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A Rare Bird Appearance on the Edmonds Waterfront

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After a full week of seeing the same rare bird notification show up on my eBird app, and noting that it was seen daily at Brackett’s Landing just down the road from my home I decided maybe I should go see this bird for myself. I usually don’t jump when I see rare bird notifications as we prefer birding based more on weather and location rather than just what birds may or may not be there! But it is a very cool feature of the app to get notifications for your local county when someone sights a rare bird for the area. So what was the unexpected visitor on the Edmonds’ Waterfront? A Gray-crowned Rosy Finch.

Gray-crowned Rosy Finch prefer to live at much higher elevation or higher latitude. In Washington State they live mostly in the Cascades but will come down during winter months to the lower elevations, but mostly on the east side of the state. So this one found down in Edmonds was quite a rare occurrence. I was glad to be able to work my way through a flock of other bird photographers to get a few pictures. This finch was bouncing around the large rocks at Brackett’s Landing, snacking on what looked like seeds from some succulents growing around the rocks in the beach sand.

Another bird that likes to visit lower elevations in winter is the Varied Thrush, and it just so happened that on the same day I photographed the Rosy Finch the first Varied Thrush I’d seen this fall arrived in my yard. I like to think of Varied Thrush as Robins of winter, they are the same size and shape, but with really fetching orange coloring.

Lastly we also visited the Edmonds Marsh because it’s just a short distance from the waterfront and it’s always fun to stop by and see what birds are out. There are always a lot of ducks, this time Mallards and Gadwalls were visible, we also saw at least seven or eight Great Blue Heron’s which is quite a few from what I’m used to. The resident Anna’s Hummingbird was also there, but what caught our eye was a bunch of little birds flocking together high in the trees and making quite a lot of noise. It turned out to be a large flock of Pine Siskin, another nomadic finch enjoying the sunny day and digging into pine cones for a meal! Here is a short clip of them, small hard to see but you’ll notice all the noise and activity. Some more close up shots in the gallery below, as well as a Marsh Wren, who are often heard but not seen down at the Edmonds Marsh, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler – enjoy!


Things to Note:

  • The Gray-crowned Rosy Finch on our beach was quite popular – it made the local news as well! A very nice photo of the same Rosy finch at that link.

Useful Links:

  • Check out all our other birding and nature adventures here.
  • Please check out the Kingsyard banner above and give it click. They make some really cool bird feeders and bird houses that you’ll want to check out!
  • Most of these shots were taken with the Sony a7 along with the Sony FE 200-600mm lens.


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