[Tweeters] Birding by Bus: Discovery, Union Bay and Magnuson Parks

Scott Ramos lsr at ramoslink.info
Fri Apr 26 22:31:24 PDT 2013

On a glorious Spring day, we made the loop of major Seattle parks entirely by bus and were rewarded with some nice birds. Sharing the adventure were Sharon Aagard, Joanne Cormier, Carl Haynie and myself. We started with an early bus ride from Magnuson Park to Discovery Park where we spent ~5 hours birding. A walk to the Ballard Locks and lunch was followed by another bus ride to the Union Bay Natural Area and another 2 hours enjoying the now warm temperatures. A final trip took us back to Magnuson where we managed to top off the day list at an even 100 species. Some highlights include:

Discovery Park (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S13896418)
A warbler bonanza in the Big Leaf Maples near the rest station in the South Meadow - at least 20 Yellow-rumped Warblers divided about 3:1 Audubon's to Myrtle, a few Orange-crowned, a couple Black-throated Gray plus a Townsend's and a Nashville Warbler. In the same tree were several Chestnut-backed Chickadees and a Warbling Vireo.
A couple of small flocks of fly-over Red Crossbill.
A very bright male Western Tanager.
A whiting Hammond's Flycatcher.
Several Pigeon Guillemot, a pair of Rhinoceros Auklets, and a pair of Marbled Murrelet, the latter in a feeding frenzy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dR97XnamzXU
More than 120 Brant on the beach south of West Point plus breeding plumaged Common Loon (1), Horned Grebe (> 10) and Red-necked Grebe (5 or 6).
A flock of nearly 100 Surf Scoter with a single Black Scoter off to itself.

At the Ballard Locks was a Merlin, alternately soaring high and chasing a crow.

Union Bay Natural Area (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S13896417)
Pair of Cinnamon Teal in the creek.
A handful of Lesser Scaup and a single Greater Scaup.
Vaux's Swift with the swallows.
A pair of Pied-billed Grebe making their nest in the backwaters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-O5JkD1DNE.

Magnuson Park
With little time left in the day, we managed to add Western Grebe, Virginia Rail, Cliff Swallow and Mourning Dove.

This was a fun outing among friends, sure to be repeated in the future.
Scott Ramos

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