Trip Report    

Naturalist Trip - Union Bay Natural Area & Yesler Swamp

Close looks at wintering birds. Good birding no matter what weather.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Record rainfall meant puddles on the trail, in some places running water. But not mucky or muddy.  Yesler Swamp walkways have wire mesh for safe footing and planks are slippery when venturing off the mesh.

    Cormorant and duck easily viewed from Yesler Swamp's walkway
    Yesler Swamp trail. Running water crossing the trail in front of the plank walkway

It was a great day for getting close looks at bird behaviors such as a Bald Eagle repeatedly strafing a large on-water swarm (flock) of American Coots but unsuccessful in its attempts to capture one. Later, getting an up-close view of one of these plump, chicken-like birds as it preened, showing us its long, unique lobed toes. In another place, once their heads were raised out of the water, elegant grey-colored floating muffs turned out to be Gadwall ducks. The squeaky-toy voices of a group of American Widgeon ducks were heard before being seen. The downpour didn’t faze the Green-winged teal ducks nor disguise their emerald feathers. To fling raindrops, the ruffled-feathered body shake of the Yellow-rumped Warbler provided a clear view of its bright-yellow rump despite its otherwise subdued winter plumage. Despite near record-breaking rainfall, this Naturalist group enjoyed the opportunities to identify 24 different types of birds ranging from raptors to song birds to waterfowl. Many thanks to trip participant, Ian Tenney, for the pictures.

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After unsuccessful grab for a Coot, Bald Eagle scolds another nearby eagle to back off! (photo by Ian Tenney)
AmericanCoot Dec2023 (Ian Tenney)a.jpg
American Coot shows us their lobed feet (photo by Ian Tenney)
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Northern Shoveler shows off her impressive shovel-shaped bill (photo by Ian Tenney)
GreenWing Teal Dec2023(IanTenney).jpg
Green-winged teak unfazed by the rain (photo by Ian Tenney)