365 Nature – Day 39

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.



Update:: Bumble Bee Watch ID’d my bumble bee as Bombus melanopygus and requested I submit my sighting to their website, which I just did.

One thing I’m quickly learning as I do this 365 Nature project is that when I plan to go look for something specific, I either don’t find it, or get distracted and find something else entirely. There is so much going on all the time outside, between the changing seasons, the weather or the wildlife every day is quite literally a surprise. I never know what I’m going to find and I’m learning to simply roll with it and follow whatever it is out there that attracts my attention.

Today my plan of looking for lichens was quickly derailed by the fascinating Magnolia skeleton leaves. I’ve seen them before, but something about the sunny day illuminating them on the ground caught my attention. This time I held them up and realized how the internal form of the leaf echoes the forms of trees and plants. It’s quite beautiful to see inside a leaf.

Later a small flock of birds caught my attention because I heard a different call. When I looked with my binoculars I was surprised to find a pair of Crossbills in my view. I did a double take because they were with a flock of Pine Siskins foraging in the sweetgum trees. It’s not a bird I’ve found in the arboretum before, a lucky find for me today.

Later, as I rushed down the path to pick up my daughter from school, I happened upon a bumble bee on the paved path, one which had a bright orange abdomen. It was likely a newly emerged queen but she was moving very slowly. I put my hand down and she climbed right up and I put her on a shrub in the sun. In hindsight I should have carried her a ways with me and delivered her onto the big group of crocus so she could have had a nice, easy source of nectar. I hope she makes it.

I may start carrying a sugar water mix with me in case I come across more newly emerged bees.

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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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