365 Nature – Day 238

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Learn more about the project and see all the 365 Nature posts.


Another heatwave, another day of drought and sun. I’m proud to have added plants to our yard to provide a continual bloom for our pollinators. As the rudbeckia that attracted so many pollinators fades, the Goldenrod is offering a pollinator feast now. This 365 Nature project has really helped me see how pollinator design really works and I’ve been much more in tune with the changes throughout the year. I’ve watched the first dandelions attract bees while a Spring Azure butterfly laid eggs on our Pacific Ninebark before the flowers had even fully emerged. The Pacific Ninebark attracted many pollinators once the flowers bloomed and Fireweed followed. Now the asters are starting to bloom and the Goldenrod is bountiful, having spread throughout much of our yard.

This afternoon, as the temperatures rose into the 80’s, I stepped out into the backyard to see what pollinators I could find. Although I didn’t stay outside in the baking sun very long, I found a diversity of insects. Most abundant were honey bees, which I mostly ignore. A large wasp visited and contrasted sharply with the tiny solitary bees which were no larger than the wasps eye. A steady stream of bees visited the flowers, but it was a fly that caught my attention most of all. At first glance I thought it was also a solitary bee, but once I saw the eyes, I knew it was a fly. The body was all black, and my instincts said it was a syrphid fly, but I’ve never encountered an all black syrphid fly before. It seemed somehow different from house flies and others that are all black. The eyes were very unique and although I could see they were unusual, it wasn’t until I got the photos inside and enlarged on the computer that I could appreciate them. They were a cream color, and spotted all over with maroon dots. I can’t recall having seen a fly quite like that before.

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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