365 Nature – Day 153

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 is the first day of 30 Days Wild and it coincided with a pretty exciting day at the arboretum. I went on my usual walk and stopped near the Cooper’s Hawk’s nest to see if anything was happening. All was quiet and even though I heard a quick kek from around the nest when I first arrived, I didn’t see any activity in the nest. After suffering a half dozen mosquito bites and not hearing or seeing anything else, I stood up to leave and at that very moment the female Cooper’s Hawk flew in and landed in the tree I’d seen them in on Day 134. I assume it was the female because she had no bands on her legs and her mate does. She had a quick preen before flying east out of view. I could hear her calling from behind me, but then I heard another Cooper’s Hawk calling from closer to the nest. Eventually I heard them both calling and I moved to a different vantage point and then I could see the female in the nest. It appeared she was tearing into prey, but whether she was eating it herself or feeding it to new chicks, I could’t tell. I didn’t hear any chicks begging.

The day was getting warm and sunny, so I headed down to the pond to look for dragonflies. At first there were only damselflies out on the pond but eventually a couple of Eight-spotted Skimmers showed up followed by two or three Cardinal Meadowhawks. I saw a small darner which may have been a California Darner, and at least one Common Green Darner. I also found a Common Whitetail basking on the rocks along the edge of the pond. As I was getting ready to leave, a dragonfly caught my eye and I could see it was something unusual. Fortunately, it let me take a lot of photos and when I got home I consulted Dragonflies of Washington and found it was a Four-spotted Skimmer. According to Dennis Paulson, that’s the first record of that species in Seattle.

I was also lucky to find a newly emerged damselfly, ghost-like in color with wings still shriveled up. The lily pads were covered in damselfly exuvia. A pair of mating Cardinal Meadowhawks also dipped into the pond laying eggs.

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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She is the author of NATURE OBSCURA: A City’s Hidden Natural World, 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.
Kelly Brenner
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