Friday, April 3, 2020

Check Out The Sun Park Memorial

SUN Park, a small corner pocket park located at the corner of NE 47th Street and 47th Avenue NE, has an addition of a memorial on granite stone.

The SUN Park location was planned, funded, developed, and is maintained by Laurelhurst neighbors. The plot was originally part of the site of a large 1920's Bungalow style house.   A developer purchased the property, demolished the home, then divided the original lot into three parcels.  Two houses were built on the subdivided lots. 

In 2007, the Sun Park group, along with many in the community, attended a meeting along with City representatives, to save the third parcel, on the corner, from being developed. 

The plot of land was purchased by a group of Laurelhurst neighbors and friends, through donations to the Cascade Land Conservancy (now Forterra, a nonprofit 501.c.3 organization whose mission is to conserve great lands and create great communities) in order to preserve the small open space from development and create a community park and native plant garden.  

In 2009, SUN Park, named for Saving Urban Nature, was finished and was completely funded by private donations. 

The Friends of SUN Park maintain the plantings which include a variety of trees, shrubs, ferns, perennials, and groundcovers native to Western Washington. Identification markers provide information on the plants and "the ways in which their use represented the first ‘grocery store’ and ‘pharmacy’ for local Native American cultures," a volunteer told the Laurelhurst Blog Staff.  

One of the Friends Of SUN Park gardening volunteers told the Laurelhurst Blog Staff:
SUN Park serves as a demonstration site for those interested in growing native
plants and learning more about the plants indigenous to the region. Gardening
with these plants creates a more nature landscape, promotes wildlife habitats,
and requires less maintenance.
Go here for more information.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

All About House Finches

Here is a recent post from the Union Bay Watch Blog published by Larry Hubbell, long-time local photographer and birder. Here also is an in-depth article about Larry and his work.

A Backyard Bird

A male House Finch is a beautiful bird. Originally, they were from the southwest, which is implied in the second half of their scientific name, Haemorhous mexicanus. Today, House Finches can now be found in 49 out of the 50 states. Many years ago, they had some human help in getting to both New York and Hawaii. During the following decades, they made good use of the opportunity to dramatically expand their range. It's not surprising that a bird that originated in the desert has yet to establish itself in Alaska.

In general, House Finches tend to migrate vertically. When the snow reaches the mountains they like to come down into snow-free cities and make good use of the warmth and the seeds which they find in our bird feeders.

This female finch appears to be collecting the leaf stem from a Big Leaf Maple to be used in nest building.

For the most part, females lack the bright coloring of the adult males. Immature birds, of both genders, also wear basic brown.

Males get their red coloring from the fruit they eat. Depending on the fruit, their bright spots can occasionally be orange or yellow.

This August photo shows what appears to be a young male bird, which is apparently molting into its mature coloring. One clue to its youth is the fine streaking on the belly. Looking back at the two adult photos, you can see that their vertical belly stripes are not nearly as delicate.

In this June photo, if you look close, you can see that a male is regurgitating food for a full-sized young bird. After the young leave their nests the male birds apparently take over all of the feedings. This frees up the females to focus on producing their next brood. All About Birds says House Finches can have as many as six broods per year.

This October photo also shows a male beginning to get its color. 

In the fall, House Finches regularly dismantle the 'hops'  found on the Hophornbeam in the Arboretum (on the east side of Duck Bay) to consume the seeds. 

The gray-brown patch on the upper cheek is one way the colorful males can be distinguished from Purple Finches. You can learn more about their differentiating features by Clicking Here.

Since almost all of us are spending an abnormally large amount of time at home, this might be a good time to watch for nest-building behavior in your backyard. The House Finch starts with relatively larger twigs to build the supporting structure of the nest.

They progress to smaller and softer materials.

In this case, the female is eyeing the opening in the bushy conifer that leads to her nest site.

There is no way to view this nest, which is wonderful. Her eggs and her young will be much more likely to survive in such a nicely hidden location.

Later, she brought in what appeared to be thin strips of shredded bark.

Although, from this angle, it looked more like dried grass.

Her mate occasionally helped.

Bringing in this very fine white material seemed like an indication the nest was nearing completion. 

I really have no idea what type of plant could produce such a long thin fragment, but it sure looked soft and warm, just like a baby's blanket.

The materials the finches are using could be considered hints to making our backyards into wildlife sanctuaries. Leaving grass to grow tall and dry out, leaving the down from flower and tree blossoms, leaving bark that is decaying and falling off trees and leaving last year's leaves to decay on top of your flower beds could provide almost all of the materials seen in this post. Also, having some thick conifer shrubs or trees, hopefully, with vegetation all the way to the ground, could provide some nice hidden nesting spots.

Generally, the male accompanies the female where ever she goes. Sometimes he helps bring nesting material, and sometimes he appears to be simply standing guard. In this photo, he was waiting patiently while she updated the nest. When he tilted his head, it seemed obvious that he was listening to a nearby House Finch singing its warbling song. 

When the neighbor took a breath, the male visibly raised his head, despite the rain.

He opened his mouth and replied with his own version of the House Finch melody. As the two birds took turns singing, the male looked around apparently trying to find the source of the sound. 

A low-growing plant that is currently beginning to bloom around Union Bay,

Here is a better look at the foliage.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Seattle Police Concerns And Tips

Mary Amberg, North Precinct Crime Prevention Coordinator, for Laurelhurst and 24 other neighborhoods in the North Precinct Area boundaries, would like to share information from the Seattle Police Department:

Domestic violence on the rise
SPD has seen a 21-percent increase in reports of domestic violence. If you, or someone you know, has experienced violence in a relationship or at home, please call or text 911 to get help from SPD and the Victim Support Team. 
Home is not safe for many adults and children experiencing domestic violence.  Community resources may be harder to access, and existing anxiety and fear may be compounded. 
Domestic violence thrives behind closed doors and feelings of isolation that domestic violence survivors may already be experiencing is compounded.  Reaching out to let someone know they are not alone, can be helpful to break isolation.   
Help is available.  SPD is working alongside local community and national partners to ensure victims have access to the support they need to keep their families safe.  If you or someone you know is experiencing violence in your relationship, please call the The National Domestic Violence Hotline(24 hours everyday), 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (TTY).
Call if you can, text if you can't.  When attempting to call 911, an already dangerous situation can intensify if an abusive partner tries to interfere with the call, or the violence escalates.   The King County Text to 911 technology is an added resource when  a call is unable to be made. In the text the exact location and type of assistance needed is essential in the first text, so 911 can begin to dispatch law enforcement response immediately.

Increase in Burglaries 
SPD has seen an increase in residential burglaries, many quick in-and-outs. In some instances, suspects peered through windows, saw something close by that they wanted, then smashed the window and grabbed the item without entering the home.  Or burglar may be watching to see when people leave the house, then hitting the place.  Sounds like a lot of quick in-and-outs. 
  • Lock your doors, even when home.
  • Lock your windows or at least limit how far they can be opened.
  • Don’t leave valuables in close proximity of a window.
  • Answer the door, not open the door and let people know you are home. Always know who is on the other side of your door before you open it, even if you are expecting someone.
  • While home, take moments to go outside and put eyes on the street; check out what’s happening on the street
  • When you see neighbors out and about, wave and say hi. When you see people you don’t know out and about on your street, wave and say hi. Send the message that you are a neighborhood that cares and that you are paying attention.
  • Report any suspicious behavior to 911.
  • Do not call 911 to report people being outside; remember that Police are focused on Criminal behavior, not people who want to get out of the house for a bit.
  • Stay connected with your Block Watch neighbors and help keep an eye on your neighbors’ place and ask they do the same for you.

Concerns of Bias Towards Asian-Pacific Islander Community
SPD has recently heard from many in our city’s Asian-Pacific Islander communities about ongoing concerns of bias. Our department will aggressively investigate reports of bias crimes, and we will continue to work with our communities, and local officials, to speak out against bias and harassment, and ensure our API neighbors are not subject to stigmatization in a crisis that affects us all.

Scams - Tips:
  • Hang up on robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. Scammers are using illegal robocalls.
  • Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Visit the FDA to learn more.
  • Fact-check and verify information. Visit What the U.S. Government is Doing for links to federal, state and local government agencies.
  • Know who you’re buying from. Online sellers may claim to have in-demand products when, in fact, they don’t.
  • Don’t respond to texts and emails about checks from the government as the details are still being worked out. Anyone who tells you they can get you the money now is a scammer.
  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.
  • Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying they have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information visit the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

March Neighborhood Real Estate Update

Kim Dales has provided this neighborhood real estate activity report for the month of March:

4732 48th Ave NE

This month our world is a bit surreal, but fortunately it has not affected real estate. Even in the midst of the current situation, homes in Seattle are being listed and are selling, frequently with multiple offers.

There continues to be a shortage of listings and an abundance of buyers. Homeowners stay in their homes an average of 8.3 years versus only 4.3 years in 2000, according to the Northwest MLS. This adds up to a lack of inventory but an abundance of demand.

In comparing March 2019 to March 2020 the most significant statistics are the number of active listings, from 11 last year to 6 this year, and decrease in the medium sales price from $2,257,500 last year to $1,584,333 this year.


List Price
5005 44th Ave NE
4732 48th Ave NE
4558 51st Ave NE
4312 36th Ave NE
5136 45th Ave NE
4911 NE Laurelcrest Lane


List Price
*5009 44th Ave NE
*5069 Harold Pl NE
4528 W Laurel Dr NE
    * listed and under contract in March


List Price
Sold Price
Date Sold
4507 NE 54th St
4123 NE 41st
4005 50th Ave NE



Median Sales Price = $1,316,000

CDOM = Cumulative Days on Market