News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


The park Christmas duck has found a mate

January 15th, 2016 by Mike

The Mallard drake spotted in north Maple Leaf Reservoir Park on Christmas Day has apparently found a mate.

They were together Thursday and this afternoon.

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The (re)return of the Maple Leaf coyote

October 26th, 2015 by Mike

Laure emails over the weekend:

“Pretty cool thing happening in our neighborhood: This is the second time in a week that we’ve seen a coyote in our backyard!

“The first time was last Friday at sunrise (around 7 a.m.), just passing through our yard. The second time was today while eating lunch. It was at first hiding behind the trees so we went in the back to see if it was the coyote or just the neighbor dog, and we saw it running away in the bushes just behind our house (running towards the forest west of the Sacajawea grass area). We live just next to Sacajawea school, on 17th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 96th St.

“Bring your pets inside at night, our neighbor just lost his cat and suspects now it was the coyote. The coyote looks well fed and in good health (although I’m not a vet…).

Previous coyote sightings here were in September, April and January, all of this year. That’s the January coyote in the photo.

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Damage at Maple Leaf beaver pond – beavers at risk?

February 10th, 2012 by Mike

Maple Leaf’s Beaver Pond Natural Area has been in the news lately, but not because of the beavers.

We got 94 comments on our initial post about nearly 50 trees being vandalized in December.

Then the Seattle parks department and City Light posted notices that a number of trees in the beaver pond proper, at 8th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 105th Street, had been substantially damaged by the beavers and were “dying or standing dead.

“This created a situation of imminent danger and hazard to the public and a high probability of severe damages to nearby electrical infrastructure and private property from tree failure.”

Then came January’s snow and ice storm.

This week trucks and crews from City Light were at the pond. “We worked with parks and personnel from ecology and took down a number of trees girdled by the beavers,” said the utility’s Scott Thomsen.

Thomsen said a particular problem is very high-voltage transmission lines that carry 230 kilovolts from electrical substations. Those lines are on the pond’s western border, and were in reach of damaged trees. Update: Thomsen emails: “We have transmission and distribution lines in that area. The transmission line is 115 kilovolts. The distribution lines are 26 kilovolts.”

Many of the felled trees will be left in place to provide habitat, and the park department plans to plant replacement trees. “It is our goal to protect the wetland and leave as many snags and large woody debris in the wetland habitat as is feasible,” according to the posted notice.

Now the beavers might be in trouble. [

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Second wildlife alert – masked bandit in action

August 25th, 2011 by Mike

This post courtesy of our sister site Fremont Universe.

For those of you who read, and commented on, our report on a raccoon attack here last week, we picked up this  nugget  from our Fremont site.

“Meet Rocky, a raccoon who shows up at a home in Fremont often to do whatever it is that Rocky is doing.”

Catie, who shot the video, says the action took place three feet from her bedroom window.

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Neighborhood wildlife alert – this time for bald-faced hornets

August 25th, 2011 by Mike

Phil and his daughter Jenna found this nest in the traffic circle at Northeast 91st Street and 8th Avenue Northeast.

“It is the size of a basketball and very active. Amazing how fast they grow,” he writes.

He – and we – believe it is a nest of bald-faced hornets, and Dennis Paulson, director emeritus of The Slater Museum of Natural History,confirms.

Photos courtesy Phil Borgnes

We’re wondering if it’s still there, though. A drive-by early this a.m., before the hornets were active, didn’t immediately produce a basketball in that tree.

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Dog Oasis gets donation of raccoon-thwarting jar

August 23rd, 2011 by Mike

The Maple Leaf Dog Oasis is happy to thank Elly for the donation of a new treat jar  to the popular canine attraction at the corner of 12th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 89th Street.

And not just any jar.

THIS jar has a sturdy handle molded right into the body of the jar. Try and get through that, masked bandits!

Last Friday morning dogs being walked along 12th were left bereft after the Dog Oasis suffered an overnight raccoon attack.

The previous jar could only be tethered to the oasis by a flimsy handle that didn’t stand up long to raccoon teeth and paws. It was MIA by first light (and later recovered in a neighbor’s back yard).

The Dog.Oasis has been getting by on a temporary jar since, but THIS jar is now in place, thanks to Elly.

While we’re on the subject, the Dog Oasis maintainers (that would be me and Caroline) would like to remind folks to screw the lid back on fully after treating their dog. Otherwise squirrels, which aren’t strong enough to steal the jar but ARE able to pry off an ill-secured lid, clean us out about once a month.

Incidentally, there have been quite a few raccoon comments on the original post. You can read them here.

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Help hunt for native neighborhood wildlife

March 27th, 2011 by Mike

Calling all hometown coyotes, frogs and snakes. Together with other reptiles, amphibians and mammals who originally lived here.

A noted naturalist who is also a Maple Leaf resident is wondering how many of our native animal species are still in the neighborhood.

“I’m wondering what part of the original fauna of the city is still hanging around in what seems a nicely wooded neighborhood with natural amenities such as the Thornton Creek ravine,” writes Dennis Paulson.

“When we first moved in here 19 years ago, I would occasionally hear a coyote, but I haven’t heard one for many years now.”

Paulson is director emeritus of The Slater Museum of Natural History at the University of Puget Sound. He is an internationally acknowledged expert on birds and dragon flies, and can sometimes be seen on the street here photographing the Scarlet-fronted parakeets of Maple Leaf.

Last spring he  introduced several clutches of Pacific Chorus Frogs into his backyard pond. “We know they hatched, as we saw small tadpoles and a few metamorphosed individuals, but I have neither seen nor heard any frogs since then,” Paulson writes.  “It would be so cool if they did get established in the neighborhood, but I don’t know if our pond will be suitable or not. They were certainly here originally, but most of our reptiles and amphibians seem to be wiped out by urbanization.”

Paulson wants to get emails from anyone who spots native wildlife. “I welcome hearing about any frog, salamander, or snake that anyone ever sees anywhere near here! Ditto native mammals other than raccoon or bats or moles.” Editor’s note: He does know about the beavers in Thornton Creek Park No. 6.

“It is important to point out that two commonly seen mammals, eastern gray squirrels and possums, are not native.” That means he doesn’t need reports about them, nor the aforementioned raccoons, bats or moles.

“I have never seen a reptile or amphibian in the neighborhood, nor any native mammal other than the ones I named.”

For other critters,  email Paulson: dennispaulson at

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Raccoon alert – inside the house!

June 28th, 2010 by Mike

Kate writes to warn of an unusually bold raccoon:

There has been a raccoon on the block of 12th between 90th and 91st, it has been going in homes looking for food and it’s quite bold.

The crows squawk when it is on the move; your article on the crows reminded me of the raccoon.  Anyway, it has been in our yard, in the house across the street, probably in our house (through the cat door) and all along fences in the backyards.  Would be nice if we could get a photo for the blog!

We’d love to have a photo!

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Sick wildlife alert: Raccoons with distemper

April 17th, 2010 by Mike

A visibly healthy raccoon in a Maple Leaf front yard.

Our news partners at The Seattle Times are citing an Associated Press report that raccoons apparently suffering from canine distemper have been found in Bellevue, Redmond and Renton.

The Seattle-King County Health Department said Friday the disease could spread to dogs if they have not been vaccinated.

Animal Control and state Fish and Wildlife officials say pets should be fed indoors and people should not feed raccoons or allow them to eat pet food or garbage.

Raccoons also present a risk of spreading other diseases, including rabies.

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What should we build in Maple Leaf's Park No. 6?

April 14th, 2010 by Mike

There’s a huge amount of discussion going on about what the new park on top of the Maple Leaf reservoir should look like. (Don’t forget to attend the meeting next Thursday evening. Here’s a summary of results from the last one.)

Meanwhile, there’s a little-known park to the north where the Maple Leaf beavers and, sometimes, brightly marked wood ducks live. It’s is officially called Thornton Creek Park No. 6 by both the city and the Homewaters Project.

What should we build there? The answer, according to Seattle Parks and Recreation, is “not much.”

“The park will remain a natural area, with passive use,” said Cheryl Eastberg of the parks department. “It really doesn’t have any areas that would support active use” such as a playground, she said.

[

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