Bird Lore: Wilson’s Snipe

Wilson’s Snipe is a stocky shorebird with a straight, long bill that frequents marshes, bogs, and wet meadows. In Edmonds, look for it in fall and winter along the grasses on the west side of the marsh. Wilson’s Snipe breeds across Alaska, Canada, and the northern tier of the Lower 48. It winters across the…

Bird Lore: California Scrub-Jay

The California Scrub-Jay is a bird sporting a new name. Up until this past summer, the Western Scrub-Jay would occasionally visit Edmonds, usually in the fall. There has been a recent split of the species based on DNA studies. We now see a bird that has been renamed California Scrub-Jay. In the 1950s the California…

Bird Lore: American Pipit

The American Pipit, an uncommon bird in Edmonds, can be seen in the marsh during spring migration and along the shoreline in fall migration. Some can hear it calling a sharp pi-pit as it flies over head. While this bird is often seen in flocks, it is usually seen as a single bird in Edmonds….

Bird Lore: Red-necked Phalarope

The Red-necked Phalarope is a small, darkish aquatic sandpiper with a short, needle-like bill. It passes through Washington waters as it migrates between its winter range in the Humboldt Current and other Southern Hemisphere areas and its breeding territory in the arctic tundra. Typically, this phalarope can be seen in the Inland Marine Waters in…

Bird Lore: Pectoral Sandpiper

The Pectoral Sandpiper is a medium-sized shorebird. It looks a lot like a Least Sandpiper but is about twice the size. It winters in South America and mostly passes through the eastern half of the U.S. on its way to and from its breeding grounds in the Arctic. Small numbers of this species migrate through…

Bird Lore: Swainson’s Thrush

The Swainson’s Thrush is a herald of spring to many people. This neotropic migrant appears in Washington in May and departs by mid- to late-September. It can be found throughout Western Washington, from the Cascade Range to the Olympic Peninsula. This species also occupies the moister woods of mountainous regions in the northeast and southeast…

Bird Lore: Brown-headed Cowbirds

Right now there are a number of young Brown-headed Cowbirds around Edmonds. Some cowbirds are year-round residents of Western Washington and some arrive in April as migrants. While cowbirds can be found in winter in any large mixed flock of blackbirds at Snohomish County fields and dairy farms, they do not arrive in Edmonds until…

Bird Lore: Wilson’s Warbler

A tiny burst of yellow with a blackish to black skull cap and an olive-green back, is the Wilson’s Warbler. It is one of the most common migratory warblers in the Western U.S. It is a common summer resident and migrant in Western Washington that can be seen from April through September. LeRoy recently caught…

Bird Lore: Black-headed Grosbeak

The Black-headed Grosbeak is a fairly common migrant that spends the summer in Washington’s low-elevation forests and riparian corridors. It arrives in May and leaves by September. It prefers deciduous vegetation so public locations where it can be found in Edmonds include the Willow Creek Hatchery and Yost Park. If you offer larger sunflower seed…

Bird Lore: Yellow Warbler

The Yellow Warbler is a common migrant and summer resident in much of Western Washington. It begins to arrive in April and starts leaving in August. It passes through Edmonds every year and sometimes one or more remain for the summer. This warbler can often be found near water with willows, alders, and cottonwoods. Appropriate…

Bird Lore: Warbling Vireo

The Warbling Vireo is one of three migratory vireos that are regular summer residents of Washington. Although it is a common breeding bird of much of Washington, it is not known if it breeds in Edmonds. It definitely spends time in Edmonds as it migrates through the area in May and as it returns south…

Bird Lore: Whimbrel

The Whimbrel is a medium-sized, wading shorebird with a long, curved bill. It passes through Edmonds each spring, in small numbers, on its way to its Arctic breeding grounds. It is usually seen in flight along the waterfront and, occasionally, on a beach. LeRoy recently found this Whimbrel at Marina Beach Park. The Whimbrel is…

Bird Lore: Black-throated Gray Warbler

The Black-throated Gray Warbler is a short-distance migrant that winters in Mexico in pine-oak woods and dense thorn scrub. It arrives on its breeding range in the Western U.S. and a small part of British Columbia starting in March. This warbler usually shows up in Edmonds by late April. The male arrives first, often seen…

Bird Lore: Pacific-slope Flycatcher

The Pacific-slope Flycatcher is a short-distance migrant that is moving through Puget Sound Country right now. Flycatchers can be difficult to see as they often stay high in the canopy of trees when they move through in migration. They are more frequently heard and then seen by locating the source of their song. Yost Park…

Bird Lore: Turkey Vulture

The Turkey Vulture is one of the sanitation workers of the skies. It labors in the fields of the dead so that we are not surrounded by the stench of bloated carcasses. It circles and soars, always on the lookout for roadkill and other edible opportunities. This migratory raptor starts showing up in Snohomish County…

Bird Lore: Tree Swallow

The Tree Swallow passes through Edmonds every year in small numbers. It has not been known to nest in the city. Last June, we watched a pair of Tree Swallows try mightily to use one of the new Purple Martin nest boxes on the Olympic Beach pilings. It was a vacant box but the Purple…

Bird Lore: Golden-crowned Kinglet

The Golden-crowned Kinglet is the conifer kinglet. While the Ruby-crowned Kinglet favors deciduous vegetation on its winter grounds, the Golden-crowned Kinglet favors conifers. It can be found year-round in Western Washington and the mountainous regions of Washington. Look for it in any forested areas. It may be overlooked in summer because of its occurrence in…

Bird Lore: Ruby-crowned Kinglet

A tiny package of restless and overflowing energy is the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Nature writer Pete Dunne describes it as a bird that moves like spit on a skillet. It constantly flicks its wings as it moves through the understory and trees in search of food. This kinglet, found throughout the United States, is a breeding…

Bird Lore: White-winged Scoter

Scoters are dark sea ducks that spend most of the year on oceans and saltwater bays. The White-winged Scoter is the largest scoter. During fall and winter months, it can be seen occasionally on the water but most often flying by Edmonds. Flocks typically fly low over the sea and in irregular lines. It winters…

Bird Lore: Mew Gull

The Mew Gull is one of the smallest of the white-headed gulls. It breeds around the world at the higher northern latitudes. In Europe it is called the Common Gull. Many of the birds from the Alaska and Northwestern Canada breeding populations winter along the West Coast. This gull contrasts with our larger Glaucous-winged Gull…

Bird Lore: Dunlin

The Dunlin is a common winter resident in Western Washington. Thousands can be seen in Port Susan Bay near Stanwood. Much smaller numbers irregularly appear along the Edmonds waterfront in winter. They can be seen flying along the Sound in flocks, landing on the marina’s breakwaters. or perching on logs tethered in the Underwater Park,…

Bird Lore: Surfbird

The Surfbird, a medium-sized gray shorebird, winters along rocky shorelines pounded by surf. The only rocky shoreline in Edmonds is the marina’s breakwater. In recent history, a birder saw a Surfbird on the breakwater in September 1999. There was no subsequent documented sighting until August 2013 when another showed up briefly one day. Then in…

Bird Lore: Varied Thrush

Now that the cold, drier weather is here, there are more opportunities to see the Varied Thrush around Edmonds. A relative of the American Robin, this thrush has been described as a robin decorated for Halloween because of its mosaic of black, blue gray and orange plumage. The Varied Thrush is present in Edmonds from…

Bird Lore: Townsend’s Warbler

The Townsend’s Warbler is a common Northwest forest breeder and fairly common winter resident in the Puget lowlands. This warbler prefers conifer trees and can be found throughout Edmonds during late fall and winter months. If you are in one of our forested parks, look for the flashes of black and bright yellow in the…

Bird Lore: Black Turnstone

The Black Turnstone is a small shorebird that works the rocky shorelines of the Pacific coast in winter. It prefers cobble beaches, jetties, and breakwaters, but occasionally can be found on mudflats and sandy beaches. The most reliable sites in Edmonds are the marina breakwater and the jetty at Brackett’s Landing North. Look for it…