Trip Report: Seattle and surroundings

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5 years 3 months ago #74660 by steveh
steveh created the topic: Trip Report: Seattle and surroundings
I was informed on Wednesday evening (11 Jul) that I had to be in Seattle the following week for a 2-day workshop (17 – 18 Jul). As with all my business trips, I try my best to get in some birding, albeit just a couple of hours before/after business hours.

This time around I knew it was going to be tough – it’s my first time in this part of the US, so I’m not familiar with the local birding spots, public transport, weather conditions, etc. I did send out a few emails to local birding clubs/societies with the hope that someone could possibly host me for an outing or two, but nothing came of it. To mitigate the lack of a local guide, I spent most of my time in transit (32 hours!) studying the local birds – visuals and calls. This proved to be very useful.

The birding

We arrived at SeaTac Airport just after 1pm on Monday – in what the locals referred to as the best day they’ve had all year: bright skies, hot and no wind. Completely what I didn’t expect. We took the Link Light Rail service to Seattle – binocs ready. Ticked a few usual suspects: Red-winged Blackbird, Rock Pigeon, House Sparrow and Common Raven, but the highlight was a Peregrine Falcon flying right next to the train for a couple of seconds – beautiful!

Later that day, a colleague from our Seattle office took me to Discovery Park (recommended by his dad, which is quite an avid birder), a couple miles northwest of the CBD. This place turned out to be something of a little Eden – definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever experienced.

I ended up going there every morning for the next three days, waking up at 4am to be there at sunrise, do 2 hours’ birding, then head back to the office. It was well worth it.

I also went out to Marymoor Park on the Wednesday early evening (btw, sunset is about 9pm) – it’s close to Redmond, east of Seattle. Another beautiful setting – a crystal clear river running through it (salmon visible), a heronry, lakes and grasslands.

And then also tried to get some time in at the harbour.

Here’s my list

Canada Goose
Great Blue Heron
Osprey (all along the Discovery Park peninsular)
Bald Eagle
Red-tailed Hawk (sitting on a traffic light)
Peregrine Falcon
Glaucous-winged Gull
Caspian Tern
Rock Pigeon
Anna’s Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Willow Flycatcher
Common Raven
Violet-green Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Brown Creeper (stalking the Hairy Woodpecker)
American Robin (like our bull-bulls, every time you think it’s something new, it so often turns out to be this robin – it’s everywhere: forest undergrowth, lakes, seashore, on top of pine trees, etc)
Cedar Waxwing
Spotted Towhee
TSong Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird (makes the most unusual sound, sounds like something made be an electronic device)
House Finch
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
And a hawk I still need some help ID’ing

I managed to add 23 lifers to my North-American and World life-lists. (Un)fortunately lots of species were left unidentified (no time for photographs either), which gives me a great reason to go back, but next time I’m going to add at least one day for full-time birding, and hopefully with a guide.

Till next time,
Henk

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5 years 3 months ago #74669 by Doug
Doug replied the topic: Re: Trip Report: Seattle and surroundings
Nice trip report.

Having never birded in the US almost all of those would be lifers for me :)

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5 years 3 months ago #74688 by docandy
docandy replied the topic: Re: Trip Report: Seattle and surroundings
thank you a very interesting trip report. :D

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10 months 1 day ago #87395 by adamsadela
adamsadela replied the topic: Re: Trip Report: Seattle and surroundings
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