Field Journal: Yesler Swamp


Yesterday I took a walk around Yesler Swamp, a newly opened and restored landscape on the north side of Union Bay. It was dramatically different from when I visited in September on Day 265 of my 365 Nature Project. Whereas in September the boardwalk was like walking through a dense, green jungle, today it was barren and brown and I could see through most of the landscape. The sky looked wide open with all the trees and shrubs bare and the brown and muddy ground was exposed. I could hear many birds; robins were flocking around the entrance, Song Sparrows were singing from perches all around the boardwalk and closer to the water, dozens of Red-winged Blackbirds trilled. 

When I arrived at the water I noticed ducks, a lot of them. Not that the water was covered in hundreds of ducks, but there were many different species of ducks, along with a Belted Kingfisher calling from a tree over the water. The list of ducks was impressive: Wood Duck, Mallard, Gadwall, Green-winged Teal, American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Bufflehead, Common Merganser and Hooded Merganser. If I had spent more time there with my binoculars I’m betting I would have seen more in the small swamp. 

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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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  1. This is lovely Kelly – the sound is such an additional treat!! It would be really wonderful to see all those ducks together.

    What do you use to record sound BTW? I’d love to experiment with that up here!

    K.

    (It’s amazing to see all the images of your 365 (366) Days of Nature project all in one place – what an amazing project!)

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