Friday, April 21, 2017

Birding at Discovery Park, Seattle

After we decided to visit Seattle this year I started looking for best birding hot spots to visit in Seattle. And the first place that was recommended was Discovery park. Its close to the downtown and did not need lot of driving too. And the best part was it had different habitat for all sorts of birds.

Because of the continuous rain showers during the day I had to delay my walk for the day. I started my walk at around 10:30AM. It was still drizzling but I decided to try my luck with the showers. After a while it was raining on and off. Thankfully I did get some great birding done for the day. But I did not expect the trail to be hard. The trail is listed as medium but climbing all those stairs was a little tough but worth the effort :-)

I started the trail from the visitor center. The woods behind the visitor center was good. I saw Golden-crowned kinglet, Song Sparrow, Bushtits and Thrushes here. There were couple of Anna's hummingbird flying around too.

Hermit Thrush

Song Sparrow?

Song Sparrow?

Spotted Towhee

Orange-crowned Warbler


Golden-crowned Sparrow

Chestnut backed chickadee

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
From here I decided to head towards the lighthouse which was the place I was most interested to visit. In the waters here I saw Bonaparte's Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Mew Gull and few others. In the waters I saw a Common Goldeneye pair.

Common Goldeneye

Glaucous Winged Gull
The weather was good with a slight drizzle. Very good weather for a long stroll :-) In the shore waters I saw few Western Grebe, couple of Surf Scooter and lone Pelagic Cormorant. I also saw few Common Loons and Red-throated in the waters. There were also Red-breasted Merganser and Red-necked Grebes in the water along with Horned Grebes. I also had few Brant flying over couple of times. A lone Bald Eagle flew over me as well. Most of these birds I was watching them for the first time. I just took some record shots to help me with the ID's. Had a great birding walk but better weather would have helped me get some photographs of these birds.

Surf Scooter

Western Grebe

Common Loon

Red-necked Grebe


Bald Eagle

Horned Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Pelagic Cormorant

Red-breasted Merganser

Horned Grebe


Double Crested Cormorant

Red-throated Loon
ebird :

List of birds seen during the day.

1 Brant  
2 Canada Goose  
3 Mallard  
4 Surf Scoter  
5 Common Goldeneye  
6 Red-breasted Merganser  
7 Common Loon  
8 Horned Grebe  
9 Red-necked Grebe  
10 Eared Grebe  
11 Pelagic Cormorant  
12 Bald Eagle  
13 Red-tailed Hawk  
14 American Coot  
15 Bonaparte's Gull  
16 Mew Gull  
17 Herring Gull  
18 Glaucous-winged Gull  
19 Anna's Hummingbird  
20 Downy Woodpecker  
21 Northern Flicker  
22 Steller's Jay  
23 American Crow  
24 Tree Swallow  
25 Violet-green Swallow  
26 Black-capped Chickadee  
27 Chestnut-backed Chickadee  
28 Bushtit  
29 Brown Creeper  
30 Bewick's Wren  
31 Golden-crowned Kinglet  
32 Ruby-crowned Kinglet  
33 Hermit Thrush  
34 Orange-crowned Warbler  
35 Yellow-rumped Warbler  
36 Dark-eyed Junco  
37 Song Sparrow  
38 Spotted Towhee  
39 Red-winged Blackbird  
40Red-throated Loon  

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Birding at Marymoor Park, Seattle

I have done some bit of birding in California and rest of my birding has been in Texas. And I did not get any time to do birding when I visited Boston last year. But I did see my first Black-capped Chickadee in their backyard. We had been planning to visit Seattle during spring time to see the Tulip fields. And I wanted to block some of my time during this trip to do some birding there.

We started planning earlier this year and finalized the dates for mid April. I had hoped to see some early migrants there. After doing some research on ebird to check the prime birding spots I decided to plan my visits to Discovery park and Union Bay Natural area. Another park which I planned to visit if time permitted was Marymoor park which was close to the place where I was staying. I ended up covering both Marymoor park and Discovery park during my stay but could not cover the Union Bay.

The first park I visited was the Marymoor park. Rain showers were predicted for the entire day but I decided to try my luck anyways. I headed to the park after going through the trail map. There is a car parking fee of about 1$ here. There is an audobon trail which takes you through the woodlands and the meadows. The trail was very good. The trail does run along the stream for a while. I decided to start from there.

There were quite a few ducks in the stream. I saw Green-winged Teal, Mallards and Gadwalls here. There were few Canada goose too. Along the trail I saw a big nesting area of Great Blue Herons. I saw more than 15 nests there. The birds were going back and forth from the stream to the nests. Its an amazing place to have the nests so close by the stream. Along the trail I saw lot of sparrows too. The first was a Song sparrow. I also saw lot of Lincoln's and then the sparrow that I wanted to see in seattle, the Golden-crowned sparrow. I saw few of these sparrows around the trail. They are wintering birds in Seattle and I was lucky to see them multiple times during the day's walk.


Canada Goose

Golden-crowned Sparrow

Song Sparrow

I had some birds in my wishlist for this seattle trip and one of the birds was Red-breasted Sapsucker. And I was lucky to see this bird during the start of the trial itself. There were 3 of them chasing each other. They briefly flew to the trees on which there were GBH nests and they flew across the stream. One of the birds flying right across me :-)

Across the stream I saw there were some GBH which had lined on the banks trying to catch their food. And on one of the tree branches I saw a Belted Kingfisher waiting to catch its morning breakfast. It did catch couple of them when i was watching it for a while. There were some Hooded Mergansers in the stream. I saw one male along with 2 females there. This was my second sighting of this bird. My first sighting was at Lake Tawakoni when I saw group of them flying over the lake.

Red-breasted Sapsucker

Belted Kingfisher

Hooded Merganser

On the trail I saw lot of Black-capped Chickadees and heard Wren calls a lot. I only saw Bewick's wren but failed to see any other Wren species. Also American Robins were seen in good numbers during the day's walk. I also saw a lone Northern Flickr working on its nest hole. I also few Anna's Humming bird during the day.

Northern Flickr

American Robin

Bewick's Wren

Black-capped Chickadee

Anna's Hummingbird

I also saw few Spotted Towhees and Wood Ducks. The first time I saw Wood ducks on the trees :-) always wanted to see that. I also saw few Buffleheads in the lake and there were quite a number of Tree swallows flying around.

Spotted Towhee

Wood Duck


Downy/Hairy Woodpecker?

After birding around the lake, I headed towards the Meadows. On the way I saw my first Rufous Hummingbird. There were few Stellar Jay's flying around. In the meadows they have some nesting boxes for swallows. We could see lot of Tree swallows flying over the meadows and on these nest boxes. I also saw my first Say's pheobe here. Just got a record photograph to confirm if I was right about the bird. I also saw loggerheaded shrike here on the meadows.

Rufous Hummingbird

Tree Swallow

Say's Phoebe

Common Yellowthroat

Loggerheaded Shrike


The only raptors I saw during the day was a flyover of an Osprey and a Bald eagle.


Bald Eagle

It was a great start to birding in Seattle :-)

ebird :

Birds seen during the day.

1 Cackling Goose  
2 Canada Goose  
3 Wood Duck  
4 Gadwall  
5 Mallard  
6 Green-winged Teal  
7 Bufflehead  
8 Hooded Merganser  
9 Great Blue Heron  
10 Osprey  
11 Bald Eagle  
12 American Coot  
13 Anna's Hummingbird  
14 Rufous Hummingbird  
15 Belted Kingfisher  
16 Red-breasted Sapsucker  
17 Downy Woodpecker  
18 Northern Flicker  
19 Say's Phoebe  
20 Loggerhead Shrike  
21 Steller's Jay  
22 American Crow  
23 Tree Swallow  
24 Black-capped Chickadee  
25 Brown Creeper  
26 Bewick's Wren  
27 Hermit Thrush  
28 American Robin  
29 Common Yellowthroat  
30 Yellow-rumped Warbler  
31 Dark-eyed Junco  
32 Golden-crowned Sparrow  
33 Savannah Sparrow  
34 Song Sparrow  
35 Spotted Towhee