Discovery Park (Seattle)

47.66198 , -122.42189

United States Of America

Discovery Park (known as "Disco" to local birders) lies along the eastern shores of Puget Sound between Eliott Bay and the Lake Washington Ship Canal. As the largest Seattle city park, Discovery Park boasts the best diversity of any birding site in the Seattle area (and second highest in Washington) having recorded over 280 species. This site is unique to the area in that it contains a variety of habitats with a diversity of plant life along with a point that juts westward into Puget Sound narrowing the distance between landmasses and providing some of the best seawatching in the area. 

At 534 acres, this regionally large green space is a trap for migrants and hosts a variety of breeding birds. There are roughly two miles of protected tidal beaches along with open meadows, decidious and coniferous woodlands, and a few streams and fresh-water ponds all open to the public to bird. Nationally, Discovery Park is best known for having hosted one of the few Lower 48 records of crested auklet along with the first Lower 48 record of Eurasian hobby. 

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The introductory text should contain general information about the site, which may include for instance:
• geographic/ biogeographic location
• habitat and vegetation
• typical bird species/bird communities
• protection status
• land use and history
• importance for birdwatching

Coordinates were set by Mathias Ritschard (Admin) : 47.6620/-122.4219 (2020-11-20 14:39:17 )

Site name was set by Mathias Ritschard (Admin) as "Discovery Park (Seattle)" (2020-11-20 14:39:17 )

Edited by Eric Hope on 2021-09-10 00:09:09
Discovery Park (known as "Disco" to local birders) lies along the eastern shores of Puget Sound between Eliott Bay and the Lake Washington Ship Canal. As the largest Seattle city park, Discovery Park boasts the best diversity of any birding site in the Seattle area (and second highest in Washington) having recorded over 280 species. This site is unique to the area in that it contains a variety of habitats with a diversity of plant life along with a point that juts westward into Puget Sound narrowing the distance between landmasses and providing some of the best seawatching in the area.  At 534 acres, this regionally large green space is a trap for migrants and hosts a variety of breeding birds. There are roughly two miles of protected tidal beaches along with open meadows, decidious and coniferous woodlands, and a few streams and fresh-water ponds all open to the public to bird. Nationally, Discovery Park is best well known for having hosted one of the few Lower 48 records of crested auklet along with the first Lower 48 record of Eurasian hobby. 
Edited by Eric Hope on 2021-08-23 00:32:28
Discovery Park (known as "Disco" to local birders) lies along the eastern shores of Puget Sound between Eliott Bay and the Lake Washington Ship Canal. As the largest Seattle city park, Discovery Park boasts the best diversity of any birding site in the Seattle area having (and second highest in Washington) having recorded over 280 species. This site is unique to the area in that it contains a variety of habitats with a diversity of plant life along with a point that juts westward into Puget Sound narrowing the distance between landmasses and providing some of the best seawatching in the area.  At 534 acres, this regionally large green space is a trap for migrants and hosts a variety of breeding birds. There are roughly two miles of protected tidal beaches along with open meadows, decidious and coniferous woodlands, and a few streams and fresh-water ponds all open to the public to bird. Nationally, Discovery Park is best well known for having hosted one of the few Lower 48 records of crested auklet along with the first Lower 48 record of Eurasian hobby. 
Edited by Eric Hope on 2021-08-22 22:06:05
Discovery Park (known as "Disco" to local birders) lies along the eastern shores of Puget Sound between Eliott Bay and the Lake Washington Ship Canal. As the largest Seattle city park, Discovery Park boasts the best diversity of any birding site in the Seattle area having recorded over 280 species. This site is unique to the area in that it contains a variety of habitats with a diversity of plant life along with a point that juts westward into Puget Sound narrowing the distance between landmasses and providing some of the best seawatching in the area.  At 534 acres, this regionally large green space is a trap for migrants and hosts a variety of breeding birds. There are roughly two miles of protected tidal beaches along with open meadows, decidious and coniferous woodlands, and a few streams and fresh-water ponds all open to the public to bird. Nationally, Discovery Park is best well known for having hosted one of the few Lower 48 records of crested auklet along with the first Lower 48 record of Eurasian hobby. 

List up to ca. 25 species that:
• have a limited distribution range and/or are rare on a global level
• are most sought-after by birdwatchers at this site
• and are relatively easy to see at this site (year-round or seasonally)

Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata)
Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna)
Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba)
Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus)
Ancient Murrelet (Synthliboramphus antiquus)
Rhinoceros Auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata)
Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens)
Brandt's Cormorant (Urile penicillatus)
Pelagic Cormorant (Urile pelagicus)
Pacific-slope Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis)
Hutton's Vireo (Vireo huttoni)
Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)
Pacific Wren (Troglodytes pacificus)
Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)
Black-throated Gray Warbler (Setophaga nigrescens)

Black-throated Gray Warbler (Setophaga nigrescens) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:08:00)

Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:07:19)

Pacific Wren (Troglodytes pacificus) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:07:01)

Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:06:30)

Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:06:18)

Pacific-slope Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:05:47)

Pelagic Cormorant (Urile pelagicus) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:04:49)

Brandt's Cormorant (Urile penicillatus) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:04:40)

Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:04:12)

Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) was deleted by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:03:42)

Parasitic Jaeger (Stercorarius parasiticus) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:03:21)

Ancient Murrelet (Synthliboramphus antiquus) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:01:21)

Band-tailed Pigeon (Patagioenas fasciata) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:00:58)

Rhinoceros Auklet (Cerorhinca monocerata) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:00:38)

Pigeon Guillemot (Cepphus columba) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 23:00:29)

Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 22:59:51)

Hutton's Vireo (Vireo huttoni) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 22:59:39)

Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) was added by Eric Hope (2021-08-22 22:59:20)

There are several ways to tackle Discovery Park depending on what targets you have and its very possible to bird the majority of the park and do some seawatching as well in the same outing. As a general rule, diversity will be at its highest in May and late August through September. 

If seawatching is part of your plan, it's important to get to West Point early. Although many seabirds may be seen throughout the day, the vast majority of movement happens close to dawn so watching for flybys early will give you the greatest chance of seeing the most species. While some birds may fly near to shore, most will be flying at a fair distance and a spotting scope is essential if you want to identify every bird flying past. Note that just beyond the yellow buoy (looking just north of due west) is the county line and birds seen flying beyond that point will likely be in Kitsap (rather than King) County. The species encountered on Puget Sound do change seasonally so knowing what's expected in the area while you're there can help you identify some of those further-flying birds. While you may get lucky quickly, it's certainly worthwhile spending two or more hours here to have the highest likelihood of getting a good survey of what's around.

If you're planning to bird away from West Point, there are a number of areas to check out. The Loop Trail can be accessed at any of the parking lots and will take you around the majority of the park. It hits several good birding locations traveling through various habitats including open meadows and both deciduous and mixed woodland. There are several offshoots to this trail which allow further access throughout the park but it can become confusing so be sure to have a map on hand/phone if you want to ensure you don't backtrack too often. Birding the entirety of this area well may take as much as 3-4 hours depending on how slowly you're traveling.

Give recommendations for making your visit as productive as possible.
This may include for instance:
• best season
• best time of the day
• how much time to spend at the site
• best means of locomotion within the site
• recommended routes / areas within the site
• guiding

Edited by Eric Hope on 2021-08-22 23:11
There are several ways to tackle Discovery Park depending on what targets you have and its very possible to bird the majority of the park and do some seawatching as well in the same outing. As a general rule, diversity will be at its highest in May and late August through September.  If seawatching is part of your plan, it's important to get to West Point early. Although many seabirds may be seen throughout the day, the vast majority of movement happens close to dawn so watching for flybys early will give you the greatest chance of seeing the most species. While some birds may fly near to shore, most will be flying at a fair distance and a spotting scope is essential if you want to identify every bird flying past. Note that just beyond the yellow buoy (looking just north of due west) is the county line and birds seen flying beyond that point will likely be in Kitsap (rather than King) County. The species encountered on Puget Sound do change seasonally so knowing what's expected in the area while you're there can help you identify some of those further-flying birds. While you may get lucky quickly, it's certainly worthwhile spending two or more hours here to have the highest likelihood of getting a good survey of what's around. If you're planning to bird away from West Point, there are a number of areas to check out. The Loop Trail can be accessed at any of the parking lots and will take you around the majority of the park. It hits several good birding locations traveling through various habitats including open meadows and both deciduous and mixed woodland. There are several offshoots to this trail which allow further access throughout the park but it can become confusing so be sure to have a map on hand/phone if you want to ensure you don't backtrack too often. Birding the entirety of this area well may take as much as 3-4 hours depending on how slowly you're traveling.
Edited by Eric Hope on 2021-08-22 22:54
There are several ways to tackle Discovery Park depending on what targets you have and its very possible to bird the majority of the park and do some seawatching as well in the same outing. As a general rule, diversity will be at its highest in May and late August through September.  If seawatching is part of your plan, it's important to get to West Point early. Although many seabirds may be seen throughout the day, the vast majority of movement happens close to dawn so watching for flybys early will give you the greatest chance of seeing the most species. While some birds may fly near to shore, most will be flying at a fair distance and a spotting scope is essential if you want to identify every bird flying past. Note that just beyond the yellow buoy (looking just north of due west) is the county line and birds seen flying beyond that point will likely be in Kitsap (rather than King) County. The species encountered on Puget Sound do change seasonally so knowing what's expected in the area while you're there can help you identify some of those further-flying birds. While you may get lucky quickly, it's certainly worthwhile spending two or more hours here to have the highest likelihood of getting a good survey of what's around. If you're planning to bird away from West Point, there are a number of areas to check out. The Loop Trail can be accessed at any of the parking lots and will take you around the majority of the park. It hits several good birding locations traveling through various habitats including open meadows and both deciduous and mixed woodland. There are several offshoots to this trail which allow further access throughout the park but it can become confusing so be sure to have a map on hand/phone if you want to ensure you don't backtrack too often. Birding the entirety of this area well may take as much as 3-4 hours depending on how slowly you're traveling.

Discovery Park is roughly a 15-minute drive from downtown Seattle. It can also be accessed via King County Metro Transit buses.

Explain from where and how to get to this site with private and public transport.

Edited by Eric Hope on 2021-08-22 23:10
Discovery Park is roughly a 15-minute drive from downtown Seattle. It can also be accessed via King County Metro Transit buses.

There are three main parking lots in Discovery Park: the North, South, and East Lot. These lots are all free to park in but may become busy in the afternoons, especially on weekends. There is also a small parking lot at West Point that may be accessed by permit only (issued at the Visitor Center generally for those with mobility issues).

The park may be accesed 24 hours/day but the parking lots are generally open dawn-dusk. There are a few areas just outside the park (especially near the South Lot) where you can park in adjacent neighborhoods or along the road if you want to access the park outside these hours.

Provide information on how to enter this site, which may include:
• entry points
• entry permits / entry tickets and fees
• opening hours / opening season
• other restrictions

Note that this section should only contain information on how to ACCESS (= enter) a site. Info on how to REACH a site should be added to "How to get there" section.

Edited by Eric Hope on 2021-08-22 23:14
There are three main parking lots in Discovery Park: the North, South, and East Lot. These lots are all free to park in but may become busy in the afternoons, especially on weekends. There is also a small parking lot at West Point that may be accessed by permit only (issued at the Visitor Center generally for those with mobility issues). The park may be accesed 24 hours/day but the parking lots are generally open dawn-dusk. There are a few areas just outside the park (especially near the South Lot) where you can park in adjacent neighborhoods or along the road if you want to access the park outside these hours.

Wildlife: beyond the birding, Discovery Park is a great place to see aquatic mammals like: harbor seals, California and Steller Sea Lions, harbor porpoise, and river otters. Less commonly you can encounter orcas, whales, and northern elephant seals. 

Add information about other attractions at this site, including
• wildlife (apart from birds)
• sights (natural, cultural, archaeological, etc.)
• activities (e.g. for non-birding companions)

Edited by Eric Hope on 2021-12-22 23:45
Wildlife: beyond the birding, Discovery Park is a great place to see aquatic mammals like: harbor seals, California and Steller Sea Lions, harbor porpoise, and river otters. Less commonly you can encounter orcas or orcas, whales, and northern elephant seals. 
Edited by Eric Hope on 2021-08-22 23:19
Wildlife: beyond the great birding, Discovery Park is a great place to see aquatic mammals like: harbor seals, California and Steller Sea Lions, harbor porpoise, and river otters. Less commonly you can encounter orcas or northern elephant seals. 
Edited by Eric Hope on 2021-08-22 23:18
Wildlife: beyond the great birding, Discovery Park is a great place to see aquatic mammals like: harbor seals, California and Steller Sea Lions, harbor porpoise, and river otters. Less commonly you can encounter orcas or northern elephant seals. 

Information is available at the Discovery Park Visitor Center located by the East Parking Lot. 

There are a few restrooms located throughout the park generally near parking areas.

Provide information about what type of facilities are available at
or near this site, including:
• information centers / information points
• catering
• accommodation
• hides and watchtowers
• restrooms / toilets

Edited by Eric Hope on 2021-08-22 23:20
Information is available at the Discovery Park Visitor Center located by the East Parking Lot.  There are a few restrooms located throughout the park generally near parking areas.

It's important to take valuables out of your vehicle (or at least hide them well) in any of the lots - thefts are uncommon but break-ins do occur.

Although dogs are not permitted on any beach at a Seattle city park, they inevitably will be combing the beaches off-leash by early morning so shorebird opportunities decrease rapidly as the day goes on.

Are there any security issues or other annoyances at this site? For
instance, these may include:
• offenses like robbery or theft
• natural hazards
• dangerous or annoying animals or plants (mosquitoes, leaches, thorn bushes, etc.)
• noise pollution

Edited by Eric Hope on 2021-08-22 23:23
It's important to take valuables out of your vehicle (or at least hide them well) in any of the lots - thefts are uncommon but break-ins do occur. Although dogs are not permitted on any beach at a Seattle city park, they inevitably will be combing the beaches off-leash by early morning so shorebird opportunities decrease rapidly as the day goes on.
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Orniverse: Discovery Park (Seattle) - United States of America