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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.

June is also 30 Days Wild and I’m participating again this year.

One of my favorite flowering plants in our backyard is the Fireweed and it’s blooming right now. I’ve had the perfect succession of blooming plants this spring in the corner of our yard starting with the Pacific Ninebark and Twinberry followed closely by Mock Orange and now the Fireweed. Near the end of the Fireweed’s bloom, the Goldenrod should be next to provide pollinators with a food source. The continual bloom of flowers is one key to creating pollinator habitat.

Today I watched the Fireweed for awhile and took photos of all the pollinators I found there. The large bumble bees that are common here were all over the flowers, but there was a smaller, darker bumble bee as well which had much of it’s fur rubbed off. I also found a small hover fly and an ant pollinating. One solitary bee appeared to be catching a nap in one of the flowers before waking up and visiting different flowers.

About a week ago I noticed one Fireweed plant had a heavy aphid infestation and I wasn’t surprised when I noticed several dark, red dots mixed in with them, Blood-red Lady Beetles. Along with a Soldier Beetle, they feasted on the aphids and today there were very few aphids left on the plant.

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Kelly Brenner

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 from Mountaineers Books. She writes freelance articles about natural history and has bylines in Crosscut, Popular Science, 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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