365 Nature – Day 312

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


Here in the Pacific Northwest, we’re having a bit of a heat wave with temperatures into the 60’s. This is of course, higher than our average November temperatures, and I’ve noticed some things which may or may not be related. This morning I walked past the witch hazels in the winter garden at the arboretum and stopped to look at the flower buds. To my surprise, petals were already starting to emerge. I checked several different witch hazels and found buds, but no petals on a couple, but on others I noticed the buds splitting open and on one, an entire cluster of buds were fully open, thin, yellow petals displayed like fireworks. Later in the day I spotted a pair of tulips, in full bloom, under a tree. I checked some of my photos, and all the witch hazel photos in bloom were from January. It’s possible they start blooming in November and keep up through Janauary, but I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out.

More expected, mushrooms meanwhile, are plentiful everywhere I go. There’s a constant turnover in the arboretum and a continual supply of fungi at all times. There were also a lot of slime molds, some orange dots on down wood, some more brown in color. Near the end of my walk I noticed a small patch of white on the gravel path, it almost looked like spilled tapioca pudding. When I got down low, I could see it was a slime mold, tiny, white orbs growing on the gravel, twigs and needles on the ground.

Today I also saw the Barred Owl back in his winter roost. It’s the first time I’ve seen him this autumn in his usual roost and I’m glad he’s back.

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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