365 Nature – Day 355

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


Although the forecast called for rain, it’s a bright and sunny day here in Seattle. All morning the wind raged through the trees rattling their bones together but by afternoon it calmed. In the morning we walked to the beach behind our house to see what was in the lake. There were few birds, most had probably found calm shelter in a cove somewhere else along the lake, but a few stuck around our little bay. There was one cormorant perched on the posts in the water and nearby a handful of small birds swam, likely Pied-billed Grebes, but difficult to say with the backlighting of the sun. The water of the lake was surprisingly calm, not reflective calm, but far from the chopping peaks I had expected during the wind.

After exploring the beach we returned home to survey the yard for birds. The Anna’s hummingbirds were still active, surprising when you consider how little they weigh. The gusts of wind must have a significant impact to such a tiny body, but they persisted in chasing one another regardless of the wind. Thanks to the sun I could get good looks at their feathers, the small patch of shining red on the female, and the oversized gorget of the male. Impressive as it is from the front, especially with the light hitting it, it’s the view from behind which always surprises me. When I watch the male on the feeder, when his back is to me, I’m always astonished how far those small gorget feathers protrude from the tiny neck and head.

The crows also visited picking at the peanuts I put out this morning. American Goldfinches and Black-capped Chickadees are still regular visitors at the feeders while Golden-crowned Sparrows frequent the backyard.

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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