coot.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Adult Northern Shrike.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Can you find the two Greater White-fronted Geese?  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Part of the large flock of Amerian Wigeon.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male Common Goldeneye.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male Downy Woodpecker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male Downy Woodpecker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for December 10, 2015                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

Not the nicest day for birding. At least the thunder and lightening that Matt walked through in the early pre-dawn didn’t stick around. Instead, we got a little of everything, including a moment when we could see our shadows. But mostly it was some combination of dark overcast, paler overcast, gusty winds, rain, and pleasant. Very changeable, and rarely pleasant. Rarely birdy too.

The park is also significantly flooded. There was nearly a foot of water over the trail as we approached the boardwalk, and zero to six inches of water over the boardwalk. There was about 15 inches of water leading to the Rowing Club dock. As I was wearing 15 inch boots, I only got close before deciding there wasn’t much purpose in going all the way.

Highlights:

Cackling Goose                   Some moderately large flocks, never landed.
Common Goldeneye            1  male in slough – First of Fall
Cooper’s Hawk                   Adult and juvenile as we started the walk, calling
Barn Owl                             Matt saw one about 6:00 a.m. from Viewing Mound
Red-breasted Sapsucker      One NE of mansion
Northern Shrike                   Juvenile on soccer goals, north of fields 7-8-9
Bushtit                                  Flock in willows in the middle of slough below weir
Western Meadowlark           2 near model airplane field early,
                                            N of Viewing Mound later

Matt had COYOTE and AMERICAN BEAVER in his pre-dawn walk.

For the day, just 45 species. CACKLING GEESE were our only geese, MALLARD were the only dabbling ducks, we managed to count 3 species of gulls in some large flocks but might have missed others as the flock was VERY flighty due to a Bald Eagle, and HOUSE FINCH was our only finch.

Remarkably, I heard no real complaints from the 15 birders. It wasn’t cold (47 degrees), so it wasn’t miserable. And we did see some things.

== Michael Hobbs


Great Blue Heron.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

High water far below the weir.  Photo by Bob Asanoma


Mallard pair.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Hooded Mergansers.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


American Coots.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male Common Goldeneye.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


High water approaching the boardwalk.  Photo by Hugh Jennings


High water over the boardwalk.  Photo by Bob Asanoma


Chestnut-backed Chickadee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Black-capped Chickadee.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Pied-billed Grebe.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Pied-billed Grebe.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for December 11, 2014                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

The weather wasn’t horrible. It was dark. It was occasionally gusty. We got our first drops of rain right at our 8:00 a.m. start time, it was raining when we left the Rowing Club at noon, and it was raining for much of the time in between. It wasn’t horrible, not really. But after about 9:30, it was QUIET. Most of the birding highlights involved birds flying overhead, as if in search of a safe haven.

Highlights:

SNOW GOOSE              One with a small flock of Cacklers overhead
American Wigeon             Large flock passed overhead
Northern Pintail                 Large flock passed overhead
Cooper’s Hawk                Several sightings
Virginia Rail                      Heard from boardwalk
California Gull                   First in a month
Barn Owl                          Nice looks, East Meadow, well after 7:00 a.m.
N. SAW-WHET OWL    Matt had 1 in Snag Row, 1 from boardwalk, before 6 American Kestrel              Male between Viewing Mound and model airplane field
MERLIN                          Perched atop fir NE of mansion
Northern Shrike                Juvenile north of Fields 7-8-9

Notable were the misses today: Ring-billed Gull, Northern Flicker, and Steller’s Jay.

And today’s near-misses: Spotted Towhee not *seen* until the Rowing Club. Ditto for Song Sparrow, though both had been heard once or twice. European Starling reported only by Ollie Oliver. House Finch and Red-breasted Nuthatch only heard by Matt.

For the day, 54 species, which isn’t a horrible total.

== Michael Hobbs


Northern Saw-whet Owl.  Photo by Matt Bartels


Northern Saw-whet Owl.  Photo by Matt Bartels


Northern Saw-whet Owl.  Photo by Matt Bartels


Adult Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


American Wigeon.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Northern Pintail.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Northern Pintail.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Juvenile Northern Shrike.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Merlin.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for December 12, 2013                                                                                                                     Birding at Marymoor

It was froggy this morning. Hmm. I guess that portmanteau of frosty and foggy doesn’t work very well. Fosty? Anyway, it was 29 degrees and foggy at 8:00 a.m., and the fog didn’t lift until the skies clouded over above and the wind picked up, around 10:30. Even though the temps (29-39) were a lot warmer than last week (20-32), it felt way colder today, with the damp cold and the late breeze. With the fog, we managed to completely miss the few minutes of sunshine that some people had. I think some of the birds few uphill to escape the cold, damp fog...

Highlights:

Gr. White-fronted Goose One with Cacklers
Cackling Goose              Three flocks on the grass fields; 950-1000 birds
TRUMPETER SWAN   Single juvenile on lake (confirmed from cabana late)
Cooper’s Hawk             Adult hunting Killdeer and Green-winged Teal near slough
Virginia Rail                    One called spontaneously near Lake Platform
Wilson’s Snipe               Two flew out of slough, just downstream of the weir
Purple Finch                   One female

That’s about it for highlights. Not terribly exciting, actually.

There have been some species notably absent recently. Scaup have been unusually scarce, though we might have had a pair today. Gulls have been almost completely absent throughout this cold spell, with only a few Glaucous-winged Gulls present, and at most a flyover of a black-wing-tipped gull or two. We haven’t had a Barn Owl since late October, and have only had one glimpse of what may have been a Short-eared Owl all fall/winter so far. Our last Northern Shrike was three weeks ago. The most surprising has been a complete lack of White-crowned Sparrows, with only one sighing since mid-October; they’re usually a near-certainty at this time of year. And finches of all kinds have been very, very hard to find. We’ve only managed three sightings each for Purple Finch and American Goldfinch since October, House Finch numbers have been very low, and Pine Siskins have been absent altogether.

I did manage a couple of late sightings – Hooded Merganser at the lake, and American Wigeon in the slough at the north end of the park, to get our day total teetering right at 50 species.

== Michael Hobbs


Gadwall pair near the weir.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Adult Glaucous-winged x Western Gull hybrid at the weir.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Golden-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Juvenile Trumpeter Swan.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Juvenile Snow Goose, 2013-12-09.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Adult Snow Goose, 2013-12-09.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Snow Geese, 2013-12-09.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Snow Geese, 2013-12-09.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Report for December 13, 2012                                                                                                                             Birding at Marymoor

It was overcast, but with no precipitation after 7:00 a.m., and no wind, and fairly warm, so it made for a pleasant December outing. Nothing much really unusual showed up. We did pretty well, especially given that everybody’s minds seemed to be on CBCs, travel, holidays, and other things today :)

Highlights:

There were 1200-1500 CACKLING GEESE that spent the day on the grass soccer fields. At one point, an adult BALD EAGLE flew NW from down near the lake, passing over the fields. All the geese took off, but the eagle seemed not to notice them at all. The flock also contained four GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE.

We had one WESTERN GREBE well out on the lake. They’re much more prevalent at Lake Samm State Park.

After three straight weeks without a Coop, and two weeks without a Sharpie, we had at least 3-4 accipiters today, with both SHARP-SHINNED and COOPER’S HAWK represented.

AMERICAN COOTS in the slough numbered 80-100, which is the most we’ve had at the park since April of 2007. The last time I recorded more than 25 birds was in November, 2009, where I noted 50.

We managed 4 species of WOODPECKERS, with all of the usuals except Pileated.

We had 1-2 VARIED THRUSH amongst the numerous Robins near the mansion.

RED CROSSBILLS were again numerous around the mansion area, and at the Rowing Club. My estimate of 25 was probably conservative. PINE SISKINS were very numerous, but the relatively few flocks that landed close to us did not appear to contain any redpolls.

At the Rowing Club, there was one TURTLE (a RED-EARED SLIDER) pulled out on a log, only the second time I’ve noted a turtle in December.

Big misses for the day included Ring-billed Gull (though none of the gull flocks landed for our perusal), Northern Shrike (just the 2nd time this winter we’ve missed them), Marsh Wren, Red-winged Blackbird, and Purple Finch.

Even so, we managed 56 species. That doesn’t include a “large owl” (probably Great Horned) that Matt had early, nor the possible Northern Saw-whet Owls that teased Matt and Josh separately in the pre-dawn. (We did have at least 2 BARN OWLS though).

== Michael Hobbs


Juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male House Finch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Dark-eyed Junco.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Mule deer buck swam across the lake. Photo by Hugh Jennings

Mule deer buck swam across the lake. Photo by Ollie Oliver

Greater White-fronted Geese with Cackling Geese.
Christmas Bird Count tip:  count the orange legs and divide by two.
Photo by Ollie Oliver

Northern Flicker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Bufflehead.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Female Hairy Woodpecker.

Interesting clouds to the west

Sunlit snowy Cascade Mountains to the east

Report for December 15, 2011                                                                                                                           Birding at Marymoor

It was gray and intermittently drizzly today, but really not too bad, though more than a touch dark. Birds came and went, but it wasn't terribly birdy. We did have a good day for ducks: 8 species, which is good at Marymoor.

Highlights:

Cackling Goose           Maybe 1000 - awesome
Wood Duck                Pair(?) flew up slough
Common Goldeneye    All over the slough
Common Merganser    At least 3 males
OSPREY                    1 flew north from lake ~8:15
Barn Owl                     Early viewers had a couple of great looks
Hairy Woodpecker      1 near mansion
Pileated Woodpecker  1 at Rowing Club
Northern Shrike           One north of fields 7-8-9
Purple Finch                Some nice looks

This was our latest date for OSPREY, and just our 2nd December sighting ever. Previous late dates: 2007-12-06, 2003-11-26, 2005-11-02. We've also had 4 October sightings.

There were also 2-4 RIVER OTTERS on the lake.

For the day, 55 species.

== Michael Hobbs
 


Mew Gulls.  Photo by Ollie Oliver
Some of the hundreds of Cackling Geese.  Photo by Ollie Oliver


Male Purple Finch.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

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

Report for December 16, 2010                                                                                                                          Birding at Marymoor

The rain stopped by 7:30 a.m., so we had a nice morning with blotchy overcast skies.  Not too cold.  No wind.  Couldn't ask for much better.

The park is substantially flooded.  Flooding begins when the water is just over 4' at the gauge.  Currently, it's about at 6.7', so there's a large part of the park under 2 1/2 feet of water.  We could get no further than Dog Central on the slough trail, and only to the footbridge on the east side trail.  Much of the Dog Meadow is flooded and closed off, and it was filled with ducks, geese, and gulls.  There's flooding in the grass/gravel parking lot, in the Pea Patch, and in the Pet Memorial Garden as well.   We could get to the Rowing Club building, but not to their dock.  So we were able to bird only about 1/2 of the slough and none of the lake.

Best birds were a SWAMP SPARROW in the same place it's been seen twice mid-November - about 100-150 yards downstream of the weir.  Then we had a SECOND SWAMP SPARROW that was calling from the middle of the flooded portion of the Dog Meadow.  It was more brightly marked than the first.  So 3 of our 8 Swamp Sparrow sightings ever have been this fall.

Other highlights:

Greater White-fronted Goose    2 in the flooded parking lot
Green Heron                             Still at the Rowing Club pond
Northern Shrike                        Juvenile east of East Meadow
Townsend's Warbler                 Near concert stage
Evening Grosbeak                    1 heard flying overhead

We had 8 species of duck overall, including GADWALL, NORTHERN SHOVELER, AMERICAN WIGEON, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL that were hanging out on the ponds in the Dog Meadow with the MALLARDS.

We had 55 species for the day - not bad considering we couldn't bird about 1/3 of our route.  I had 3 more species yesterday - Ring-necked Duck, Western Gull, and Brown Creeper, so 58 species for the week.

== Michael
 


Pine Siskin

Northern Shoveler on one of the huge puddles in the Dog Meadow


Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Swamp Sparrow in the Dog Meadow

Greater White-fronted Geese.  Photo by Lillian Reis

Female Common Merganser

Flooded boardwalk and lake platform from lake

Adult Bald Eagle

Fungi on an alder snag.  This fungus shows just days or weeks before the snag falls.
Photo by Hugh Jennings

Drowned Long-tailed (?) Vole.  I saw three of these, and surely there were many more
2010-12-15

Mew Gulls, 2010-12-15

Killdeer, 2010-12-15

American Wigeon with Mew Gulls, 2010-12-15

Report for December 10, 2009

What a frosty gem of a day.  It was only TEN DEGREES at 8AM, but the sun was shining, there was no fog except the merest wisps over the slough, and it was windless.  We were "shakin' our little HOTTiES" to stay warm, but the sun and the abundant birds helped too.

It seemed there were birds everywhere for most of the morning.  Nothing terribly rare, but, for example, the first grove of trees we passed had about 20 Dark-eyed Juncos, a good-sized handful of Chestnut-backed Chicadees, a few Black-capped Chickadees, fluttering Golden-crowned Kinglets with at least one Ruby-crowned, two Red-breasted Nuthatches, a Brown Creeper, and a Bewick's Wren.  And that was just the first grove of trees!

Sparrows galore.  Five woodpecker species, four finch species, thirteen species of ducks and geese...

Highlights:

Wood Duck                 3 brief sightings amongst us
MERLIN                     Very dark bird landed in Snag Row
Virginia Rail                  SEEN from the lake platform
Townsend's Warbler     One near mansion

Lynne surprised us by delivering hot cocoa and cinnamon-raisin bread at about noon.  Thanks, Lynne!

After we were done, I decided to walk from the model airplane field out across the Connector Trail and down the East Lake Sammamish Trail to the lake viewpoint at 187th Ave.  Along the way I found:

Dark-eyed Junco       Leucistic bird with white head
California Quail         Near Redmond Storage
Winter Wren             Ticking along the trail
House Sparrow         Near 187th - no reports since Oct.

On the lake were more Wood Ducks, some Common Merganser, and one Bufflehead.

Surprisingly, we couldn't turn up any Mew Gulls, owls, kingfisher, or shrike.  But that was about all we missed.

Between the main walk and my jaunt down the trail, the total tally was 61 species!

== Michael

 

Mt. Rainier from the model airplane field, 7:45AM

Pied-billed Grebe in the misty slough

Ollie Oliver's portrait of a Bushtit

Dark eye indicates male

Golden-crowned Sparrows

Hugh Jennings got this great shot of the Merlin at the east end of Snag Row

Hugh Jennings got great photos of hoar frost on the dock railing

This one of Hugh's was the frost on the boardwalk railing

Partially leucistic Dark-eyed Junco near the new shops

Another shot showing the other side of the head

Three Northern Shovelers.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Red-breasted Sapsucker.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Townsend's Warbler.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

... and away.  Photo by Ollie Oliver

Male Downy Woodpecker, 2009-12-04.  Photo by Lillian Reis

American Robin eating haws from a European Hawthorn, 2009-12-05.
Photo by Brian Dobbins

Report for December 11, 2008

A mild. windless morning today.  Not so many small birds, but still a great day of birding.  There were, I believe, 15 birders.

Highlights:

The early birders had BARN OWL at two locations, and a NORTHERN HARRIER.

As we gathered at 8:00, huge flocks of (primarily) CACKLING GEESE flew overhead, all looking for a place to land, then deciding not to stop at Marymoor.  My estimate is 2000 geese, by far the most we've had of that species ever.  There were probably a dozen large flocks, often multiple flocks overhead at once, plus countless small flocks of ~20.  Late in the morning, Matt found some on the ground in the park, amongst which was a single GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE.

Nearing 9:00 a.m., a flock of 10 TRUMPETER SWANS flew overhead, towards Lake Sammamish  Minutes later, another flock of 41+ flew past, followed by a flock of 14, for a total of at least 65 SWANS!

Soon after, a raptor was spotted in Snag Row.  Distant looks were inconclusive, so we hurried closer.  While we were on the chase, a NORTHERN SHRIKE landed in Snag Row a dozen trees west of the raptor.  The raptor was finally positively identified as a juvenile PEREGRINE FALCON, and it then flew strongly to the south.

At the south end of the Dog Meadow, we had a small accipiter which we puzzled over.  Several field marks indicated COOPER'S, but the overall proportions looked more like Sharpie.  Shoopers? Carpie?  We decided 85% confidence on Cooper's and left it at that.  On reviewing photos, it appears to be the same bird that we confidently called a Cooper's the week before.

Lots of great looks at PURPLE FINCH today, working the few Oregon Ash trees
that still have seeds (most seeds came down in the big blow a few weeks back).

We found a very nice male AMERICAN KESTREL that seemed to have an ffinity for the corners of soccer goals - it roamed the whole of the grass soccer field area, mostly landing only on the corner posts.

The picnic shelter SE of the mansion is surrounded by conifers, and when we stopped there, they were hopping.  A flock of GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS caught our eyes first, but they were quickly followed by a flock of BUSHTITS.  Next up were two BROWN CREEPER.  We managed to find one or two CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES, a RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET, and a TOWNSEND'S WARBLER.

I had to leave early, so I raced over to the Rowing Club ahead of the others, and I'm afraid I had the better of it.  I was greeted by two RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKERS, then our only flock of PINE SISKIN for the day.  The pond held two WILSON'S SNIPE, a drake RING-NECKED DUCK, and a couple of  female HOODED MERGANSERS.  From the Rowing Club dock, I caught sight of the  only AMERICAN COOT and COMMON GOLDENEYE of the day, one each.  Finally, as I got to the car, I was able to spot a HOUSE SPARROW across the street.

For the day, 54 species.

= Michael


Golden-crowned Sparrow

Ollie Oliver's photo of a Wilson's Snipe, a bit below the weir


Peregrine Falcon in Snag Row


You can see the wings are about as long as the tail, and you can see the black "helmet" on the head, leaving the ear area light-colored.


American Kestrel on a soccer goal post


Ollie snapped this one of the kestrel in flight


Ollie's photograph shows it to be a nice adult male kestrel


Ollie's photo of Northern Harrier

Okay - maybe I'm getting carried away.  But there are so many different
(mostly) photogenic fungi and mushrooms at Marymoor

Report for December 13, 2007   

The morning started dark and cloudy, but the rain held off for the first couple of hours. Then it stopped holding off. Between about 10:30 and noon, the rain slowly grew in intensity. It wasn't exactly pouring, even when we left, but I was more than damp.

The birds were somewhat scarce, and often hard to see in the dim light. Let us be thankful that, after next week, the days will be getting longer again!

Despite the rain, I made the executive decision to trudge over to the Velodrome, where we found the large flock of CACKLING GEESE, mixed with enough CANADAs to get a good size comparison. There was also an adult GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE amongst them.

Other highlights:

SWANS                       A flock of 17, flying south, probably Trumpeters
Northern Pintail             Flock(s) early (before 8:00), flying south - 200+
Green-winged Teal        1 male at the Rowing Club - few so far this fall
Ring-necked Duck        3 males at RC - First of Fall - where've they been
Bufflehead                     LOTS at the lake - 75+
Barn Owl                      Matt had one very early at the windmill
Hairy Woodpecker       Male across the slough from the windmill
Townsend's Warbler     One or two NE of the mansion
Western Meadowlark   One at the East Meadow

We had a few birds that cooperated - a PURPLE FINCH that landed right above our heads, a GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET at about 10 feet, and a BROWN CREEPER that worked the bottom 5 feet of the same tree for several minutes.

For the day, a surprisingly high count of 56 species.

== Michael


OK - so the view of the swans was distant.  Still cool.

The cooperative Purple Finch at the 2nd dog swim beach


Male Hooded Merganser in the slough, 3rd dog swim beach


American Coots in the slough


Male Spotted Towhee at the Compost Piles

Female Spotted Towhee at the Compost Piles.  Photo by Emmanuel Miranda-Steiner.

Rock Pigeons

I realized I had no photos of Rock Pigeons

Male Green-winged Teal with Mallard female in the rain at the Rowing Club

Two of three male Ring-necked Ducks in the rain at the Rowing Club

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Bird Sightings Week 50
December 10-16*     *adjust by 1 day in leap years

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