365 Nature – Day 200

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 I wanted to try something different with photography. I nearly always bring my macro lens which doubles as a zoom because it’s 200mm, to get photos of birds and insects. I recently bought a 35mm so I could take landscape shots, so today I left the macro at home and brought the 35mm. I also tried out a circular polarizing filter for the first time. It was fun to look at the arboretum through a different lens, quite literally.

I walked to Marsh Island again where I saw the Muskrats on Day 195 and before I even got off Foster Island I had spotted a family of Downy Woodpeckers, at least two young I believe. They were calling and flitting between the trees on both sides of the path and I got a good look at them and immediately regretted not bringing my 200mm lens. I continued on and spotted a large number of swallows who had actually landed. I see them regularly swooping over the bay, but rarely do they land. Today they sat in a couple bare trees and groomed within easy view from the floating walkway. From what I could see it looked like they were nearly all Cliff Swallows with a few Barn and I believe, one Violet-green Swallow. It looked like many were recent fledglings. Again I regretted not bringing my 200mm lens.

As I walked back I stopped to watch the skies and saw one Osprey patrolling for fish in the bay as well as two Bald Eagles soaring high overhead. I watched for Muskrats a long time where I saw them on Day 195, but had no luck. As I was ready to leave the floating walkway and return to Foster Island, I stopped to watch the Canada Geese and a Pied-billed Grebe when I saw something brown somersault in the water. I watched closely and saw another disturbance a short time later. As I kept watching I finally saw a small nose poking up out of the water before disappearing. It was likely one of the Muskrats, but I never got a good look. The behavior however, was more otter like. I heard from someone who walked through there after I did that they saw an otter so it’s possible that is what I saw.

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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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