Field Journal: Arboretum Bee Flies

Spring has brought more rain to Seattle but at times it’s also brought sun. Friday was one of those sunny spring days that brings everyone outside from whatever they are doing. I packed my camera and stayed at the arboretum after I dropped my daughter off at her outdoor forest preschool because I’d been seeing bee flies around and wanted to photograph them. I hopped from sun patch to sun patch through the forest and it wasn’t long until I found my first bee fly. It was hovering in a sunbeam along with other insects and I stopped to…

Continue reading →

Field Journal: Arboretum CNC

On the final two days of the Seattle City Nature Challenge I visited my daughter’s outdoor forest preschool at the arboretum. I talked to the kids about citizen science and how they could all contribute to science and then read a story about finding nature in the city. The kids of course, are already familiar with the concept of urban nature as they encounter it every day at school. They dig around for worms and centipedes, keep a close eye on the weather, watch the Bald Eagles and Barred Owls and visit the ponds to see dragonflies and turtles.


Continue reading →

Field Journal: Magnuson Park CNC

On the final weekend day of the Seattle City Nature Challenge I headed for one of my favorite places in Seattle, Magnuson Park. The day promised to be warm and sunny and I hoped some insects would be out which I could document as Seattle’s biodiversity. When I arrived it wasn’t yet very warm, but there was plenty to see. I immediately found a bumble bee visiting some purple deadnettle when I entered the wetlands. As I walked around the first set of ponds I counted Red-winged Blackbirds, Violet-green Swallows, American Goldfinches, Bushtits and Green-winged Teal. I listened…

Continue reading →

Field Journal: Saltwater State Park CNC

The second day of the Seattle City Nature Challenge promised to be sunny and to make the most of it I headed again to the beach hoping to add to the biodiversity for Seattle. This time I went to Saltwater State Park, just south of Seattle. I had been there a couple of times before and remembered it was a rocky beach with a freshwater stream emptying out into Puget Sound. Again I arrived an hour or so before low tide and started to make my way down the rocky shore to the…

Continue reading →

Field Journal: Alki Beach CNC

On the first day of the Seattle City Nature Challenge, and the last day of spring break, I took my daughter to Alki Beach in Seattle. I hoped to contribute some seashore life to iNaturalist for the challenge and I knew Alki Beach had much to offer. It wasn’t the most promising weather, but at least it was dry to begin with, if cool. We arrived an hour before low tide and I quickly observed Brant geese, Sanderlings, Crows and gulls. Then we dug in to the shoreline and watched Feather-duster Worms, which my…

Continue reading →

Seattle City Nature Challenge

Beginning tonight, at midnight, the first Seattle City Nature Challenge begins. Launched last year as an effort between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this year it’s expanded to 16 US cities, including Seattle, which I’m organizing. 

The City Nature Challenge is a nationwide urban bioblitz for anyone and everyone to participate in. Together, we can help document the urban nature of Seattle for science. Anyone can be a citizen scientist from April 14-18 and it’s very easy:

  1. Download the iNaturalist app (available for Android and iOS)
  2. Get outside and take photos…

Continue reading →