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Looking back over my photos from 2015 I realized what a nature filled year it was for me. Sometimes when I get lost in the daily routine and only manage a short time outside I forget how much I’ve seen over the year. Looking at my photos is a great reminder of how many places I visited and how many things I saw. Here are some of the highlights of 2015, with links to photo albums.

Olympic Peninsula


In January we made an overnight trip to the Olympic Peninsula where we drove along Hood Canal to Port Townsend. We also visited Port Angeles, Dungeness and Marrowstone Island. It was beautiful in the winter with perfectly photogenic fog over the harbors and in the forests.

 View photos of the Olympic Peninsula


Glacier National Park


In June we made a trip to Glacier National Park and were lucky enough to spend a few days exploring the park. We did some hiking and encountered a Black Bear and drove up the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass where we found Mountain Goats and Big Horn Sheep.

View photos of  Glacier National Park:
Avalanche Lake
East Glacier
McDonald Creek & Lake McDonald
Going-to-the-Sun Road
Logan Pass


Denny Creek Camping


Also in June we went to Denny Creek in the Cascades to camp and hike and we found many butterflies and moths. I also spent time sitting on rocks along the creek and watching a Dipper.

View photos from Denny Creek



By far the most exciting nature experience of the year was visiting western Norway. We drove all over the fjords and saw one spectacular breathtaking view after another from the bottom of the fjords to the top of the mountains. Perhaps the biggest highlight of the trip was visiting the bird island of Runde where we took a boat tour and saw Shags, Murres, Puffins, Razorbills, Gannets, Kittiwakes and most spectacularly, White-tailed Eagles.

View photos from Norway:
The Snow Road
Sognefjord to Nordfjord
Nordfjord to Geirangerfjord


Backyard Invertebrates


Back at home during the spring and summer we spent a lot of time out in our garden hunting and watching insects. Over the last three years we’ve added a lot of new plants and this year we dug up part of our front lawn and planted a flower meadow. The new flowers attracted a constant stream of pollinators and other insects which I tried to photograph and document.

View photos of our backyard invertebrates


30 Days Wild

16644 30 Days Wild_Wallchart 1-5

During the entire month of June my daughter and I participated in The Wildlife Trust’s 30 Days Wild campaign. Each day we chose a ‘random act of wildness to do. I documented our activities on the 30 Days Wild post.


Mount Rainier National Park


In August for my birthday we went camping at Mount Rainier and spent a couple wonderful days hiking and exploring the Sunrise area. A couple months later in October, I took a solo trip to hike around the Paradise area.

View more photos of Mount Rainier National Park:
Sunrise – Sourdough Ridge Nature Trail
Sunrise – Silver Forest


Washington Park Arboretum Fungi


During the autumn months I enjoyed hunting for fungi in the arboretum after dropping my daughter off at her forest school. The Washington Park Arboretum has a great diversity of fungi in addition to their plants. I also enjoyed watching the leaves changing colors and finding many species of birds around the park including a Barred Owl.

View photos of Washington Park Arboretum


Backyard Birds


Throughout the year I enjoyed watching and photographing the birds that visited our yard. I ended with with quite a wide diversity including crows, Steller’s Jay, Black-capped and Chestnut-backed Chickadees, Bewicks Wren, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Red-winged Blackbird, Bushtit, White-crowned, Golden-crowned, Song and House Sparrows and a regular Cooper’s Hawk.

View photos of my backyard birds


Nature Journaling


During the autumn I started keeping a nature journal after taking a watercolor sketching class. It’s a habit I hope to keep for many years to come and something I look forward to improving on. I wrote about my adventures in Learning to Watercolor and I added created a new page for my journal.


Forest School


Perhaps the nature highlight I’m most grateful for is my daughter’s forest preschool, Fiddleheads, here in Seattle. She started attending in the fall this year and it’s been a wonderful experience that we all love.  I’m extremely grateful every day that we were lucky enough to get into this wonderful school. It was recently featured on the New York Times.


Here’s hoping to exciting nature adventures in 2016!

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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She is the author of NATURE OBSCURA: A City’s Hidden Natural World from Mountaineers Books. She writes freelance articles about natural history and has bylines in Crosscut, Popular Science, 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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