[Tweeters] Marymoor Park (Redmond, King Co., WA) 2013-03-14

Michael Hobbs birdmarymoor at frontier.com
Thu Mar 14 15:15:07 PDT 2013

Tweets – It was overcast, but warm and dry this morning, and the birding was good.

Pre-dawn seemed perfect for owls, but Matt walked around for over an hour without seeing or hearing any. He and I met up on the Viewing Mound about 6:45, and just before 7, we glimpsed a BARN OWL. Right around 7, two Barn Owls were seen over by the model airplane field. With sunrise at 7:24, it was already quite light out, and crows had already been seen flying. At about 7:10, one of the owls was seen again, and it flew from perch to perch, spending time hunting in between. It flew over to the East Meadow and perched on the center perch pole just about when Brian Bell arrived to join Matt and myself. It perched on a couple of poles down at the south end of the meadow, then worked its way back along the east edge of the meadow and sat for quite a while on the tall pole at the edge of the model airplane field, even as crows flew overhead. Around 7:15, it cruised back towards us, and we were sure it was going to roost along the east edge of the East Meadow where we have often seen Barn Owls go to roost recently. But, no, it continued to hunt (unsuccessfully). It flew west across the north end of the meadow at 7:17, fairly close by the mound. The three of us gasped when an adult BALD EAGLE suddenly appeared, hot on the tail of the owl. The owl didn’t seem to know what to do; it flew past a couple of small hawthorns where it might have tried to take refuge. It didn’t make any quick turns, which the eagle might not have been able to follow, but just kept flying west. About 10 seconds later, the eagle grabbed the owl, turned, and flew off to the southwest, taking the owl to the Bald Eagle nest, where the eagle was joined by its mate. As you can imagine, this was terribly distressing for the three of us watching!

>From what I can gather, it is too early in the year for this to have been a young owl. I’m now worried that this was an adult with hungry babies to feed. Why else would it be hunting a mere seven minutes before official sunrise?

Despite that start, we had a good day of birding.


American Wigeon Maybe as many as 10
Lesser Scaup Female in slough
Horned Grebe One far out on lake
Great Blue Heron Sticks being brought in for nest building
Wilson’s Snipe Sharon spotted one, far side of weir
California Gull One with other gulls, grass soccer fields
Western Gull One with many GWGU and hybrids, incl. 2nd yr birds
Band-tailed Pigeon Two flew overhead
Barn Owl See above
Red-breasted Sapsucker Two at Rowing Club (RC)
Hairy Woodpecker Pair near 2nd dog swim beach
Northern Shrike East Meadow (pretty sure it wasn’t Loggerhead)
Varied Thrush Heard across the slough
Yellow-rumped Warbler Near mansion + RC, 4 total?, Audubon’s, singing
Townsend’s Warbler Female east of concert venue
Purple Finch A few scattered, some singing
Red Crossbill Great looks at the hemlocks west of mansion

There were quite a few swallows mostly high up and far away. Several appeared probably to be VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS, but we couldn’t see any of them well enough to add them to our lists. The very few we did see well were all TREE SWALLOWS.

Everything was singing, including the MARSH and PACIFIC WRENS (there were at least 7 of the latter), YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, and RED CROSSBILL.

Lots of chorusing from the Pacific Tree Frogs around sunrise. There was a Painted Turtle at the Rowing Club pond.

For the day, 63 species, with Band-tailed Pigeon, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Townsend’s Warbler all new for the year, bringing the 2013 total to 88 species.

== Michael Hobbs
== www.marymoor.org/birding.htm
== BirdMarymoor at frontier.com

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