365 Nature – Day 271

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


This morning I set off on a trail I hadn’t traversed in awhile at the arboretum and very quickly made the discovery of the remains of a rabbit. There wasn’t much left of it, a, couple of feet, part of a spine, it had been picked apart. How it came to be there is a mystery, but I’ve seen many rabbits around the arboretum so it’s presence there is not a surprise. Whether it died of natural causes and was dragged there, or if a predator disposed of it I don’t know. As I walked, I looked for more signs of wildlife and it wasn’t hard to find them.

Many of the logs that have been placed along paths in the arboretum have what look like abstract carvings in them. They are easy to find and fascinating to look at, but it’s not an artist who created them, but beetle larvae. As the bark falls off the old tree stumps, the tracks are revealed underneath in the wood.

I also spotted a black feather under a shrub, was it from a Robin, a crow? Was the bird hiding in the shrub or did the wind blow the feather there?

Other signs I often see are splashes of white on leaves, bird poo. If there’s a lot of it in one area, it usually indicates a roost a bird frequents.

Under a cedar tree I found few whole cones, but piles of the chewed off scales from the cones. Certain indicators that squirrels have been frequenting the tree for the seeds.

All around the arboretum, small piles of dirt can be found, dense in areas of turf. The obvious sign of moles in the area. Also in the turn, I found small holes dug into the grass, probably a squirrel hiding seeds, or digging them up.

Kelly Brenner
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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She founded The Metropolitan Field Guide in 2009 and has contributed articles to aincluding Crosscut, ParentMap and National Wildlife Magazine. She holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.

She is currently writing a book about urban nature to be published by Mountaineers Books in 2019.
Kelly Brenner
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