[Tweeters] Discovery Park (Seattle, King Co.) the past few weeks

Evan Houston evanghouston at gmail.com
Fri Jul 8 22:03:11 PDT 2016

Hi Tweeters,

This time of the year has a reputation for being the summer doldrums, with
a paucity of unexpected birds, especially at lowland westside spots around
the Puget Sound. A few weeks ago I decided I should still get out and see
what I could see. And of course that meant going to Discovery Park, with
an early start (by around 5:30am).

I made 3 trips over the past 2 weeks (today, Sunday 7/3/16, and Sunday
6/26/16), and found a total of over 80 species of birds, suggesting that if
you get out early, fun birds can still show up:

- Harlequin Duck - one flyby 2 weeks ago

- Red-necked Grebe - one breeding-plumaged bird 2 weeks ago, rare in the
summer here

- California Quail - a single bird surprisingly flushed near North Beach
pond, this species has become more and more scarce in the greater Seattle

- Whimbrel - an unexpected flyover last week

- SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER - a mostly breeding plumaged adult spent most of
this morning resting and feeding along the North Beach, just south of the
rock wall. It was great to observe this bird stopping over on its "fall"
southbound migration, even more so because this was a KingCo lifer for me.

- Gulls included a couple of returning adult-plumaged Heermann's, a
Bonaparte's, and a couple of Ring-billeds.

- Barred Owl - Just listen for the very upset Robin alarm calls; at
Discovery, investigation of those calls often leads to roosting Barreds! I
enjoyed watching one pair of Barreds allopreen, video here:

- Black Swift - at least 5 visited the skies above Bird Alley a week ago

- Western Scrub-Jay - it's always fun to watch the Steller's Jays stack up
around West Point as they struggle with their opposing urges to migrate but
not to risk their relatively poor flying skills across the open water to
the west. 2 weeks ago, a Western Scrub-Jay (I guess I'll need to get used
to saying California Scrub-Jay!) joined them.

- Swallows included Purple Martin, which can be reliably scoped with good
optics at the Shilshole nesting gourds, and today, Cliff Swallows
(post-breeding dispersal, I think) joined the abundant Violet-greens and

- House Wren - my trip 2 weeks ago was the most exciting for this species,
as I found that the continuing House Wren pair had fledged 4 young! I'm
not aware of many recent KingCo nesting records, I wonder when the last one

- MacGillivray's Warbler - surprising to me to encounter a singing male 2
weeks ago, as I don't think they breed at any sites close to Discovery

A few more pictures and videos can be found at my eBird checklists:

Good birding,
Evan Houston,
Seattle, WA
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