[Tweeters] Fritz Hedges Waterway Park: A small, relatively new park on Portage Bay with great views and lots of birds

Nathaniel Peters ncpeters at uw.edu
Tue Feb 16 11:22:53 PST 2021

Howdy Tweets,

There is a great new (relatively) park in Seattle in the location of the
former University of Washington/U District Police Department called the
Fritz Hedges Waterway Park, and I wanted to tell you all about it!

It is between Agua Verde Cafe / Paddle Club and Recycled Cycles. In the
fall of 2018, demolition teams began demolishing the old buildings and
docks on site. Over the next 3+ years, workers slowly but steadily cleaned
up the site (nasty old materials), landscaped, brought in barge cranes to
sink new pylons and installed a viewing platform extending into the water,
poured sidewalks and terraces, planted trees and shrubs, installed lights,
seats, sculptures, and a parking lot, and transformed the area into what is
now a beautiful waterfront park with stunning views of Portage Bay,
particularly in the evening. There are now many places to sit and enjoy
this beautiful new area.

Importantly, this new park has been a big hit with the waterfowl and now
offers fantastic close views of an assortment of local favorites. There is
a group of 20-30 American Coots and American Wigeon that now hang out
regularly at the point, as well as a group of 10-15 Ring-necked Ducks.
Pairs of Mallards and Gadwall are also almost always around. Several pairs
of Common Mergansers and a Bufflehead pair have been present recently. A
Pied-billed Grebe was diving there this morning. In addition to the
regular Glaucous-winged Gulls, I have seen 2 Ring-billed Gulls (1 adult, 1
immature) there on several occasions, and the immature was there this
morning. Several Double-crested Cormorants are also often present in the
deeper water. Several Anna's Hummingbirds have nearby territories, a local
murder of American Crows is often present, and there are California Scrub
Jays moving through the area regularly. A group of Canada Geese have
fallen in love with the new grassy areas and have been
defecating everywhere, but that is now balancing out with increased human
presence and not as overwhelming as it was. C'est la vie!

I walk this park every morning and evening now as I go to and from work,
and it lifts my spirits each time. The park's construction was lengthy and
was also delayed by the pandemic, but I am so grateful now for this
beautiful space and for this popular new waterfowl habitat, and the birds
appear to be loving it!

The shallows created by the new landscaping seem to be a big hit with the
dabbling ducks in particular, and those groups now hang around very close
to very accessible shore. The viewing/sitting platform also offers great
elevated views of all these species. I feel like this could be a really
nice place to do some bird waterfowl photography and/or have a nice
breakfast or lunch, and I plan to do both in the near future. Sunsets and
nighttime views are also quite beautiful here.

If you are in the area and/or looking for a little change of scenery, I
suggest you come and visit.

May the* F*lu*OR*escen*CE* be with you!
Nathaniel Peters Ph.D.
W. M. Keck Microscopy Center Manager
University of Washington
ncpeters at uw.edu
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