365 Nature – Day 351

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


Finally we have a sunny day. I hoped and suspected it might be sunny today when I could see the stars through the skylight early this morning. Although a few clouds passed overhead on our way to school this morning, it ended up being clear and sunny. The sun however, did very little for warmth and I walked around the arboretum with many layers on, moving to keep warm. The sun filtered through the trees, low in the sky and I chased patches of sun around the park. Not for warmth, but because I hoped to get some photos of birds today and in the dark canopy it’s impossible to capture anything with the camera.

My first stop was the north end roost where I’ve been seeing the Barred Owl. She was there again on the same branch, but instead of being close to the trunk as she usually is, she was out a few feet where she sat in the broken sunshine, trying to get what warmth she could from it. I then wandered the arboretum, weaving around, going from sun patch to sun patch. I encountered a flock of chickadees in a hemlock tree foraging in the branches, delicately removing seeds from the tiny cones. I scared up a group of juncos foraging on the path and then I walked by the southern roost and found the male Barred Owl there.

I kept going and heard the call of a flickers and spotted a Cooper’s Hawk in the top of the tree. In the next tree over was the flicker and the hawk swooped out, flying right over me and away. I then walked through the Pacific Connections garden and flushed up many Song Sparrows, juncos, and towhees while a Bewick’s Wren scolded. I listened and heard a Steller’s Jay calling and saw two more flickers in a large Big-leaf Maple. A towhee let me get relatively close to take photos before I wandered back north again. I stopped by a cedar where sapsuckers had recently been spotted, and although I didn’t find them, I did find a hummingbird drinking from the sap wells.

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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