Tritonia festiva: A Nudibranch Presentation

This is a slightly silly, but fun slideshow presentation I made about a nudibranch I see here in Seattle, Tritonia festiva using my own photos.

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Mothers Unite! (No children required)

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

Mother: One who watches moths.

This week is National Moth Week and although it’s nearly over, you still have time to get out and see some moths. Moths are one of nature’s most interesting insects, and incredibly numerous. Think a moth is drab and boring? Do a quick search for plume moths, or a Rosy Maple Moth. Personally, I love the subtle beauty of the shapes and patterns of moths. They have more natural, understated beauty like Ingrid Bergman while butterflies are flashier and brighter like Marilyn Monroe. While butterflies get the vast majority of the glory, moths outnumber them 14-1. There are 11,000 species in North America and over 142,000 in the world. They often fly at night making them seem less numerous. Unlike other night prowlers like bats, moths are easy to find and watch in your…

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Metropolitan Dawn Chorus

Think, every morning when the sun peeps through
The dim leaf-latticed windows of the grove,
How jubilant the happy birds renew
Their old, melodious madrigals of love!
And when you think of this, remember too
‘T always morning somewhere, and above
The awakening continents, from shore to shore
Somewhere the birds are singing ever more

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, from ‘The Birds of Killingworth

Earlier in May was International Dawn Chorus Day and if you happened to wake up very early and opened your windows, you’d know why. Started and embraced widely in the UK, it’s much less known here in the US. This last IDCD had a single registered event in the whole of North and South America while the UK hosted dozens of events. It occurs annually on the first Sunday in May and has been going on since the 1980’s. Fortunately, the birds keep right on singing, whether we’re celebrating them or not.


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Urban Species Profile:: Hover Flies

One of my favorite insects to find in the city, and they’re incredibly easy to see if you know what to look for, are the hover flies. The family Syrphidae contains about 6,000 species (890 in North America). They’re known as Syrphid flies but more commonly they’re called hover flies or flower flies, and can be found around the world in a variety of habitats. You’ve possibly seen them but mistaken them for a bee, as many of them resemble them so convincingly, their images are often wrongly used on articles about bees. Look a little closer and you’ll see these are not bees; they have two wings like all in the Diptera (fly) family, while bees and wasps have four wings. They are identifiable from other flies because they have a ‘false vein’, or a vein between the third and fourth longitudinal veins that ends without attaching to other veins. It’s this false vein,…

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Urban Species Profile:: River Otter

While many species may come to mind with the term ‘urban wildlife’, otters are not likely among the first to come to mind. Despite this, they can be seen in urban areas. In fact in three of the last cities I’ve called home, I’ve seen River Otters in two of them.

River Otters can be found throughout most of North America in fresh and even salt water. While River Otters may be common throughout the region, they are less common in urban areas. When I saw a River Otter in Eugene, Oregon along the Millrace which runs through town, nobody believed me until I shared the photos to prove it wasn’t one of the abundant nutria. It wasn’t the last time I saw that otter during the three years we lived there either. However, they are most common in waterways and watersheds which contain clean water with healthy fish populations. You can…

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How to Find Nature in the City

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

Perhaps you live in the city, or you’re visiting for a conference, family or vacation. We’re all nature fiends here and we need our nature fix. Even those who are not self declared nature fiends need their nature fix, they just aren’t aware of it. Worry not, it’s not as hard as you might think to find nature in the city.

How to find it

First of all, you have to change the way you think. Sure, bears and deer and mountain birds are great, but you’re not likely to find them in the city center. Although, sometimes you can be in for a treat when a Snowy Owl takes out a gull in the middle of a busy neighborhood, or if you’re lucky enough to live in a city like Seattle where Orca whales are regularly…

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