Everyone knows it rains a lot in Seattle and with the Puget Sound on our doorstep, stormwater runoff can have a huge impact on the aquatic ecosystem. In the Puget Sound there are octopus, sharks, harbor seals, sea anemones, sea stars, crabs, clams, salmon and something called sea cauliflower. This multitude of wildlife is important culturally, economically as well as environmentally. Stormwater runoff is the rainwater that falls and runs over impervious surfaces to the nearest waterways. In places without impervious surfaces, the water is intercepted by trees, plants and the leaf litter on the ground and moves extremely slowly …continue reading
The newly released 3rd edition of Bumblebees, number 6 of the Naturalists’ Handbooks series for ecology and identification by Pelagic Publishing, is a phenomenal resource. Focused on British bumblebees, this book is full of information about all aspects of the ecology of bumblebees which makes it a valuable resource for readers in any location. It’s a book which is not overburdened with too much scientific data (although much is referenced), but still packs in a great deal of information, this book is very useful. I recently researched bumblebees for an Urban Species Profile and I wish I’d had this book then …continue reading
Common Name: Mylitta Crescent Scientific Name: Phyciodes mylitta Family: Nymphalidae The Mylitta Crescent butterfly (Phyciodes mylitta) is a common sight to the west coast of North America. Mylitta was an ancient Babylonian goddess of fertility, their name for Aphrodite and perhaps the butterfly is appropriately named because they often produce multiple broods each year. Another urban species, like the Woodland Skipper, these butterflies are frequently found in disturbed sites such as vacant lots, roadsides and fencerows. They also can be found in fields, wet meadows, water edges, woodland openings, canyons and weedy areas. The Mylitta Crescent is a bit of a bully …continue reading
Today marks the beginning of National Pollinator Week, a good time to think about pollinators. Many posts from The Metropolitan Field Guide have focused on pollinators, so to begin Pollinator Week, here is a roundup of the posts. Once you learn about pollinators, visit Pollinator Design and Butterfly and Moth Design for many resources to learn how to design for pollinators.
As the 2011 Integrated Habitats Design Competition is getting launched, I’m looking at the winning entries from the 2010 competition in a series of posts. The Overflow Carpark designers asks a very important question: “While it may prove impossible to eliminate the need for cars and carparks in the near future, how can we reinterpret their rather banal landscape to provide broader range of services, to act as robust green infrastructure for both the city and second nature?” The team of Claire Mookerjee and Mat Triebner provide a solution to this question that goes beyond the current ideas of stormwater management. They …continue reading
The California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is an unmistakable bright splash found everywhere from roadsides and traffic circles to rocky slopes and vineyards. In fact early visitors by ship along the California coastline saw the sun hitting the fields of poppies and declared this was a land on fire. It’s native to the west coast of the US from the Columbia Gorge in southwest Washington south to California, but naturalized widely in the Pacific Northwest. Included in the poppy family (Papaveracea), this flower is the official California State Flower. This perennial grows well in sun and partial shade and is quite …continue reading