Diary of an Urban Wild Garden: Spring Nesting

This spring our wildlife garden has seen a lot of activity. Last year, during my 365 Nature Project, we watched a Bewick’s Wren pair make a nest in our backyard nest box, while a pair of American Robins built a nest in our front yard. This year the wrens returned, but opted for a different nest box. In our backyard I have put up a red box, which the wrens chose last year. I also have a blue box hanging from the garage which has never been used. Then there’s the wood box built by my…

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Field Journal: Late Spring Insects at Magnuson Park

With the warm and sunny weather coming to a temporary end, I wanted to make the most of it to find some insects before the cool weather arrived. The day started sunny and although I arrived at the park in the morning, there was plenty moving around. The rose plants were full of small bumble bees and a few damselflies cruised around the edges of the ponds. I surveyed the grassy hillside where I often see dragonflies resting in the morning before they warm up enough to fly. While looking for dragonflies, I noticed a bright red insect sitting…

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Diary of an Urban Wild Garden: Spotted Towhee Nest

A week or so ago I realized we may have a Spotted Towhee nest in our backyard, in addition to the Black-capped Chickadee and Bewick’s Wren nests. I was pulling weeds in the area which used to be a large deck and will one day be a wildlife pond, when a towhee flew up from almost under my feet. Realizing what it meant I quickly retreated and left the area to its own devices for the time being. Instead I started to watch, and indeed, a pair of towhees were constantly on the fence and in the neighbor’s tree….

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Field Journal: Low Tide at Alki Beach

Last weekend we had the first of our really low tides of the year and I took advantage of it by heading to Alki Beach two days in a row. On both days I was eager to explore and although the low tide didn’t reach the lowest until just after noon, I arrived before 11 am both days. Even though it wasn’t yet at the lowest point, a great amount of beach was exposed, much more than I’d seen all winter long. Both days I wandered up and down the beach. Alki Beach has a diverse habitat with some…

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Nature Picture Books: Lila, Fox and Barnacle

We recently brought home a stack of books from the library and three in particular really stood out. They all had a nature focus but were very different in tone. 

Lila and the Crow

Written and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard, this book was first brought to my attention by Georgia of Local Ecologist who frequently shares books her family is reading on Twitter. I was intrigued by the crow and put it on hold at our library. Lila and the Crow is perhaps one of the most beautifully…

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Field Journal: Sunfish at Magnuson Park

I recently received a new GoPro which I’d been hoping for to acquire and use for nature purposes. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve made use of the waterproof feature by putting it underwater. Last week and again this week I visited Magnuson Park and found a fish in one of the ponds which I recorded with my GoPro. The fish was identified as likely a Northern Sunfish (Lepomis peltastes) with the possibility it’s a Pumpkinseed (L.gibbosus) by Dr. Solomon David, an aquatic biologist. The Northern Sunfish is not native to the Pacific Northwest, but…

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