Birdwatching at Mountain View Cemetery

I like watching birds at peaceful places.  A nearby cemetery is just the right place.  They have a lake and a swamp that attracts waterfowl, and right now blossoming cherry trees that the finches like too.

If you’ve never considered birding at a graveyard, you might be missing out on some easy to reach locations.  It’s also a good place to avoid the unscrupulous characters that might be hanging out in urban parks.  I know I’m hesitant to bird at some city parks because of frequent car brake-ins.

The Mountain View Memorial Park is listed as a birding hot spot on the ebird website.   You can explore birding hotspots to discover new locations.  I also like to use the lists of birds people saw at a nearby hotspot when I’m trying to identify a bird that I’m unfamiliar with.  I just google the birds that other people saw and see if anything’s a match.

Here are some photos I took at Mountain View Memorial Park in Lakewood, WA.

Blue Heron in Marsh
Great Blue Heron in Marsh

There is apparently a resident Great Blue Heron.  Maybe he’s looking for frogs.  I’ve seen Great Blue Herons in both New York and Florida before. Their range is the entire United States and beyond.

Common Merganser Catches a Fish
Common Merganser Catches a Fish

Wow!   This is my first spotting of the Common Merganser, which is a diving duck.  They have a red, pointy bill that’s serrated.

Northern Shoveler
Northern Shoveler

These are Northern Shovelers.  The male’s head color is similar to a Mallard, which is a duck that I’m much more familiar with.  But, the Northern Shovelers have wider bills.  Also, the females lack the dark “saddle” shaped coloration that the Mallards have on their bills.


Did you know that finches eat flowers?   I think this is a House Finch, but he could be a Purple Finch.  I have never been able to tell the difference.  It appeared that he was eating the petals of these cherry blossoms.    I tried to research whether they actually eat the petals, and could find no confirmation that they do.  But, it does say on Cornell’s website that purple finches bite off the base of flowers and eat the nectar.  Unlike Chickadees, who eat spiders and insects, House Finches are almost 100% vegetarian. They usually eat seeds, buds, and fruits.


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