365 Nature – Day 109

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.


Earlier this year I was lamenting to myself how few bird nests I’ve encountered, but as with everything else in nature, all I had to do was look. Outside is an overwhelming place, there’s so much going on – so much to see from the landscape view down to one square inch on the ground. As this 365 Nature Project continues, I’m amazed at how much more I find every day, without even looking sometimes.

We now have two bird nests in our yard, a Bewick’s Wren nest in a box out back and a robin nest in our front yard. Yesterday on Day 108 I mentioned there hadn’t been any activity the last few days, but after I posted that I found one wren going in and out very quietly without any nest materials. I’m guessing that means they’re into the egg laying or incubating phase.

After a week of spring break, I’m back at the arboretum today and I went for a walk along Foster and Marsh Islands. The path was extremely wet thanks to the rising level of the lake and much of the walkway is soggy and saturated. I sat on one of the benches along the boardwalk to enjoy the up and down motion from the waves and the relative peace. Something on the post caught my eye and when I examined what looked like sesame seeds sprinkled all over the wood, I found were actually small flies all gathered together just above the level of the water. I may not have even noticed had a couple not moved, but the rest simply sat.

Back closer to the visitor’s center I watched a pair of Wood Ducks before noticing a Pied-billed Grebe sitting on a nest. As I watched a second grebe swam up and they switched places, taking turns adding materials to the nest. I also checked on the Bald Eagle’s nest and found both adults there, one sitting in the nest and the other in the tree near the nest. Later as I sat eating my lunch I encountered a Dark-eyed Junco collecting nesting materials. Seems like everywhere I look now there are nests.

Kelly Brenner
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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist and writer based in Seattle. She founded and writes The Metropolitan Field Guide, a blog for ideas, thoughts and resources for the design of urban wildlife habitat and has contributed articles to a variety of other websites and publications.

Kelly has a certificate from the University of Washington in non-fiction writing. She continually takes classes and attends talks on various natural history topics. In 2009 she earned a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon.

She's also an avid photographer focusing on the natural world.
Kelly Brenner
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  1. Carol Kohler April 18, 2016 at 7:26 pm · · Reply

    Awesome pictures today. Camera or phone?

  2. Thank you! All but the two photos of the flies were with my Nikon camera, the flies with my phone.

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