Bird Lore: Townsend’s Solitaire

Townsend’s Solitaire is a slender thrush with a long tail, in the same family as robins and bluebirds. It is a resident of western North America’s mountains and forests. It appears in small numbers in the Puget lowlands in winter. We know of two sightings in Edmonds, 2010 at Harbor Square and 2017 at a…

Bird Lore: Horned Lark

Larks are songbirds that live on the ground in open country. There are about 80 species of larks in Eurasia and Africa, but only the Horned Lark spills over into the Americas. The Horned Lark is a permanent resident of the Lower 48 with the exception of coastal areas of the Southeast. It is a…

Bird Lore: Harris’s Sparrow

Harris’s Sparrow is a large, elegant sparrow of the Heartland. It is a showstopper with its black bib and pink bill. It is North America’s largest sparrow. It nests only in north central Canada and winters on the southern Great Plains. A few Harris’s Sparrows find their way to Washington every year and there are…

Bird Lore: Trumpeter Swan

The Trumpeter Swan is the largest waterfowl native to North America, stretching to six feet in length and weighing in at 25 pounds and more. It descends upon Western Washington in mid-October. The largest numbers of this species are here between mid-November and March 1. The swans feed in farm fields by day and rest…

Bird Lore: Ruddy Duck

The Ruddy Duck is a small, compact duck with a large bill and a long tail that it frequently holds erect. Western Washington is one of its wintering locations and this duck can be seen from time to time in Edmonds. It might be seen at the marsh, Pine Ridge Park, or Lake Ballinger, the…

Bird Lore: Canvasback

The Canvasback is a diving duck, known for its slender, sloping facial profile. It winters throughout much of Washington on lakes, salt bays, and estuaries. It can occasionally be seen in Edmonds. It has been seen a few times at the Edmonds marsh and several times along the waterfront where it is usually flying by….

Bird Lore: Northern Shrike

A solitary and wary hunter, the Northern Shrike usually visits Edmonds in October, when at least one in southbound migration will make an appearance around the Edmonds Marsh. It is an uncommon winter resident throughout Washington and other northern states. The second photo shows this October’s visitor on a foggy afternoon. Diet includes large insects,…

Long-tailed Duck (winter male)

Bird Lore: Long-tailed Duck

The Long-tailed Duck is a sea duck of winter in Western Washington. It can be seen along the Edmonds waterfront, usually as a single bird, from mid-October through April. It is not, however, a frequent sighting in the Edmonds near shore waters. It takes a lot of careful watching to find one. The common name…

Bird Lore: Parasitic Jaeger

Jaegers and their close relatives the skuas are both scavengers and predators in the marine world. The Parasitic Jaeger, often called the falcon-like jaeger, is a September-October visitor to Puget Sound while on its way to its wintering waters of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. In Edmonds, the public pier and Sunset Avenue are…

Bird Lore: Brown Pelican

Pelicans are known for their massive, pouched bills that can hold large fish and three gallons of water. The Brown Pelican is a distinctive bird of marine coastal waters. It prefers shallow, nearshore waters and sheltered bays. It can sometimes be seen well out to sea and even occasionally on ponds in the desert Southwest….

Bird Lore: Olive-sided Flycatcher

A neotropical migrant, the Olive-sided Flycatcher starts to arrive in Western Washington by the first of May. It breeds in forests throughout the state. By mid-September it departs for its wintering grounds. It is easier to locate this migrant in spring when it is singing. Southbound migrants may be less vocal or silent. Keep an…

Bird Lore: Black Oystercatcher

The Black Oystercatcher is a mostly permanent resident where the Pacific Ocean breaks against rocky shorelines. It is uncommon in the Inland Marine Waters of Washington, but can be seen flying by the Edmonds waterfront from time to time. It is best to keep an eye out for this black shorebird with its longish dark…

Bird Lore: Baird’s Sandpiper

When shorebirds come north in spring, they separate along three distinct North American flyways. The adult birds follow their expected paths. All bets are off when shorebirds head back south after breeding. Young birds do not always know where to go so they can be found wandering where they are not expected to be. The…

Bird Lore: Western Wood-Pewee

The Western Wood-Pewee is a drab brownish-gray flycatcher that can be seen in Edmonds in small numbers during summer. It breeds from Honduras, through Mexico, the Western U.S., Western Canada, and into Alaska. It winters in Northern South America. It calls late into the summer evening when most other songbirds are quiet. All flycatchers eat…

Bird Lore: Northern Rough-winged Swallow

The Northern Rough-winged Swallow summers throughout the Lower 48 and the southern tier of Canada. It forages in open areas, often near water. It can be found from sea level to around 6,500 feet. A few birds usually pass through the Edmonds Marsh each year as this swallow migrates from Mexico and Central America to…

Bird Lore: American White Pelican

The American White Pelican, with its 9-foot wingspan and 30 pounds of weight, is one of the largest birds in North America. An authoritative reference on the birds of Washington, published in 2005, listed the American White Pelican as rare in Western Washington. The very few sightings in Edmonds were of single birds. That changed…

Bird Lore: Wilson’s Phalarope

Wilson’s Phalarope is a shorebird sometimes seen at the Edmonds marsh in spring migration. It is a long-distance migrant, flying from as far away as the southern regions of South America to breed in the interior of Canada and the United States. Usually only one phalarope at a time visits the Edmonds marsh, and not…

Bird Lore: Cinnamon Teal

The Cinnamon Teal is a marsh duck that is found only in the Western Hemisphere, from the southern latitudes of Canada to South America. In the United States it is found in the West. It can be seen annually in Edmonds, usually at the Edmonds marsh during migration in spring or fall. This teal breeds…

Bird Lore: Say’s Phoebe

Say’s Phoebe is a flycatcher of the western U.S. It favors high deserts and arid lands. Spring migration brings Say’s Phoebe to Eastern Washington where it breeds. In recent years there have been increasing numbers of this flycatcher seen in Western Washington during spring and fall migration. In the last 10 years there have been…

Bird Lore: Blue-winged Teal

The Blue-winged Teal can be seen occasionally during spring at the Edmonds marsh. It migrates through and continues on to its inland breeding grounds. This species breeds across Canada and the interior of the U.S., including Eastern Washington. It’s a small duck to be on the lookout for at the marsh, fun to spot because…

Bird Lore: Sharp-shinned Hawk

That small raptor bursting out of a hidden perch and rocketing through your yard in pursuit of small birds is a Sharp-shinned Hawk. It shares the genus Accipiter with the Cooper’s Hawk, a similar looking but slightly larger hunter. They are both uncommon residents of Edmonds and most of North America and they both hunt…

Bird Lore: Pelagic Cormorant

The Pelagic Cormorant is common along the Edmonds waterfront. Individuals rest communally during the day on the dolphins at the ferry dock but they are solitary when swimming and diving. It is the smallest cormorant along the West Coast and is noticeably smaller than the larger, and also common, Double-crested Cormorant. (Read more about the…

Bird Lore: Great Egret

The Great Egret, like the Great Blue Heron, is a large long-legged, long-billed wading bird. We are accustomed to seeing the blueish gray Great Blue Herons in the Edmonds Marsh, but every so often a Great Egret stops by. Most recently, one was in Edmonds early in November 2017. It stopped to feed alongside some…

Bird Lore: Brandt’s Cormorant

Of the three cormorant species that populate the Edmonds waterfront, the Brandt’s Cormorant is the least common, although it is a year-round resident and breeding bird of Washington. When seen on the Inland Marine Waters in winter, it is noted for its drab brown plumage, dark eye, and the distinctive buffy patch at the base…

Bird Lore: Common Redpoll

The Common Redpoll is a small finch that is a common arctic and subarctic breeder. It is common in winter across northern North America and sometimes makes its way to Edmonds. It is not seen here every year, but in irruption years such as this one, it is seen throughout Western Washington, including Edmonds. When…