365 Nature – Day 134

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.


The change from Day 123 at the arboretum’s pond to today was quite dramatic. On Day 123 I saw only one dragonfly, away from the water at a distance. There were many damselflies, but no dragonflies at either pond. Today however, there were many flying over the pond on Azalea Way. I saw several Cardinal Meadowhawks, including at least one pair mating. There were many Common Green Darners and I watched them mating and at least one female laying eggs very close to where I was. She sat on the water surface for a long time probing with her abdomen before making incisions along an underwater stem and laying eggs. I’ve never witnessed that so close before, it was more good fortune for me this week.

I kept noticing splashes in the water and I could see fish whenever I saw a splash and I assumed they were jumping for the dragonflies and damselflies. As I watched a pair of mating Cardinal Meadowhawks cruising right over the water, a fish jumped out and grabbed at them. There were others around at the same time so I’m not sure if either or both got away, but it was pretty dramatic. As I left I saw another – or hopefully the same pair – flying away from the water and I followed and was able to get some shots of them when they landed in a nearby tree.

I also saw a damselfly that looked like it was maybe emerging from it’s exuvia, but it looked a little odd and I’m not sure if that’s what was going on or if it was something else.

Earlier in the day I saw two Cooper’s Hawks land in a Pacific Madrone tree near where I was working and I took a few photos before they flew off. It wasn’t until I got home and looked at the photos on my desktop that I saw one Cooper’s Hawk was banded and it had a rat in its talons. I’m wondering if what I saw was an exchange of food, the male bringing it for the female to a tree near the nest, and the female taking it away. The first bird landed and I heard a call before the second bird arrived. The second bird then left before the first bird. This is what was described to me as the behavior of the male bringing the female food while she’s incubating eggs. I’ll have to work at the same place next week and see if it happens again.

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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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