[Tweeters] Seattle purple martins

Kevin Li kdli at msn.com
Sun Jul 31 18:07:54 PDT 2005

I just got back from a week long road trip to CA, so this morning I had some
catching up to do at the local martin colonies. The Shilshole public access
beach was my first stop, about 10 am; it was much busier than any of the
sites around the lower Duwamish, but it may have had to do with the time. At
Shilshole I was sometimes seeing as many as about 40 martins in the air at a
time, with many nestlings still poking their heads out of the 13 gourds. It
appeared that all the gourds might be occupied. At low tide one can often
walk right up to the base of the pilings for a close up view.

Jack Block Park was relatively quiet around noon, with activity at nine
gourds and boxes. Only a few nestlings could be seen, and I saw no more than
about 5 martins at once.

Terminal 105 and Kellogg Island were both fairly busy; T105 has at least 12
pairs, and it appears none have fledged yet. But they're getting close.
Kellogg Island was quieter, but has at least 6 pairs in the gourds and

While in California at Pt Reyes, I found martins nesting just south of the
visitor's center in a tall fir tree with woodpecker holes near the top. I
saw a white headed woodpecker in the general vicinity. I estimated a dozen
martins in the air at once, diving at a raven that perched nearby; it
appeared that I was seeing two families that had just fledged, since there
were two distinct groups of six flying together, vocalizing loudly. No one
that I found in the visitor's center knew anything about martins, and the
species list for that area did not include martins at all.

Kevin Li
Ballard, USA

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