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

It’s satisfying to change out the number two for the number three today. That means only 65 days left, or really, 66 because it’s leap year. I’m finally on the home stretch of this 365 project.

Today it rained, and then it rained some more. Every time I checked the radar map (a fairly obsessive activity with a child in forest preschool) it looked like it was nearly over and then it would pour buckets again. During one such break I escaped from the car and wandered around the magnolia meadow in the arboretum and looked at the water collected in perfect drops on the leaves. The raindrops only formed on the undersides of the magnolia leaves and I briefly contemplated turning all the leaves in the meadow over so it would be full of these beautiful drops. Instead I retreated to the car.

reedeaLast night I attended a talk hosted by Seward Park Audubon about a new book, Once and Future River by photographer Tom Reese and writer Eric Wagner about the Duwamish River in Seattle. Joining them was James Rasmussen a Duwamish Tribal member and director of the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition. In an interesting talk, reading and photo show, we learned the history of the Duwamish and how it’s being cleaned up. The Superfund site still hosts salmon, birds, otters and other wildlife, despite being incredibly polluted and no longer follows it’s original meandering channel. The photographs taken by Tom Reese reflect this complicated history with Bald Eagles and salmon juxtaposed with shopping carts and industrial buildings.

Tonight I’m heading out again for the book launch Owl: A Year in the Lives of North American Owls by Paul Bannick. Last year I attended an owl and woodpecker class with Paul Bannick and enjoyed learning about those two families of birds. Paul Bannick takes magnificent photos of owls which aren’t simple portraits, but instead show the behavior and lives of the birds he watches. I’m looking forward to his new book.

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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.


  • Katherine says:

    Just wanted to say congratulations on 300!

    Both books sound very interesting – would be great to go to the talks! (I have been fascinated with the idea of daylighting streams ever since I learned about the practice years ago!) Incredible about the straightened Duwamish! Did you read the articles about the Bronx River beavers? (

    Here in the City of Ottawa they are still trapping beavers. : (

    Love how the owl photography is really a study in behaviour – will have to look this up. Sounds like you have amazing naturalists in your neck on the woods! That’s including you, of course!

    • Thank you very much Katherine!

      I hadn’t seen that article, thanks for sharing. It’s so nice to see when animals return once we clean up and repair our damage. We’re lucky here in Seattle to have many, many beavers living. We have a lot of waterways and there are beavers in a large percentage of them. I got to see a couple of them not long ago in a newly opened park.

  • Katherine says:

    So wonderful! Yes we have a strong population in Ottawa also although the City isn’t always supportive of them. We just found a new pair on the Ottawa River last weekend on our walk. Always so cool to watch!

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