News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

Return of the Scarlet-fronted Parakeets

January 25th, 2016 by Mike

Maple Leaf’s Scarlet-fronted Parakeets are back.

Or at least one is – on 12th Avenue Northeast just north of Northeast 89th Street, at 8 a.m.

We last posted on the feral flock in February 2015. We first wrote about them in 2010:

The flock has been around for decades, at least since the early 1990s, and possibly got started when bird-lovers discovered their pet parakeets were too loud to keep in the house. Local lore has it that the birds winter in Maple Leaf and spend summer vacations at Seward Park.

The size of the flock varies, but there don’t seem to be as many now as eight or 10 years ago, when a dozen or more parakeets would descend on the neighborhood. Over time they have been called parrots, Crimson-fronted parakeets, Red-fronted Conures and Mitred conures.

(Aratinga wagleri photo courtesy Dennis Paulson.)

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A Christmas duck for Maple Leaf

December 25th, 2015 by Mike

On Christmas Day one of the ponds in Maple Leaf Reservoir Park hosted a Mallard.

(We saw one on Easter this year, too. It’s on the park bird list.)

Earlier this fall, just at dusk, we saw a shorebird in this same pond, which we’ve listed as a Dunlin.

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Portrait of cell tower with two Osprey

June 21st, 2015 by Mike

And one fish.

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Our Scarlet-fronted Parakeets are back

February 14th, 2015 by Mike

Maple Leaf’s own feral flock of Scarlet-fronted Parakeets have returned.

At least a half-dozen of them were spotted (and heard!) at noon today near Northeast 88th Street and 12th Avenue Northeast.

They flew off to the northeast. (Minutes later, an American Crow chased a Merlin off a conifer near 15th Avenue Northeast. It flew off southeast.)

We last posted about the feral flock in 2011. Then, and more recently, only a few birds were seen.

We first wrote about them in 2010:

The flock has been around for decades, at least since the early 1990s, and possibly got started when bird-lovers discovered their pet parakeets were too loud to keep in the house. Local lore has it that the birds winter in Maple Leaf and spend summer vacations at Seward Park.

The size of the flock varies, but there don’t seem to be as many now as eight or 10 years ago, when a dozen or more parakeets would descend on the neighborhood. Over time they have been called parrots, Crimson-fronted parakeets, Red-fronted Conures and Mitred conures.

(Aratinga wagleri photo courtesy Dennis Paulson.)

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Merlin versus American Robin(s)

August 2nd, 2014 by Mike

After the thunderstorms … an avian tableau.

This young Merlin Sharp-shinned Hawk (right) is perched on a Douglas Fir high over Maple Leaf Life South.

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Update: Simone texts from eastern Washington, where she is flying falcons to protect crops, that our Sharpie is in fact a Merlin, she believes.

(Why? “Chunky body. Shorter tail than Shin. Fatter head than Shin, too. Hard to age Merlins sometimes but my guess adult but very hard to tell.”)

We believe her. She’s been a far better birder than we since we met her well over a dozen years ago. She was then …  14?

Merlins are rare in Seattle. From Simone’s 2011 post:

Merlins are much smaller than Peregrines, about the size of a robin, and usually hunt from the top of a prominent perch (i.e. the top of a tree), keeping an eye out for songbirds below. Merlins appear dark or even black and do not posses the “mask” of a Peregrine Falcon.

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This American Robin – plus at least one other adult robin and two Anna’s Hummingbirds – were not happy about it.

The robins have a nest – with two fledglings – about 50 feet away.

Earlier in the day a Pileated Woodpecker appeared briefly in the front yard – a first for us, and making our 49th 50th (Merlin) yard bird.

(We’ve got a long way to go, Dennis.)

For more posts on birds locally click here.

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And speaking of birds at the park…

May 9th, 2014 by Mike

…look who’s back this morning.

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A bird list for Maple Leaf Reservoir Park

November 10th, 2013 by Mike

NOTE: We’re updating the list as people add comments. Thanks!

From time to time (actually, more than two dozen times) we report on bird sightings in the neighborhood.

And now, we have a new park!

Put those two together and it’s obvious that what Maple Leaf needs is a list of birds spotted at, or from, Maple Leaf Reservoir Park.

Many birders have a “yard list” of species seen on or from their property. Here at Maple Leaf Life South, our list totals 47 48 (Hammond’s Flycatcher) 49 (Pileated Woodpecker). 50 (Merlin!) 51 Dunlin (!)

That pales when compared with the yard list compiled by Maple Leaf resident Dennis Paulson. It totals 113 avian species since 1991.

It helps that he lives above Thornton Creek. Also helps that he’s Dennis Paulson, director emeritus of The Slater Museum of Natural History at the University of Puget Sound. (He also wants to hear from neighbors who spot native wildlife here.)

Back to the park. While it was under construction, and since it opened, we’ve kept an informal list of birds we’ve seen there. So far it’s 38 species as of Nov. 10, 2013). We’d like it to grow.

* Bushtit
* Black-capped Chickadee
* Chestnut-backed Chickadee
* American Crow
*Rock Dove
* Dunlin
* Bald Eagle
* Peregrine Falcon
* House Finch
* Northern Flicker
* Canada Goose
* Glaucous-winged Gull (showing some hybridization with Western Gull – thanks, Dennis)
* Western Gull
* Cooper’s Hawk (being chased by crows) ALSO sitting in birch tree at park’s north side
* Sharp-shinned Hawk
* Great Blue Heron
* Anna’s Hummingbird (heard AND seen)
* Steller’s Jay
* Dark-eyed Junco
* Killdeer
* Golden-crowned Kinglet
* Mallard (Easter 2015)
* Merlin
* Red-breasted Nuthatch
* Osprey
*American Robin
* Golden-crowned Sparrow
* House Sparrow
* Savannah Sparrow
* Song Sparrow
* White-crowned Sparrow
* European Starling
* Barn Swallow
* Violet-green Swallow
* Trumpeter Swan
* Spotted Towhee
* Townsend’s Warbler (Thanks, Fulano, who says: NE Corner, Saturday, 2014-05-17, 11:15 a.m.)
* Wilson’s Warbler
* Bewick’s Wren

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Red crossbills still here – for the summer?

May 3rd, 2013 by Mike

The Red Crossbills we first wrote about a month ago are still here, up and down 12th Avenue Northeast and other spots in town.

Various reports over the past week:

I was watching a flock of about a dozen red crossbills working a tree in my neighbor’s backyard here in the Broadview neighborhood of North Seattle. First sighting in my neighborhood ever, for me anyway. Beautiful, chatty, entertaining critters they are!

Crossbills–They’re Everywhere!

The crossbills are even more tolerant of people than evening grosbeaks and  siskins, though they tend to be better at avoiding house/window hits. I can walk about four feet from our platform feeder without disturbing the  birds.

Around 1:00 this afternoon some volunteer work for  Seattle Audubon took me to a residential area near  122nd and Roosevelt in North Seattle. Noticing a  cone filled evergreen I wondered to myself if  Crossbills might like it when I heard birds  overhead and they landed immediately over me in  the exact spot. Fourteen Red Crossbills spent the  next 15 minutes gorging on the cones.

Could they be nesting?

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Red Crossbills (a type of finch with, yes, crossed bills) spotted at Maple Leaf Life!

April 6th, 2013 by Mike

Update Tuesday, April 9: Crossbills are still here!

For the first time in over a dozen years here, we’ve spotted male and female Red Crossbills in Maple Leaf.

They arrived on Friday, April 5th, and are still here this afternoon, at the bird feeders at 12th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 89th Street.

From the Sibley Guide to Birds, Red Crossbills are “uncommon and very irregular.”

Birds of Washington State explains:”With crossed bill tips and nimble tongues, crossbills are uniquely adapted for extracting seeds from conifer cones. ”

There have been a number of Red Crossbill sightings in the area recently.

Crossbills were seen in Des Moines earlier today, a female was seen in Wedgwood on Friday and a flock was spotted near the Woodland Park Zoo on Wednesday. (Information from bird listserve Tweeters.)

For more local information on Maple Leaf birds, click here.

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Was Saturday's power outage in Maple Leaf caused by a crow?

February 12th, 2012 by Mike

Power was out in much of Maple Leaf between about 1:15 and 2:00 Saturday afternoon, and Josh thinks the culprit was a bird – now deceased.

“Just a heads up to let you know the power outage was caused, apparently, by a crow electrocuted in power lines at 8th and 96th,” he emailed.

(We missed the outage, as we were chasing crows ourselves at the First Annual Edison Bird Festival.)

Kristin, on Northeast 97th Street between Roosevelt Way Northeast and Eighth Avenue Northeast, emailed: “All of the power went out around 1:20 p.m. Lights flickered, heard a boom, and all power went out. Any idea what caused it?”

Jeff emailed that he lost power at 1:24 p.m. at Northeast 95th Street and Roosevelt. “Is it just me or others without power too?”

Jill Killen, at Cloud City Coffee, said 2,344 Seattle City Light customers – most of Maple Leaf – were affected by the outage.

The outage was tracked on Twitter by neighboring blogs, and also by @outagetracker, which posts on outages throughout the country.

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