Tritonia festiva: A Nudibranch Presentation

This is a slightly silly, but fun slideshow presentation I made about a nudibranch I see here in Seattle, Tritonia festiva using my own photos.

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Diary of an Urban Wild Garden: Crane Fly Frenzy

When a crane fly is at rest, you can see how it resembles a crane, the long, elegant legs sit daintily on leaves holding the slender body aloft. But as soon as they take flight the illusion is shattered as their bumbling, clumsy flight is revealed. They don’t so much land on plants, but crash headlong into them.

Over the last few weeks, at the first sign of the awakening insects, I’ve regularly gone out into my wildlife garden with my camera to watch and document who visits. The usual mason bees showed up first followed by some large fuzzy digger bees. (More on the abundance of bees in another diary entry.) But I also began to see crane flies. They’re not new to the garden of course, I’ve seen them in the past, but recently I have seen a lot of them….

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Field Journal: Viikki Nature Reserve

One of the most memorable places I visited the last time I was in Helsinki was the Viikki Nature Reserve and I wanted to return again this trip. Although we spent time exploring the Kivinokka area this summer, it isn’t technically part of the nature reserve. There are many different habitats in the nature reserve and last trip I walked through the north part of Viikki which is fields and some woods. I thought I remembered walking on a boardwalk through reed wetlands, but couldn’t remember where that was. I made my best guess and we decided to walk from Klädesfabriksparken towards Kuusiluoto which was shown on the map as a boardwalk. 

Before entering the reserve, we walked through a park where we saw a group of barnacle geese with goslings and then crossed over a bridge. From the bridge I noticed a small group of hooded crows…

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Field Journal: Late Summer Dragons at Magnuson

A month ago I attended a dragonfly class at Magnuson Park with dragonfly expert, Dennis Paulson. He talked about the dragonfly’s life cycle during the class portion, then we went out to Magnuson Park in Seattle to look at the odes. The season had already begun to fade as many he had seen just a week ago were no longer flying. We did see many blue-eyed darners, cardinal meadowhawks, eight-spotted skimmers, blue dashers and western pondhawks. A single black saddlebag patrolled the pond. There were a few tule bluet and California spreadwing damselflies as well. I spotted one unfortunate blue-eyed darner which had become trapped in the water, only its head was above the surface as it tried to fly out, unsuccessfully. Paulson said that happens sometimes when the males fight, one will become stuck in the water and die. Some of the ponds had dried out, as they…

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Field Journal: Harakka Island, Helsinki

Harakka Island is a stone’s throw from the shore in Helsinki and as we waited for the boat to arrive to shuttle us there, I watched large groups of Barnacle Geese wandering around the park and swimming in the water. Some had goslings, but they stayed apart from a large group of geese without young. Walking down to the dock, a Common Tern sat on the hand rail, occasionally leaving to dive after fish in the water below. Along the shore oystercatchers stood with, but apart from the geese and out in the water Common Mergansers swam. 

Our first stop after arriving on the island was to visit the nature center located in a small building a short walk up the hill. Inside they had microscopes set up to see the aquatic life found in the water and other curiosities found on and around the island. The workers told us…

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Field Journal: Kivinokka, Helsinki

While we were in Helsinki we visited the Kivinokka area a couple of times because we were staying within easy walking distance of it. The last time I visited Finland I had taken a short trip to Kivinokka and remembered seeing a lot of birds in the forest area. It’s just outside the boundary of the Viikki Nature Reserve, but included on the maps of the area and has trails and a viewing platform to look out over the reed beds. 

It was much as I remembered. Most of the peninsula is dotted with Finnish summer cabins, tiny buildings with no electricity or water, tucked away among the forest. Many were red, some blue, green or yellow, but all were enviable as somewhere to spend a weekend or an entire week. Along the water I spotted Barnacle Geese with goslings swimming among the boats. Docked were some beautiful, wooden…

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