365 Nature – Day 274

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


I returned to the arboretum hoping for another look at the Great Horned Owl I saw yesterday on Day 273. Although I walked the paths around that area for quite awhile, I failed to find any owls and no alarm calls led me to owls either. I continued my walk and focused on my ears to listen for alarm calls. Something did catch my attention, but at first I wasn’t sure what it was, I just knew there was a sound that needed more attention. I stopped and listened and before long I heard a tap tap tap, a woodpecker somewhere near. After scanning the trees I finally spotted it, what looked like a Red-breasted Sapsucker on one of the towering Western Red Cedar trees. It was dark in the grove of cedars and I had a hard time photographing it or even seeing it. But to my eyes it looked strange, perhaps it was an immature bird. It had a white streak over the bill, like a mustache, but also bright white matching eyebrows. The head and chest weren’t as red as I remember seeing in other birds.

Later I walked to the pond and spotted early morning dragonflies warming themselves in patches of sun. One looked more brown than red and hoping for a female Striped Meadowhawk I chased it around the area. Whether it just looked duller in the light or I lost it, the only ones I found were quite red.

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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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