365 Nature – Day 69

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.


While spring is a time of change, not all those transitions are arrivals of colorful flowers and warmer weather. It’s also of departure, most noticeably in Union Bay and Lake Washington with the dwindling numbers of water birds. Each day there are fewer and fewer ducks on the water in Seattle as they return north. A few remain, today I was lucky enough to get a relatively close encounter with a pair of Wood Ducks. They, along with Gadwall and a couple other ducks, stay here throughout the seasons. Compared to other ducks however, I’ve found them to be much less tolerant of people. And yet while I was at the arboretum today they swam fairly close to where I stood. The American Coots and Mallards came much closer, they are used to being fed by visitors, but for a Wood Duck, I counted it as a close visit.

I walked out to Foster and Marsh Islands again today, the Violet-green Swallows I’d noticed on sunny Day 62 were nowhere to be found and the bay sat fairly empty. There were Pied-billed Grebes and a couple of Ring-necked Ducks, but even the cormorants seemed to have vanished. I did encounter a group of Song Sparrows collecting materials for a nest. And the Bald Eagles are currently incubating eggs in their nest nearby. It’s an interesting time when the seasons overlap.

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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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