365 Nature – Day 135

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.



Today was our monthly work party at Pritchard Beach and I volunteered, foolishly, to hack at the plants overgrowing the trail. I’d been on walks through there recently so I knew very well how many mosquitoes were in the wetlands and I dressed appropriately in three layers and bug spray for good measure. Unfortunately my face was exposed and there’s no better motivation to get a job done than a constant swarm of mosquitoes in ones face. It took me just under two hours and I only got a few bites on my face. The trade-off was wearing three layers and working hard which made me sweat profusely. My arms now feel like they weigh about 20 pounds each from cutting back Snowberry, Thimbleberry, Oceanspray and other shrubs, but the reward of a clear path was worth it. Prior to my efforts, walking through felt like entering a story from Grimms Fairy Tales. On our last walk my daughter and I moved very quickly in an attempt to avoid mosquitoes and when she tripped and fell I nearly left her behind. Every person for themselves. Seeing as I was the one who tripped her though, I helped pick her up before dragging her through the swarms of mosquitoes while plowing through the overhanging branches. Now our next walk will be less dramatic.

While I worked I heard the nesting Cooper’s Hawks again and although they have eggs and should be quiet, I think they were being harassed by a Steller’s Jay because they were going back and forth with their calls.

Yesterday afternoon I watched the robin nest again to see how the chicks were doing since I first saw them on Day 133. The robins have been tolerating me standing on a chair a few feet away to take photos, but getting any shots through the leaves is incredibly challenging. My brilliant idea was to bring the ladder out and try to get a higher angle on the nest – and it worked fairly well, until the adults came back. While they had tolerated me perched on the chair, they drew the line at the ladder and chirped at me with full beaks, jumping around the tree until I descended.

The chicks have already changed, just in a couple of days. Their eyes are brighter and open and their skin is less pink and the black feathers are starting to show up already. They have grumpy little faces thanks to their down-turned beaks that make them look like they’re frowning.

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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