Bird Lore: Merlin

The Merlin is a small falcon (only 10 inches in length) that can be found around the world, breeding in northern latitudes and then retreating a bit for winter. Edmonds is situated within a range of permanent residency for this falcon. It can be seen from time to time just about anywhere in Edmonds, but…

Bird Lore: Peregrine Falcon

The Peregrine Falcon is a fast-flying, powerful predator that hunts medium-sized birds. In the U.S. it is most commonly seen along the coasts and in the west. This species can be seen in Edmonds, on occasion, throughout the year because the Pacific Northwest population does not migrate. It can be seen flying along the waterfront,…

Bird Lore: Virginia Rail

The Virginia Rail is a secretive creature of freshwater and coastal marshes, hiding in cattails and other tall plants. It can be heard more often than it is seen. It is most often seen at dawn or dusk on the muddy edge of vegetation, where it will walk into and out of the open. Mark…

Bird Lore: American Robin

Today is LeRoy VanHee’s last regular photo contribution to Bird Lore. The column will continue on a biweekly basis with contributions by other photographers. Look for the next Bird Lore column on Friday, Oct. 23. Look for the American Robin running across your lawn or a grassy play field, during the morning hours when it…

Bird Lore: Surf Scoter

The Surf Scoter is a diving sea duck that can be seen along the Edmonds waterfront in fall and winter. The winter flock starts to build in September, usually with some ducks seen flying by. Then a few are seen on the water and the winter flock seems to grow day by day. Early in…

Bird Lore: Common Tern

The Common Tern is a medium-sized tern that can be seen along the Edmonds waterfront during September and October. At this time it is migrating to its wintering grounds along the coasts of Central and South America. The numbers that pass through the Edmonds area vary each year. This has been a good month for…

Bird Lore: Western Grebe

The Western Grebe is a gregarious diving bird. It nests in colonies and it winters in flocks, mainly on sheltered coastal bays and estuaries. A large flock, whose size varies from year to year, winters in the offshore waters between Edmonds and Whidbey Island. The flock has been known to move up the west side…

Bird Lore: The Common Merganser

The Common Merganser is the largest of the mergansers and one of the larger of all ducks. All three North American mergansers are distinguished from other ducks by their long, narrow bills with serrated edges. The Common Merganser is the typical merganser of freshwater lakes and rivers. It will also frequent coastal bays in winter….

Bird Lore: American Wigeon

Ducks are starting to return to Edmonds and the American Wigeon has already been sighted in the marsh over the last few days. This dabbling duck is present most of the year on our larger fresh water ponds, in fields, and along the waterfront. It only retreats from our locale for the several months that…

Bird Lore: Common Murre

Alcids are swimming and diving birds of the coast and the open sea. The Common Murre is one of the two largest seabirds in the alcid family. It is a denizen of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic. A common to abundant resident along Washington’s coast, this murre can be fairly common in the…

Bird Lore: California Gull

The California Gull is a common summer visitor to the Edmonds waterfront. Upwards of several hundred can be seen flying about, floating on the nearshore waters, at rest on the dock roofs of the marina or at the Shell Creek mouth. This is a gull of western North America. Range expansion brought the first colony…

Bird Lore: Western Sandpiper

The Western Sandpiper is a long-distance migrant that passes through Edmonds during spring and fall shorebird migration. It is mostly seen at the Edmonds marsh but can be spotted occasionally along Edmonds beaches on lower tides. It is one of the most abundant shorebirds along the West Coast. It winters as far south as Peru…

Bird Lore: Glaucous-winged Gull

The Glaucous-winged Gull is a large white-headed gull. Its yellow bill has a red spot, its back and wings are silver-gray, and its legs are pink. It is a resident of coastal regions of the north Pacific Ocean, from northern Oregon to northern Japan. In winter it retreats from its northernmost range and can be…

Bird Lore: Greater Yellowlegs

The Greater Yellowlegs is a wading shorebird of freshwater ponds and tidal marshes that winters along the coastal United States. It breeds in muskeg and bogs that are inhospitable to humans, across the middle latitudes of Canada, from coastal Alaska to the Maritime Provinces. It is now showing up in the Edmonds marsh because fall…

Bird Lore: Green Heron

The Green Heron is a solitary bird, except when breeding. It is short and stocky, with short, bright yellow legs. This secretive heron usually lives around small bodies of water or in densely vegetated areas. It can be seen annually in Edmonds with some difficulty but has not been known to breed here. The Edmonds…

Bird Lore: Downy Woodpecker

If you see a small, nimble woodpecker in your backyard, more than likely it is a Downy Woodpecker. This black-and-white woodpecker is a common and widespread permanent resident of most of North America, including Edmonds. It is North America’s smallest woodpecker. The male has a red patch on its head. The Downy looks similar to…

Bird Lore: Caspian Tern

The Caspian Tern is the largest of the sea swallows, so called because most terns have long, pointed wings and deeply-forked tails. All terns are members of the gull family. The Caspian Tern is a widespread, migratory tern, seen all around the world with a few geographic exceptions. In Edmonds it is seen in small…

Bird Lore: Savannah Sparrow

For a migrant, the Savannah Sparrow is pretty much a North American stay-at-home kind of bird. It winters only as far south as Mexico and Cuba and can also be found across the southern tier of states at that time of year. In summer it migrates as far north as it can go and still…

Bird Lore: Pigeon Guillemot

The Pigeon Guillemot is another member of the alcid family, a diving seabird of the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Canada. It inhabits ocean waters near rocky shorelines and the inland marine waters. It can be seen along the Edmonds waterfront in all seasons. It seems to favor the roiling water behind the ferries…

Bird Lore: Rhinoceros Auklet

The Rhinoceros Auklet is a chunky little seabird that belongs to the alcid family. It is common along the Edmonds waterfront and offshore waters throughout the year. Sometimes it can be seen quite close to the public pier. Both sexes of this auklet grow a white horn on the bill each spring, which gives rise…

Bird Lore: Marbled Murrelet

The seabird that is also a forest bird. That is the Marbled Murrelet, a member of the alcid family that includes murrelets, murres, guillemots and puffins. All of these North American seabirds nest on rocky, offshore islets along the Pacific Coast. Not so the Marbled Murrelet. At some point in its evolutionary past, it discovered…

Bird Lore: Blue-winged Teal

The Blue-winged Teal is an occasional visitor to Edmonds, usually seen in the marsh in spring. Last year two males passed through, spending several days around the marsh. Within the last couple of weeks there were two males and a female. LeRoy’s photos are of two of this year’s visitors, a drake (above) and a…

Bird Lore: Song Sparrow

The Song Sparrow is so widespread across North America that it has been called the default sparrow. It can be found in a variety of habitats, including brushy fields, along streams, marsh edges, woodland edges, and well-vegetated gardens and parks. So you have the opportunity to see this sparrow and listen to its melodious song…

Bird Lore: Belted Kingfisher

One of our Edmonds residents is the Belted Kingfisher. When seen, it is usually along the waterfront, particularly around the marina and the public pier, or at the marsh. One is often photographed atop the fish sculptures on the north breakwater. The Belted Kingfisher is one of the most widely distributed birds in North America….

Bird Lore: Mallard

Even if you go out of your way to ignore birds, it is difficult not to notice the Mallard. First, it is probably the most common and abundant duck species around. Second, the drake is a knock-out with his bright yellow bill, iridescent green head, white collar ring, brown chest and light-colored body. He is…