[Tweeters] Marymoor Park......Trouble in River City

Mike Hamilton mikeham44 at comcast.net
Mon Mar 2 18:29:21 PST 2015

There’s trouble in River City at Marymoor Park! River City being the heron city by the Sammamish River in the off-leash dog area. As I said in a note last Friday, the trouble is again eagles. From a conversation I had there today I think there was at least one earlier attack today. The one I witnessed this afternoon was a failed one. There is nothing dramatic but I have some photos related to this one on my website: http://www.mikehamilton.biz

I first saw the “local” eagle pair far across the cove where the lake funnels into the river (1). Later I saw one of them at the new nest at the north end of the lake (2). Soon, that eagle left the nest (3) headed for the east meadow (4). It rose high, drifted away, and I lost sight of it. However, sensing trouble, I headed over to the colony. In less than ten minutes both eagles came out of nowhere and attacked the colony (5-8). The herons, of course, flushed into the sky. The eagles didn’t land in the colony or chase airborne herons. After a few passes at the colony, they left.....for this time. A few herons returned to the nest area (8) but most landed in trees scattered along the river. I noticed two herons that give the appearance of incubating eggs (9-10). Whether they left their nests during the attack, I can’t say.

This is anecdotal but I talked with a fellow I met there today who said he witnessed two eagles kill and eat an adult heron in a nest two weeks ago. It is not anecdotal, but fact, that I witnessed an eagle carry an adult to ground last Friday, the one saved when a dog scared the eagle away. (It was a big dog!). Over the last three years of nesting I have not personally seen an eagle attack on the colony, but I have heard tales of some. This year in the early going, I have already heard of other attacks and seen two myself in the last four days......and I was only there for about an hour each time. I think there may be big trouble ahead for the Marymoor heron colony. I am not a wildlife professional so I grant myself the right to feel discouraged by what is happening. My confidence is waning that the colony will finish out the nesting season. I hope I am overreacting. We’ll see.

Mike Hamilton
Sammamish, WA
mikeham44 at comcast.net

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