365 Nature – Day 113

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.


I should have suspected a theme to my walk today when I found a hover fly by my daughter’s forest classroom this morning when I dropped her off. First I started observing how many native plants are blooming now and how many are finishing. Where until recently, there were Fawn Lilies, Oregon Grape, Red-flowering Currant and Indian Plum, there are now Fringecup, Vanillaleaf, Salal, Kinnikinnick, Orange Trumpet Honeysuckle, Evergreen Huckleberry, Western Starflower, Vine Maple, and Thimbleberry.

What got more of my attention today though, were the many insects among those flowering plants. Although it wasn’t sunny today, it was much warmer than it has been and the insects were very active and abundant. I encountered numerous hover flies around the park landing on leaves to get warm. I found a jumping spider sitting on the edge of a leaf hanging over the path. Ever since the Thimbleberry have started blooming, I’ve checked every flower I pass for the long horned beetles I seem to find in them every year. Today I finally found one, but just one, in amongst the dozens and dozens of blooming Thimbleberries.

The insect that was most exciting to me, was the close look I got at a bee fly. I last watched the bee flies battling on Day 97 in the arboretum and when I passed the same spot today I looked for them again. I didn’t see any flying, perhaps it wasn’t warm enough for fighting yet, last time it was fully sunny. However I did find one resting on the mulch and I was lucky that it let me get my phone close enough for a few photos. I’ve only captured a couple shots of bee flies, they’re hard to find and they don’t seem to land much.

It’s just about time for me to start bringing my macro lens with me regularly to the arboretum.

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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She is the author of a book about urban nature, coming Spring 2020 from Mountaineers Books. She writes freelance articles about natural history and has bylines in Crosscut, ParentMap, National Wildlife Magazine and others. On the side she writes fiction.

Kelly holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.

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