Field Journal: Jones and Yellow Islands

In the middle of May I was fortunate enough to sail aboard the Orion, a beautiful sailboat which tours the San Juan Islands in Washington. The tour was offered by the North Cascades Institute as part of their field excursions program. I had never been on a sailboat before so it was a new experience to look forward to and although the weather forecast had the possibility of rain, the entire weekend ended up being sunny and beautiful with calm waters. 

Setting Sail

We left Anacortes, located on Fidalgo Island…

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Field Journal: Cabrillo National Monument Tidepools

In the afternoon of our second and last full day in San Diego, after we visited Tecolote Canyon we headed towards the Pacific Ocean. I wanted to find tide pools to visit at low tide and read that Cabrillo National Monument had some pretty nice marine fauna. Unfortunately, what I didn’t realize was that it was a free parks day and by afternoon the place was absolutely packed. There was no parking near the tide pools and when we finally arrived, after low tide had already peaked, there were so many people that navigating the rocky…

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Field Journal: Tecolote Canyon

To begin our second day in San Diego, I chose to visit a place I’d heard about but had not yet seen, Tecolote Canyon. The park is named tecolote which also means owl and indeed, Great-horned Owls and Barn Owls can be found there with some even nesting. The morning started as overcast, but plenty warm enough for us Seattleites. We immediately encountered a few California Towhees at the entrance area, rather dull brown birds at first glance, with with a subtle orange/red color upon closer inspection. I also found a few California Thrashers, jay-sized birds,…

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Field Journal: Winged Balboa Park

Whenever we visit San Diego, one of the very first places we head is Balboa Park. This time was no exception and we arrived at the park early in the morning and started wandering around looking for wildlife. I heard and saw birds like California Towhees and Black Phoebes, but couldn’t find many bugs. Much of the park is highly manicured and the flowering plants had little wildlife visiting, despite the warm morning sun. We visited a couple of gardens finding not much more than a very large grasshopper. Although I’ve been to San Diego many times to visit…

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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…

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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.


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