365 Nature – Day 144

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.


Overcast and cool, there were no dragonflies cruising the ponds at the arboretum today. I did find a few damselflies, but they were inactive on the cool morning. However, early on in my walk I heard a bird singing that made me stop and look for it. The call wasn’t something I hear regularly and I’m getting better at recognizing songs and calls that are different thanks to my constant observations from this 365 Nature project. I easily found the bird and could see it was a flycatcher of some type, but the call was distinctive making it hopefully easier to identify than just by markings. I was able to get a recording of it. After I had looked at the bird, I opened my bird app and browsed through possible flycatchers, listening to their songs before finding it was a Pacific-slope Flycatcher.

Later on my walk I found the remnants of a robin’s egg, blue shell shattered and crushed on the path. The underside was still sticky so I wonder if it hadn’t been dropped by a predator and and the contents spilled out. On my final bird encounter, I found a feather that I didn’t recognize. My first thought was it was from a Cooper’s Hawk because I found it close to their nest. After consulting the Feather Atlas I was quite surprised to find a match with a Band-tailed Pigeon. I’ve never seen a Band-tailed Pigeon at the arboretum before, or anywhere in Seattle for that matter, although I heard from one of the parents at my daughter’s school, they are frequently found on the north end of the city. I wonder if the Cooper’s Hawks caught it resulting in the feather drop, or if it’s just a coincidence. It’s a mystery how the feather came to land there.

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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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