Friends of Marymoor Park

Recent Bird Sightings

Report for December 6, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

It was a gorgeous day; though it dawned a bitter 23 degrees, it was fogless and sunny, with only occasional winds. During the morning, it warmed 19 degrees by the time we finished at the Rowing Club. It was birdy too, especially for the first few hours. And several birds, that were previously MIA this winter, decided to show up.

After the walk, I went back to the Pea Patch, and after a half an hour of searching, I finally spotted the PALM WARBLER working the sunny side of the wall between the Pea Patch and the Pet Garden. This bird was first seen by Hank Heiberg about 10 days ago, and not noted again to my knowledge until yesterday morning. It is a very drab juvenile, showing only a trace of a reddish crown, and a hint of an eye line. The breast has a lot of blurry streaking. The undertail coverts are bright yellow, though, up the white spot at the end of the underside of the tail.


  • Greater White-fronted Goose – at least 1 juvenile in with a couple of thousand Cacklers – First of Fall, finally
  • TRUMPETER SWAN – five adults in a slow fly-over. Thankfully they called – First of Fall
  • Northern Shoveler – four at lake – first since late October
  • - 8 species of duck total – nothing notable, except this is the best showing we’ve had. Included both Common and Hooded Mergansers
  • Ring-necked Pheasant – male at Pea Patch again
  • Horned Grebe – one on lake
  • Green Heron – far side of slough, north of last dog swim area
  • Northern Saw-whet Owl – Matt heard one well pre-dawn
  • Merlin – Mark saw one flying north near the mansion
  • Northern Shrike – adult, 2 sightings
  • PINE SISKIN – suddenly everywhere – maybe 100. First of Fall
  • Western Meadowlark – one for the group near the Viewing Mound. Six for me just before 8 am
  • PALM WARBLER – after the walk; see notes above

Our only big misses today were American Wigeon and Mew Gull. A really good day, with 63 species (counting the Palm Warbler).

== Michael Hobbs

COLD, but sunny.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Male Downy Woodpecker.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

American Crow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

One of the many Pine Siskin.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

The huge flocks of Cackling Geese continue.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Boeing's "Dream Lifter", a modified 747.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for November 29, 2018                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

We had views of Venus and the moon in the early pre-dawn, but then the fog rolled in from about 7am-9am, before rising, and then clearing. More overcast moved in later in the morning, but we never had wind or precipitation, and we did have birds! Many of our common winter birds seemed especially numerous, and gave us some really fantastic looks. Best Bird of the day was a SWAMP SPARROW that really showed off below the Viewing Mound.


  • Cackling Goose – hard to count, but maybe 2500, on grass soccer fields
  • Horned Grebe – one or two very far out on the lake
  • Virginia Rail – one responded from along the boardwalk
  • California Gull – 1 or 2, seen late
  • Green Heron – 1 on beaver lodge across the slough from Dog Central
  • Western Screech-Owl – one heard east of boardwalk around 6:30 a.m.
  • Great Horned Owl – Matt heard one west of the park entrance just after 5 a.m.
  • Hairy Woodpecker – pair came in right near us, for awkwardly close looks
  • PILEATED WOODPECKER – two flew north far across slough; later one very close near Park Office
  • Northern Shrike – First seen inside a hawthorn pre-dawn; roost tree? Adult seen near Viewing Mound during the regular walk
  • Bushtit – one flock of 20-25
  • Kinglets – many seen in mixed flocks, GCKI and RCKI both plentiful and giving us excellent eye-level views
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – one seen briefly below Viewing Mound
  • SWAMP SPARROW – one gave fabulous looks below Viewing Mound
  • Western Meadowlark - 10+ near Viewing

Mound Misses today included Ring-necked Duck, mergansers, Ring-billed Gull (probable, but fog-obscured), Pine Siskin.

This winter is unusual. Duck numbers, both of species and of individuals, are remarkably low. Diving ducks have been almost completely absent. Even adding in a late scan of the whole north end of the lake today, I could only find about 2 dozen BUFFLEHEAD and 2 COMMON GOLDENEYE. We’ve had no more than 4 Ring-necked Ducks on any day, no Scaup at all, and only 1-2 mergansers at most each week. Only twice have we had a Hooded Merganser since the end of August.

Besides Scaup, we’ve also had no Swans, Greater White-fronted Geeese, Ruddy Duck, large gulls besides GWGU, no Kestrel, Raven, Hermit Thrush, Varied Thrush, Red Crossbill, or Pine Siskin. And we’ve only had Northern Shoveler once (mid-October), one Short-eared Owl (mid October), one Northern Saw-whet Owl (mid-October), one flock of Evening Grosbeak (late September), one White-throated Sparrow (in early October), and one Townsend’s Warbler (early November).

An ebird report dated 2018-11-25 from Hank Heiberg includes photos of a BRANT with Cackling Geese, and a PALM WARBLER in the Pea Patch. The later is a new bird for Marymoor Park!!! We were not able to find either species today.

For today, we ended up with 57 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Inset shows Green Heron on a favorite perch on the beaver lodge.
Photos by Bob Asonoma

American Crow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Cackling Geese.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Swamp Sparrow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Swamp Sparrow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Brown Creeper.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Pileated Woodpecker.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for November 21, 2018                                                                                                                    Birding at Marymoor

At Thanksgiving, the survey is run a day early. Today featured a rumpled overcast the occasionally dripped on us, but it was in the high 40’s, and the total accumulation was just a trace. Birds didn’t seem to want to fly much today, and there were long quiet stretches. Not that many birders (i.e. Matt had to work), and but a pretty good show of birds.


  • Cackling Goose – around 2000 flew around, then landed on the grass soccer fields, where they spent the morning. Quite a sight!
  • American Wigeon – lone female at the weir
  • Green-winged Teal – below weir and at Rowing Club, 4 or more.
  • RING-NECKED PHEASANT – male flew to Pea Patch from the west. First since 2011. Likely not of wild origin.
  • Green Heron – one remains at Rowing Club pond
  • All 5 standard Woodpeckers – including an apparently pure Red-breasted Sapsucker this week
  • Northern Shrike – adult north of Viewing Mound
  • RIVER OTTER – 4 or 5 on lake, 1+ in slough, 1 at Rowing Club pond

Few misses to report today; just Hooded Merganser, accipiters, Pine Siskin, and Lincoln’s Sparrow. In my short pre-dawn search, I had no owls. Last week’s might have been the final Cedar Waxwings for the year.

We’d had no diving ducks at all, but a late lake view turned up 4 Ring-necked Ducks, 2 Bufflehead, and 2 Common Merganser.

With those three ducks, that made 57 species for the day.

Back to Thursday next week :)

== Michael Hobbs

Part of the flock of Cackling Geese.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Part of the flock of Cackling Geese.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Pileated Woodpecker.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

"Sooty" Fox Sparrow.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Ring-necked Pheasant in the Pea Patch.  Photo by Jordan Roderick

Ring-necked Pheasant in the Pea Patch.  Photo by Michael Hobbs

Male Belted Kingfisher.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

River Otter in the Rowing Club pond.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for November 15, 2018                                                                                                                   Birding at Marymoor

A really nice day at the park today, under a little overcast but warm, windless, and very birdy for the first few hours. The biggest highlights were a RED-NAPED x RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER and a SWAMP SPARROW!


  • Cackling Goose – huge flock (1200+) eventually landed just east of main park entrance
  • Wood Duck – female at Rowing Club
  • Common Goldeneye – female seen from Lake Platform – First of Fall (FOF)
  • Green Heron – Rowing Club pond yet again
  • Red-tailed Hawk – I counted 6 – quite a lot, really
  • Great Horned Owl – Matt heard many calls predawn – FOF
  • RED-NAPED x RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER – in Big Cottonwood Forest south of the dog area
  • Hairy Woodpecker – female at Rowing Club
  • Merlin – One streaked past just after 7:30
  • PEREGRINE FALCON – one flapped past the Viewing Mound just before 7:30
  • Northern Shrike – Adult across the street north of Viewing Mound
  • Cedar Waxwing – only a few today
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – two at Viewing Mound blackberries
  • SWAMP SPARROW – we got great looks at one just below the weir
  • Western Meadowlark - 6+ in Triangle Wetland north of Fields 7-8-9
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – one

This was our first SWAMP SPARROW sighting since 2013, and about our 12th ever. It was very cooperative, coming closer and closer, eventually giving everyone good looks. It was in the shrubs around the main channel of the slough, maybe 20 yards below (north of) the weir.

The RED-NAPED x RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER was maybe even more cooperative, giving us a long series of views which allowed many plumage details to be noted. It looked almost good for Red-naped, with two rows of white barring on the back, a black bib bordering the bottom of the red chin/throat, but it had too much red on the back of the head to be pure, and not enough of a complete white swoosh back from the bill. This is only the 5th time such a hybrid has been noted at Marymoor.

Misses for the day were Northern Shoveler, Ring-necked Duck, Hooded Merganser, Virginia Rail, Ring-billed Gull (though we had many unidentified gulls, so...), Bushtit, Purple Finch, and Pine Siskin, all of which have been seen at least 12 of the last 24 years.

But we did end up with 59 species for the day, plus the Sapsucker hybrid. It really was a fabulous day.

= Michael Hobbs

Cackling Geese.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Cackling Geese.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

House Finch.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Downy Woodpecker.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Red-breasted x Red-naped Sapsucker hybrid.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Red-breasted x Red-naped Sapsucker hybrid.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Adult Northern Shrike.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Green Heron.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for November 8, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

What we mostly had was FOG. The morning started out at a brisk 33 degrees and foggy, and warmed up 10 degrees, but we didn’t start losing the fog until 11:00 a.m. Often we couldn’t see across the slough; at the Lake Platform, we could only sort of see where the apartment docks were. So there was a lot we probably didn’t see.


  • Cackling Goose – Flock of more than 1000 inside the ballfields near the east park entrance
  • Gadwall – pair in slough below the weir; first since August !?!
  • Green Heron – Obscurely seen at Rowing Club pond
  • Western Screech-Owl – Matt heard one hours before sunrise
  • Red-breasted Sapsucker – great looks near park office
  • Hairy Woodpecker – One at the Rowing Club
  • Bewick’s Wren – no sign nor squeak of them last week; this week, totally back to normal
  • Cedar Waxwing – some large flocks
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – Matt saw one
  • Western Meadowlark – Four
  • Townsend’s Warbler – I saw one, south edge of the Dog Meadow; First of Fall

Unsurprisingly, we missed several normally-common birds: Western Grebe, Rock Pigeon, Double-crested Cormorant, Steller’s Jay, Northern Shrike, Pine Siskin (though we almost listed them based on what we were hearing sometimes), and Yellow-rumped Warbler (also, may have heard).

A late scoping of the lake after the walk (with the fog lifted) supplied only a Belted Kingfisher. Bald Eagles may be chasing some of the birds away from the north end of the lake.

For the day, 56 species; not at all bad, given the conditions.

== Michael Hobbs

So foggy, we could barely see across the slough.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Mallards.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Bald Eagle.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Bald Eagle.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Red-winged Blackbirds.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Brown Creeper.  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Report for November 1, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

Today was most notable for being dark, unsurprising as we are approximately at the cross-quarter (Samhain), and entering the darkest quarter of the year. Abandon all hope... There were short drizzle squalls, and bits of mist and mizzle, but it really wasn’t too rainy. With temps right around 60 degrees, even the occasional gusty winds merely meant our optics needed to be dried occasionally; it’s not like it was uncomfortable. But it WAS dark, and fairly quiet, except for the huge number of American Robins.


  • SNOW GOOSE – flyby of flock of nearly 40
  • Cackling Goose – flock size increasing; maybe nearly 100 today
  • American Wigeon – flyby flock of 4
  • Northern Pintail – flyby flock of about 6
  • Green-winged Teal – just 2 below the weir
  • Ring-necked Duck – two near the cabana again
  • Wilson’s Snipe – at least two flushed as we walked the boardwalk
  • Mew Gull – First of Fall; flock of maybe 50
  • Green Heron – one again at Rowing Club pond
  • Barn Owl – Matt saw one early
  • Western Screech-Owl – Matt heard one early near boardwalk; first in 7 weeks
  • Red-breasted Sapsucker – One; only woodpecker besides Northern Flicker
  • MERLIN – one flew past the Pea Patch
  • Cedar Waxwing – still a few good-sized flocks
  • Dark-eyed Junco – Our most numerous sparrow, and at least one “SLATE-COLORED” type
  • Western Meadowlark – at least 1 with huge flock of starlings
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – Three

One juvenile SNOW GOOSE was seen this weekend, which was the First of Fall for Marymoor; today’s flock was the First of Fall for the survey.

Misses were notable today: Gadwall, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser (possibly glimpsed in flight), Western Grebe, Virginia Rail, Ring-billed Gull, California Gull (though we failed to ID several gulls), Sharp-shinned Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Shrike, Bewick’s Wren, Purple Finch, Pine Siskin, and Lincoln’s Sparrow have all been seen on at least 12 years of the last 24 for this week of the year, but not today!

For the day, 52 species.

== Michael Hobbs

Juvenile White-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Golden-crowned Sparrow.  Photo by Michael Hyman

American Coots.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Wood Duck being followed by American Coots.  Photo by Michael Hyman

Report for October 25, 2018                                                                                                                 Birding at Marymoor

Samhain is only about a week away, and the switch-over to winter birds has definitely begun. Marymoor is a great place to bird at all seasons, and just when we feel the weekly species list is getting short and predictable, the seasons and the birds change over, and we’ve got new excitement. Today’s rain came on in fits and starts, with long clear periods, before the rain started to increase in earnest around 11:30. For most of the morning, it was really quite nice, and with temps in the 50’s-60’s and no wind, we didn’t mind getting damp much.


  • Northern Shoveler – 37+ birds; high count of 40 probably beat today, but not sure. First of 2018
  • Wilson’s Snipe – some heard pre-dawn, one seen well below weir. First sighting of fall, though heard previously
  • First good fall gull flock, with Ring-billed, California, Glaucous-winged
  • COMMON LOON – juvenile eating fish on lake
  • Green Heron – one at Rowing Club pond
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk – one predawn
  • Cooper’s Hawk – several sightings; could have been one bird
  • Barn Owl – seen from Viewing Mound after 7am
  • Pileated Woodpecker – two views
  • MERLIN – two views
  • Northern Shrike – juvenile, with prey, calling, east of East Meadow – First for 2018
  • Cedar Waxwing – still several around
  • Lincoln’s Sparrow – one
  • Western Meadowlark – nine north of Fields 7-8-9
  • Yellow-rumped Warbler – our only warbler

While this was our first NORTHERN SHRIKE of the year, there was a report from a couple of weeks ago. Today’s bird was quite drab and brownish, and easy to overlook if it hadn’t been calling.

For the day, 58 species. With two new birds for the year (Northern Shoveler, Northern Shrike), I think we’re now at 151 or 152 for the year.

== Michael Hobbs

Common Merganser.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Canada Geese.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Male Pileated Woodpecker.  Photo by Hugh Jennings

Western Meadowlark (European Starling in the background).  Photo by Bob Asanoma

Back to BirdBlog index


Home | Mission | Members | Events | News | Maps | Getting There | Contact Us | Links | Search
Meeting Summaries |
Wildlife at Marymoor | Birding at Marymoor Park

Problems, comments, suggestions?  Email the FOMP webmaster at