365 Nature – Day 342

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


I only had time for a shorter walk today at the arboretum so I opted to visit Foster Island in hopes of seeing the winter ducks I’d spotted on Day 337. Because it was clear and sunny again, although still very cold, I brought my big lens with me hoping to get some shots of the teals and shovelers. When I arrived, I was very surprised to find the pond had frozen over. It’s a large pond and I underestimated the cold weather’s freezing abilities. It wasn’t thickly or completely frozen, there were still a few patches where water still was visible and I could easily crack it with my foot. But it was enough to prevent the ducks from swimming in the pond.

Next I walked by the slough hoping to find a flock of frenzies chickadees, kinglets and bushtits which I keep encountering in that area. I noticed some movement in the water and thought perhaps the slough hadn’t frozen over but I was astounded to see it was a squirrel, running and sliding across the frozen surface of the water. Exactly not what I was expecting. The patterns in the dark ice were broken up by the yellow leaves falling down from the branches overhead. I did find a kinglet, first a golden-crowned foraging on a log along the water, then a ruby-crowned with the red feathers flared out.

I walked under the 520 bridge and found some grebes foraging under the construction zone and out in Union Bay were large rafts of coots. Closer in I noted a couple Ring-necked Ducks and a Common Merganser, but everything else was too far away to see.

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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