[Tweeters] Bicycle-birding the Sammamish and Burke-Gilman Trails

W. William Woods wwwbike at halcyon.com
Sun Mar 20 08:29:42 PST 2005

Yard and household chores kept us from getting an early start
on Saturday morning, and we were able to get in only 17 miles on
the trails, but the rainy-misty air was indeed a welcome change
in the weather. The birds were singing along the trail, and we
heard our first White-crowned Sparrow near Kenmore, where we
diverted from the trail to visit the fairly large Great Blue
Heron rookery along Swamp Creek behind the Kenmore Park-and-ride
lot. Bill counted 38 nests in the alder trees, with herons coming
and going, standing on nests and branches. He got up to twenty
birds counted. We could not tell if there were birds setting on
the nests, but they probably were. It seems like a nice, active
Very few ducks on the lake at Log Boom Park, but the Double-
crested Cormorants were still visible drying their wings on the
old pilings. A Red-tailed hawk surveyed the scene from atop a
cottonwood tree. A Bewick's Wren serenaded us as we proceeded
past Lake Forest Park to our turn-around point. Did you know that
this bird was once known as the Seattle Wren? (Washington Birds,
their Location and Identification; Seattle Audubon Society,
1968.) He definitely is a regular along the Burke-Gilman Trail.
We also diverted to the Regional Trail along North Creek past
the UW Bothell Campus to see if the Cliff Swallows had returned.
They had not arrived, but the air was filled with Violet Green
Swallows. A Marsh Wren announced his presence as we coasted down
the ramp to the deck by the creek. Several Mallards flew up from
the creek, and Robins were everywhere in the willow trees and
tall grass. A number of Canada Geese were grazing the greenest
There were fewer than usual ducks swimming the Sammamish
River, but we saw several pairs of Common Mergansers, Mallards,
and Hooded Mergansers, plus a couple of Bufflehead drakes. Black-
capped Chickadees vocalized in the minor key, and of course,
Song Sparrows were singing along the trails. One Belted
Kingfisher rattled along the river near Woodinville, while a
large group of colorful roosters huddled together under the
readerboard at Bothell Landing. Two Guinea Hens braved the
sprinkles as they prowled the parking lot. Northern Flickers
sounded off atop buildings here and there, their calls echoing
for miles. And of course, the House Finches and House Sparrows
were trying to outdo each other in a number of places. Spotted
Towhees vocalized from the bushes.
Birding by ear is always rewarding as we frequently bicycle
the wonderful trails of western Washington.

Bill and Erin Woods Woods Tree Farm Redmond, WA U.S.A.
<wwwbike at halcyon.com>

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