Wildlife in Downtown Bellevue – The Mercer Slough

I didn’t go hiking this weekend, unless you count another failed attempt to get a sunrise photos, but I did run into the office to get a file and that turned into quite an adventure.

It started out nearly disastrous.  I’ll never go into the office without my cell phone and I’ll never use the elevator on a weekend again.  Yep…I got stuck!  What are the freaking chances of that happening?  I instantly worried that the emergency phone wouldn’t be hooked up.  Luckily it was and the gal on the other end helped me push the right buttons to get out safely.  Yikes.

After getting the file I needed, I decided to walk around the office park.  I work in the Bellefield Office Park in Bellevue, Washington.  Sounds exciting, right?  Well it is if you like wildlife.  This office park was build on a wetland area that is surrounded by the Mercer Slough…something I’m sure would not get approved these days.  Asphalt has been added to the parking lots several times because they are sinking.  At least the contractors had the forethought to construct the buildings on footings drilled into bedrock (so I’ve heard).

The first location I headed for was “The Log”.  This is where the turtles sun themselves.  That’s right…I said turtles.  Surprised there are turtles in Western Washington?…I was.  Some of the turtles that live in the slough are the Western Pond Turtles, which are a Washington State threatened species.  And others have been dumped here by owners who no longer want to deal with them.  Either way, I thoroughly enjoy each summer when they start coming out of hibernation.  I saw what looked like two different species, so I’m assuming that both were there.  I’m no expert at indentifying slight differences between species, so I don’t know for sure.

When I first walked up three of the four turtles quickly jumped off “The Log” to hide, but I stuck around and gradually they started climbing back up.

Turtle Climbing on Board

Then they were back to capturing the beautiful sun and warm of the day.

Turtles Getting Some Sun

Turtles on Log

I also found another turtle hanging out by himself on the grass.  I’ve never seen them lying in the grass before so this was a treat.  He let me walk right up to him.  I probably could have picked him up, but I prefer to leave animals alone.  I took a lot of photos of this little guy, but my favorite is the one that looks like he’s smiling at me.

Smiling Turtle

Nearby this little guy was a rabbit enjoying the warmth of the day much more cautiously under a bush.  He let me snap one photo before scampering off.


The turtles were the main attraction of the day, but I had some other surprises along the way, like the Mallards who decided they could care less about my presence and let me walk right up to them as they snoozed in the sun.

Mallards Resting

Mallard RestingThey started to wake up, but they still were not disturbed by me as they went about their routine activities like scratching an itch or drinking some water.

Mallard Hanging Out

Mallard Scratching an ItchMallard Drinking

The final photo I captured was this Canada Goose.  Like the Mallards, he let me walk right up to him as he basked in the sun.  I think Canada Geese always look regal.

Canada Goose

The Bellefield Office Park/Mercer Slough is home to so many birds I can’t even begin to name them all and lots of other wildlife.  We even have a coyote or two who wander around (during the day sometimes).  It’s like working in nature and if I have to work it might as well be surrounded by wildlife.

When traveling in Washington, it’s only a short jaunt over the I90 or SR520 bridges to Bellevue.  One of the best ways to see the wildlife that lives in the Mercer Slough is by canoe.  Check out this information from the City of Bellevue’s website for guided trips.

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