365 Nature – Day 341

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


We had a disappointing start the day when we woke up to no snow at all this morning. It was cold and there was a layer of frost over everything which my four year old found very exciting. There’s another chance for snow later in the week so we’ll be hoping for the childhood wonder to fall then. There were a few dark clouds to the southeast at daybreak, but otherwise the day was clear and soon to be sunny. I decided to pack my bigger lens today which rarely gets taken during these darker months.

Most of my walk was uneventful, even the frost had started to melt leaving everything simply soggy. Since I didn’t encounter anything of note I decided to revisit the ash meadow I had walked through yesterday on Day 340, because at our preschool drop-off time I had noted a number of robins foraging.

Sometimes I make excellent choices in my choose-your-own-adventure walks and today was one of those good decisions. When I got close the largest ash tree which was still covered in red berries, it was half in the sun and I could see a dozen robins flying around in the tree stuffing down the berries. I got close and enjoyed getting shorts of robins plucking the berries off the tree, holding them in their mouth and swallowing them.

As I watched the robins, a small flock of Cedar Waxwings flew in to join the robins feasting. While I’ve seen waxwings many times, it’s rare to get such bright and clear shots of these birds because they are frequently high up in the trees. I was very happy to get such good looks at them in the bright sunlight. I also noted a few House Finches in the ash tree as well as one Varied Thrush.

The thrush was apprehensive about joining in, spending much more time watching its surroundings then gorging on the berries. That was contrasted starkly with the exuberance of the robins fluttering here and there and downing berries en masse. At one point a Cedar Waxwing landed near the thrush and they spent some minutes eyeing one another before the waxwing left.

Kelly Brenner
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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist and writer based in Seattle. She founded and writes The Metropolitan Field Guide, a blog for ideas, thoughts and resources for the design of urban wildlife habitat and has contributed articles to a variety of other websites and publications.

Kelly has a certificate from the University of Washington in non-fiction writing. She continually takes classes and attends talks on various natural history topics. In 2009 she earned a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon.

She's also an avid photographer focusing on the natural world.
Kelly Brenner
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