Field Journal: First Dragonfly of the Year

It was one of the first truly warm days of the year so far and I wanted to find dragonflies. After dropping my daughter off at her forest preschool I walked down to the pond which I’d spent so much time at during my 365 Nature Project. Although it was fairly early in the day I had hopes of finding some odes. When I first arrived there wasn’t much flying over the pond so I had my lunch and waited for the sun to warm the air. I then surveyed the pond and discovered a few Pacific Forktail…

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Field Journal: Arboretum Bird Visitors

Over the last two weeks I’ve encountered a couple of unusual birds visiting Washington Park Arboretum. Last week as the kids from my daughter’s outdoor forest preschool played in the meadow after school, we noticed some colorful birds flying around in the ash trees. They were Western Tanagers, bright red and yellow birds which are hard to miss. I rarely see them in Seattle and it was lucky they were flying around on a sunny day and I had my camera to take some photos. They never sat perched long, constantly flying away from the tree they were in…

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Field Journal: Say’s Phoebe at Magnuson Park

A day without rain, or so the weather forecast promised, so I decided to make a morning of it and head to Magnuson Park after dropping my daughter off at her forest preschool. On my way it started to rain. I’m rarely caught off-guard with the wrong jacket, but tired of month after month of wearing my raincoat, I had opted for a lighter jacket. Fortunately the rain had nearly stopped by the time I arrived at Magnuson Park and I was treated to blue skies punctuated with rolling black clouds. None of the clouds dropped more rain on…

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Field Journal: Sinking Grebes

There’s something interesting about Pied-billed Grebes. They are very small compared to ducks and with their brown coloring they are easily overlooked in ponds. I tend to pay attention to them however and during my 365 Nature Project I witnessed them doing unusual things. One of those thing I watched again today during a visit to Magnuson Park in Seattle. At the far eastern end of the wetlands I saw a couple pairs of ducks in the pond. The first, a Mallard pair suddenly leaped out of the water in a frenzy of wings and in the swirling…

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Field Journal: Short-eared Owls

Sometimes we all need a moment of peace, but sometimes a whole day is even better. Near the end of my 365 Nature Project I took a few solo adventures to visit locations around the Olympic Peninsula and rather got a taste for it. On Saturday, with the weather warmer and no rain in the forecast, I decided on a spontaneous adventure for a day of peace. The news has been overwhelming over the last week and with my four year old being particularly challenging at the same time, I needed a break. I’d been hearing quite a bit about…

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Field Journal: Magnuson Park Beavers & Hooded Mergansers

Friday was another sunny day and slightly warmer than it has been and I wanted to take advantage of the weather while my daughter was at school. I decided to visit Magnuson Park and as I walked along the trails I noticed buds on different plants were already large and swollen, some already with green poking out. The low angle of the sun always makes an interesting perspective because while I could stand in the sun and pretend it’s spring, the low rays betray the season. Backlighting is quite beautiful this time of the year as the sun shines…

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