Diary of an Urban Wild Garden: Spring Nesting

This spring our wildlife garden has seen a lot of activity. Last year, during my 365 Nature Project, we watched a Bewick’s Wren pair make a nest in our backyard nest box, while a pair of American Robins built a nest in our front yard. This year the wrens returned, but opted for a different nest box. In our backyard I have put up a red box, which the wrens chose last year. I also have a blue box hanging from the garage which has never been used. Then there’s the wood box built by my husband, also never used. Last year I found another wood box at a thrift store and stashed it in the garage. It’s meant to be mounted on a post and this spring I just wedged it into our forsythia for a lack of anywhere better to put it.

To my surprise,…

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Diary of an Urban Wild Garden: Spotted Towhee Nest

A week or so ago I realized we may have a Spotted Towhee nest in our backyard, in addition to the Black-capped Chickadee and Bewick’s Wren nests. I was pulling weeds in the area which used to be a large deck and will one day be a wildlife pond, when a towhee flew up from almost under my feet. Realizing what it meant I quickly retreated and left the area to its own devices for the time being. Instead I started to watch, and indeed, a pair of towhees were constantly on the fence and in the neighbor’s tree. A couple of times I crept back to the corner of the garden trying to find the nest, but after some scolding from the towhees I quickly abandoned the search.

They were very sneaky, flying in and out from different places and I couldn’t discover where the nest was. Once I’d think…

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Field Journal: Snow in Seattle

It’s not very often we get snow in the city of Seattle, and even less often we get multiple inches. But last night it started snowing and it was still coming down this morning. I measured four and a half inches on our deck rail early this morning. It continued coming down off and on throughout the morning and the trees were covered in snow. All the bare branches had a thick layer of white and a slight tap would bring it crashing down. The neighborhood kids were out immediately and everyone migrated to our park where there’s a sizable hill for sledding. A immature Bald Eagle was flying over the trees as we arrived and I heard it had been fishing in Lake Washington. Red-winged Blackbirds were calling form the white trees in the wetlands. As the kids sledded, we heard cracks and then watched two branches break…

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365 Nature – Day 352

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Learn more about the project and see all the 365 Nature posts.


Last night the temperatures dipped into the 20’s, quite cold for Seattle, and I forgot to bring the hummingbird feeders inside. When I know we have freezing weather in the forecast I try and remember to take the hummingbird feeders down and bring them inside the house. Of course, I often forget and last night I forgot so this morning the feeder on the window was a solid block of ice. I brought it inside, put it in the sink and used the hair dryer to melt it before returning it to the window hook. Our backyard Anna’s Hummingbird was there quickly to feed. She has regularly been sitting in our forsythia, which is one of the only mature plants in the backyard. She’s so consistent I can…

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365 Nature – Day 346

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Learn more about the project and see all the 365 Nature posts.


Yesterday afternoon our Ring doorbell motion detector rang and I assumed it was the mail. The Ring doorbell is a device that senses motion as well as a doorbell and if it detects movement, or if someone rings it, it starts to record video. Usually we use this to see who is at the door or talk to people at the door if we’re not home. The motion sensor rings many times each day either from the mail or other delivery, ourselves coming or going or large trucks like garbage trucks going by.

Yesterday though was a surprise. I heard the ringer and went to check the mail a few minutes later and was surprised there was no mail and no packages. I checked the recorded video and was…

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365 Nature – Day 345

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Learn more about the project and see all the 365 Nature posts.


I’ve spent so much time in the arboretum during the autumn finding fungi, I have overlooked my own garden. With the adjustment to preschool every day, it’s left less time for our own yard observations. That, coupled with one of the wettest autumns on record, I’ve spend very little time in our yard. I still watch the birds from our windows and so don’t completely neglect our yard, but there’s always far more to see while outside.

Today, while watching the Anna’s Hummingbird at our window feeder, I noticed a mushroom growing along our fence on an old branch. A few years ago a neighbor cut down a tree and I salvaged many of the branches for use in our backyard habitat. Many of them I laid down on…

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