365 Nature – Day 323

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


This afternoon as I drove along Lake Washington to pick my daughter up from preschool, a movement in the water caught my attention. I frequently see things in and above the lake during our commutes and this time of the year, it’s frequent to see mergansers, buffleheads, coots and wigeon swimming. What I saw today though, was a mammal. I’m often tricked into thinking this particular mammal is what I see, but more often than not, it’s a dog or a tree stump. Today though, the thing in the water moved and as it dove down, I could easily see its long, furry tail. It was an otter. They live in and around the lake, but sightings are not common and it’s a lucky day when I do see one. It’s only happened a handful of times, despite the many hours I’ve spent along the shores of the lake.

Later, on our way home the lake had two faces. Looking south, the direction we were driving the sky was bright and the white was reflected into the water. Looking back the way we had come, north, it was incredibly blue. Exactly like someone had turned up the blue saturation to abnormal levels. The clouds were fairly flat, but a very rich blue, which was reflected onto the lake. On the horizon, behind Bellevue, the mountains were covered in fresh, white snow perfecting the blue landscape.

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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