365 Nature – Day 204

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.


Seattle was finally the lucky recipient of some rain last night and today. I woke up early to the sound of a downpour, peculiarly out of place over the last few, very dry weeks. It was most welcome as the ground has been so dry that a couple of hours after I water it looks like the garden never saw a hose. It continued to drizzle through the morning and everything now has a fresh layer of raindrops. It’s such a refreshing feeling after a dry, if not particularly hot, summer.

I decided to visit the Japanese Garden in the arboretum, somewhere I neglect to go to despite the close proximity. But the rainy morning seemed the perfect match for the green, mossy garden. Within the first minute of entering, I was reminded just how much a part of the arboretum it really is as I heard the Cooper’s Hawks fledglings calling. Their nest area is not far away at all, but the road acts as a mental barrier. At the other end of the garden I spotted a Great Blue Heron hunting along the pond’s edge.

After I left I decided to try one more time to spot the Barred Owls. I walked through the entire area, stopping constantly to look up and down the trees and listen for any alarm calls from crows, chickadees, anybody. Once again I failed to find even one of the four Barred Owls. Giving up I walked back through the arboretum to the Cooper’s Hawks nest area and as soon as I sat down to watch, I spotted one. It was particularly affronted by my sneeze and jumped up and flew back further into the trees, whistling all the way. Fortunately it didn’t stay there long and spent a long time flying between trees, further than I’ve seen them before. All of them were very active today.Their flight and calls are getting more powerful all the time.

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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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