Birder's Guide

MAR 2016

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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Page 71 of 75

70 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2016 Birding in Seattle Access: Parking is easy, with two main lots in the East and South and a smaller permitted lot for waterfront ac- cess. By bus, take King County Metro route 24 or 33. Union Bay Natural Area The Union Bay Natural Area, also known as the Montlake Fill, is a parkland abut- ting the University of Washington's Center for Urban Horticulture that offers some of Seattle's best birding. The natu- ral area sprang from a site the University of Washington previously leased to the City of Seattle as a dump, which had been covered and left to its own devices until it was recognized as an urban na- ture haven. The 74 acres aren't "natural" in many respects, but don't let its former status fool you. A total of 210 species of birds have been recorded there. It's also the only site with an extensive wetland on this list. It may not be the best place for Northwest specialties, but if you are visiting the University of Washington's campus, this is a close and easy spot to bird with lots of species. Except for afternoons in the dead of summer, you'll generally fnd some- thing good between meadows, decidu- ous woodlands, wetlands, and the open water of Lake Washington. Spring and fall migrations can be exciting, with lots of songbirds passing through. The vari- ous small ponds are great for dabbling ducks, including Cinnamon Teal (May– September), and the muddy shores at - tract shorebirds in good variety, as it is one of only a few good places for migrat- ing shorebirds within city limits. Most marshy areas are also good for both Sora and Virginia Rail. Looking out onto the open freshwater of Union Bay on Lake Washington is a Clockwise from top: n Surfbirds and Black Turnstone. Photo © Peter Pearsall/USFWS n Male Anna's Hummingbird. Photo © Nagarajan Kanna n Ancient Murrelet. Photo © Brittany O'Connor n Violet-green Swallow. Photo © Charlie Wright Continued on page 72

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