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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.

The Witch Hazels at the arboretum have been slowly blooming lately and today I took my camera to try and capture them because it was sunny. Unfortunately by the time I arrived the clouds had rolled in so it was more challenging trying to photograph them. There’s something about the flower of the Witch Hazel, perhaps it’s the name, or the fact that they bloom in the middle of winter, but I find them really intriguing and I’m drawn to them. The flowers are a little crazy, I can’t decide if they look like fireworks or crazy spiders. Sometimes I see octopus when I look at them. They’re messy with the petals hang down and it always looks like they just erupted. And yet I’ve been patiently waiting for them to bloom for a couple of weeks, they seem to do so in their own time.

On the opposite side of the arboretum I was enveloped in a flock of small birds. At first I stopped to listen and then walked on. But they seemed to follow me as if determined not to be ignored. When I got the message and stood still they swarmed around me, a couple of Chestnut-backed Chickadees foraging right at my feet at the shrub I was standing next to. I was able to record their calls as they flitted all around me before they finally released me.

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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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