365 Nature – Day 179

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.


Today was the first day in over a week I’d been in the arboretum and I was eager to check on the Cooper’s Hawk nest as well as see if I could find the Barred Owl fledglings. When I arrived at the hawk’s nest all was quiet and I didn’t see any white heads poking up above the nest rim. I walked through the area and found one of the adults sitting in the top of a tree. When I returned to the nest, I caught a glimpse through the branches of a chick out of the nest flapping its wings. It appeared then to fall or jump back into the nest. I went back to my usual observation spot and found the same or another chick also above the nest flapping before falling back in.

Though I walked and listened through much of the arboretum, I didn’t see any sign of the Barred Owls today, which was surprising since I’d been seeing them nearly every day recently.

I returned to my favorite pond and it was fully buzzing with dragonflies. For the most part there were Eight-spotted Skimmers and a few Cardinal Meadowhawks. I saw an occasional darner, but that was all for diversity. There were at least one female of each species and I saw one Cardinal Meadowhawk pair laying eggs and one lone female Eight-spotted Skimmer laying eggs and being constantly grabbed by males.

By far the highlight of the day was when I heard a kak kak kak saw a Cooper’s Hawk chasing a Pileated Woodpecker across the clearing over the pond. Perhaps the Pileated had strayed too close to the Cooper’s Hawk’s nesting territory. It remained in it’s retreat tree for a time before I heard the kak kak kak again and it flew off north.

Before I left I checked on the Cooper’s Hawk nest one more time and was in luck finally. There were at least four young hawks in the nest flapping and jumping around. It looked like they were feeding on something inside the nest. They have completely lost the white fluff that I saw on Day 169 and look much more like the adults in size now. They have developed the brown plumage that immature Cooper’s Hawks wear for their first year and it won’t be long now before they fledge.

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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