Friends of Marymoor Park

Recent Bird Sightings

Report for February 10, 2019                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

It was bitterly cold, but sunny, when I arrived just after 8. Within an hour, clouds rolled in, and the temperature rose but stayed below freezing. Away from the slough, birding was very quiet. I quickly learned to look in any bare patches under trees, as that’s where the passerines were. In the first of those sunny bare patches was a SONG SPARROW puffed up spherically. It was asleep (which became apparent when it startled awake as I approached). In the second was an almost insensate BARRED OWL. It was almost certainly hypothermic and was very far gone. I didn’t really have anyway to help it, and I hoped that the bright sun would warm it. Unfortunately not; when I checked on it later, it had succumbed. I’m afraid many other birds have perished in the cold overnight.


  • Greater White-fronted Goose – lone adult NE of the mansion next to a picnic table in a small patch of bare grass
  • Northern Shoveler – male seen on lake – First of Year (FOY)
  • 11 species of duck total
  • Wilson’s Snipe – 5-7 below weir
  • Ring-billed Gull – one at lake
  • BARRED OWL – see note above – FOY
  • Northern Shrike – singing/calling from NE of Fields 7-8-9
  • Bushtit – flock of around 15 near stage
  • Varied Thrush – one flyover
  • American Goldfinch – 2 near start of boardwalk
  • Western Meadowlark – one under a tree near concert ticket booth
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – at least 2 at Rowing Club, one of which appeared to be a Myrtle x Audubon’s intergrade

For the day, 61 species, including seven species not seen last Thursday. For the year, adding Northern Shoveler and Barred Owl, we’re at 81 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Photo by Michael Hobbs

Photo by Michael Hobbs

Barred Owl.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Adult Greater White-fronted Goose near the mansion.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Pacific Wren near the windmill. Photo by Michael Hobbs

Photo by Michael Hobbs

Report for February 7, 2019                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

What a difference a week makes. Last week was spring, this week was the deepest depths of winter. Temps were in the upper teens to start, but with the sun and lack of wind, it did warm up to about the freeze by the time we were done. It was a gorgeous day, and very birdy.


    • Wood Duck – at least 7
    • Gadwall ~40
    • American Wigeon ~20 – First of Year (FOY)
    • Mallard – 35?
    • NORTHERN PINTAIL – 5 males below weir – FOY
    • Green-winged Teal ~35
    • Ring-necked Duck – male and 1-2 females – FOY
    • Lesser Scaup – 2 females seen pre-dawn – FOY
    • Bufflehead – maybe 20
    • Common Goldeneye – 3-4
    • Hooded Merganser ~14
    • Common Merganser ~8
  • Wilson’s Snipe – 3-4 below weir
  • California Gull – FOY
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – adult at Rowing Club – FOY
  • Cooper’s Hawk – adult at Pea Patch
  • WOODPECKERS – the same 4 species (Downy, Hairy, Pileated, Northern Flicker) that we’ve had every week for the last 8 weeks, and 10 of the last 12 weeks
  • HERMIT THRUSH – one near windmill – FOY
  • Varied Thrush - 2+ near mansion – FOY
  • SPARROWS, SPARROWS, SPARROWS (no unusual species, but high counts)
    • Spotted Towhee - 30+
    • Fox Sparrow – 40+ (easier to see than usual in the snow)
    • Song Sparrow - 50+
    • LINCOLN’S SPARROW – 1 below weir – FOY
    • White-crowned Sparrow – only 6 or so
    • Golden-crowned Sparrow – maybe 12-20
    • Dark-eyed Junco – 50+
  • Western Meadowlark – one on slough edge below weir, flew to Madrona tree
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – 1-2 at Rowing Club

It’s very clear that frozen water and fields in the Sammamish and Snohomish valleys have pushed ducks down to Lake Sammamish and the slough!

A late scan of the lake added HORNED GREBE, a very distant LOON, MEW GULL, and the RIVER OTTERS we’ve seen every week this year so far. Also, an most interesting, was a AMERICAN x EURASIAN HYBRID WIGEON, something never noted at Marymoor before, to my knowledge. The head was rufous with a buffy forehead like a Eurasian Wigeon, but the body was not gray, but rather brownish like that of an American Wigeon.

Some birds were singing, despite the cold. These included Anna’s Hummingbird, Black-capped Chickadee, Bewick’s Wren, House Finch, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, Dark-eyed Junco, and Red-winged Blackbird. Spring is still happening, an a frozen way.

Misses included Virginia Rail, Ring-billed Gull, Northern Shrike, Bushtit, and Marsh Wren.

For the day, 63 species + the wigeon hybrid. For the year, adding 9 species, we’re up to at least 79 species.

= Michael

Predawn at the Lake Platform.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Dawn, looking east.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

American Wigeon, with American Coot.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Frosty Killdeer in the slough.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Hooded Merganser.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Northern Pintails with Mallard.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Northern Pintail.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

American Coots.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Photo by Bob Asanoma

American Crow.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Sharp-shinned Hawk.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Pine Siskin.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Song Sparrow.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for January 31, 2019                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

Our last survey before the cross-quarter, Imbolc, halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, ~Feb. 2. What I’ve found is that this correlates pretty well with the time of year when many of our resident birds really begin to sing. On a very nice morning today, there was indeed a lot of singing. Some of the songs were, perhaps, half-formed, but it was singing nonetheless.  The first Indian Plum (aka Oso Berry) blossoms as well.


  • Wood Duck – Pair in slough near the lake
  • Green Heron – Seen a couple of times along the edge of the slough
  • Cooper’s Hawk – gorgeous and large adult, in tall tree near the lake
  • Barn Owl – Matt heard one shriek and snap its bill, long before sunrise
  • Western Screech-Owl – Matt heard one, also early morning, near the East Footbridge
  • Woodpeckers – nice looks at Downy, Hairy, Flicker, and Pileated – the same 4 species we’ve had the last 7 weeks now
  • Northern Shrike – seen in the Dog Meadow and again (presumed the same bird) near the lake, from the boardwalk!
  • Western Meadowlark – 9 seen at the north end of the Dog Meadow
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – two at the Rowing Club area

River Otters were seen at the end of the morning looking towards the lake from the Rowing Club dock

Singing birds included Anna’s Hummingbird, Black-capped Chickadee, Pacific Wren, Bewick’s Wren, European Starling, House Finch, Purple Finch, Fox Sparrow (I think; very brief), Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow (pugetensis song), Golden-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Red-winged Blackbird. I’m probably forgetting one or two more. Flickers were calling long and vigorously.

Twice we had very close looks of DOWNY and HAIRY WOODPECKERS sharing trees next to us. Great to have side-by-side comparison, followed by one-over-the-other comparison :)

Matt and I were there quite early and had beautiful looks of VENUS and the MOON very close together, with JUPITER just a little further away above and to the right.

Barn Owl, Western Meadowlark, and Yellow-rumped Warbler were new for us for 2019, bringing our year total to 69 species. Our day’s tally was 57 species.

== Michael Hobbs

From left to right, Venus, the moon, Jupiter.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Sunrise. Photo by Matt Bartels

Walking the slough, below the weir.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Green-winged Teal.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Female Hairy Woodpecker.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Blooming Indian Plum (a.k.a. Oso Berry).  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Mallards all in a row.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for January 24, 2019                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

We had steady mizzle for a long period early, but it gradually cleared. Temps in the 40’s; this winter is notable for not needing Hottie hand warmers. Also, virtually no flood waters the whole “winter”, such as we’ve had one. I think there are species missing/reduced because there just isn’t the need for those birds to hide out in the lowlands. Varied Thrush is exhibit A, but by no means the only one. Where are the Snipe?

All that is to say that today wasn’t very birdy. A few common species were singing up storms, so it wasn’t a QUIET morning, but there just weren’t very many birds, nor very many species.


  • Greater White-fronted Goose – Brian saw 2 with Cacklers. When we got there, we probably saw that same flock flying away - First of Year
  • Common Goldeneye – Pair COPULATING at weir! But only the two birds.
  • Common Merganser – only seen on a late scan of the lake
  • Ring-necked Pheasant – Seen flying near the heronry! The guy seems to have moved beyond the Pea Patch
  • COMMON LOON – two on lake seen on a late scan of the lake, near east shore
  • Green Heron – flew to Rowing Club ponds just as we were leaving – almost a miss
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl – one responded with two quick calls around 6:00 a.m., and then silence. Near East Footbridge
  • The same 4 woodpecker species we’ve had every week in 2019 so far. Still waiting on a sapsucker.
  • 5 River Otters – family group, also seen every week in 2019 so far

Singing birds included Anna’s Hummingbird, Brown Creeper, Bewick’s Wren, American Robin, Purple Finch, Song Sparrow, and Red-winged Blackbird. Common Goldeneye copulating. Great Blue Herons bringing nest materials to heronry.

Misses included Ring-necked Duck(not seen since 1st week of December), Greater Scaup (no scaup AT ALL this winter), Hooded Merganser, Ring-billed Gull, Cooper’s Hawk, and Bushtit.

For the day, just 51 species. For the year, we’re up to 66.

== Michael Hobbs

Male Belted Kingfisher.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Common Goldeneye.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

American Crow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Great Blue Heronry is getting active.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for January 17, 2018                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

It was warm, a bit breezy, and cloudy this morning, and we had a bit of mizzle & drizzle. Not bad weather, actually, and it was birdy for the first half of the morning.


  • Cackling Geese - a couple of thousand in flight predawn; 1000+ came back and landed
  • Virginia Rail - responded to clapping on boardwalk
  • Green Heron - Matt spotted a skulker north of the Rowing Club dock
  • Double-crested Cormorant -caught and swallowed a very large coastal cutthroat trout in slough
  • Common(?) Loon - one too far out to ID; probably Common
  • Western Screech-Owl - Matt heard one early
  • Northern Saw-Whet Owl - ditto
  • Merlin - near weir. Male, and not a "Black". Probably "Taiga"

For the day, 56 species.  For the year, we're up to 65 species.

- Michael Hobbs

Male Common Goldeneye.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Double-crested Cormorant eating a Coastal Cutthroat Trout.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Double-crested Cormorants.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

American Robin.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Spotted Towhee.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for January 10, 2019                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

While doing the walk, my car was broken into.  They smashed my passenger-side window and grabbed the tote bag that had my rain gear and a bunch of other little things.  Nothing of resale value.  Pain in the neck, and large expense for me.  It kind of ruined what was otherwise a very nice day.


  • Wilson's Snipe – Heard only, predawn, Matt only.  New for 2019
  • ICELAND "THAYER'S" GULL – on grass soccer fields with other gulls.  First of Year (FOY).  Pink legs. Bill small and peglike for a pink-legged gull, yellow with just a small red spot. Underwing black limited to just the primary tips. Matt said he was seeing the black only on the outer primary feathers on the wing top. First report from Marymoor since 2016.
  • Peregrine Falcon – Flyby over weir.  FOY. 
  • Pine Siskin – FOY
  • RIVER OTTER – 4 or 5 on lake

For the day, 54 species

== Michael Hobbs

Male Belted Kingfisher.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Busy heronry.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Great Blue Herons at nest site.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Green Heron on the beaver lodge.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Mallards.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Report for January 3, 2019                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

We had steady light rain (occasionally fading to drizzle) until maybe 9:30, but then the rain held off until we were done. Otherwise, it was pretty warm, and we mostly missed out on the gusty winds. So, not too bad (though not nearly as nice as New Years Day). As for birds, the day featured no surprises, but few disappointments either.


  • Cackling Goose – about 1000, but a very uniform flock
  • Wood Duck – pair in the slough
  • Common Goldeneye – female from Lake Platform – only 4th sighting of the winter, all of single birds!
  • Mew Gull – maybe 750 on grass soccer fields! Quite possibly a High Count for Marymoor
  • Ring-billed Gull – 2-3, first in six weeks
  • Ring-necked Pheasant – male persists at Pea Patch
  • Green Heron – *heard* at Rowing Club
  • Western Screech-Owl – Matt heard one early
  • Hairy Woodpecker – one seen very distantly across Dog Meadow
  • Pileated Woodpecker – one seen even more distantly west of Lake Platform
  • Northern Shrike – seen, again between Compost Piles and model airplane field; *might* have been 2

Misses included American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal (seen 1/1/19), Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser (seen 1/1/19), Wilson’s Snipe, and Lincoln’s Sparrow.

I visited the park on New Day, and besides the GWTE and HOME noted above, I also had VIRGINIA RAIL, PINE SISKIN, and AMERICAN GOLDFINCH. Hank Heiberg ebirded GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE on 1/2/19.

So today, we had 53 species. With my 5 additional species, plus Hank’s geese, the 2019 Marymoor list stands at 59 species. Not too bad a start for the New Year.

== Michael Hobbs

Pied-billed Grebe.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Common Merganser.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Bufflehead.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Ring-necked Pheasant in the Pea Patch.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Cackling Geese.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Red-breasted Nuthatch. Photos by Bob Asanoma

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

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