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.

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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She is the author of a book about urban nature, coming Spring 2020 from Mountaineers Books. She writes freelance articles about natural history and has bylines in Crosscut, ParentMap, 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.

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