Field Journal: Spring at Magnuson Park

I’ve visited Magnuson Park twice in the last couple of weeks hoping with the warmer weather to find my first dragonflies of the year. The first visit was on the 17th and although it was supposed to get warm that day, the morning was cloudy and cool. The sun did show up right as I was leaving naturally, but too late for insects to be active. However, I found some other interesting things to watch in the absence of dragonflies. Near where I usually begin my walk I heard the usual Red-winged Blackbirds and saw some activity in the…

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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: Alki Beach Opalescent Nudibranchs

For Mother’s Day I chose to visit Alki Beach at low tide, one of my favorite activities in Seattle. It was busy on the beach and after noticing the many red hats walking around I realized it was one of the Seattle Aquarium’s Beach Naturalist days. The red capped people were volunteers there at low tide to educate visitors about the life on our shorelines. I started wandering and first watched a Great Blue Heron successfully fishing in the outgoing water. My next encounters were with chitons, limpets and sea anemones. Like I saw the…

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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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