Feb 182014
The Experience of 10,000 Crows

Every night from fall to spring, upwards of 10,000 crows fly from downtown Seattle and other surrounding areas to the University of Washington’s Bothell campus, located on the far north end of Lake Washington. They are here for their nightly roost, where all 10,000 of them, cawing and making a ruckus impossible to miss, gather together before descending into the wetland trees. There are several other crow roosts around the Puget Sound area, but none as large or magnificent as the Bothell roost. Along with the University of Washington, Cascade Community College shares this campus and hosted a crow evening …continue reading

Sep 252012
Book Preview:: Second Nature

I’m excited to bring you a preview of a book from an author intimately acquainted with urban wildlife habitat in Seattle. You may remember the Montlake Fill from the post Marsh Madness (Brackishology):: Marsh & Foster Islands and ‘the Fill’. The Montlake Fill is a world-famous birding site in the middle of northeast Seattle, on the UW campus near the Center for Urban Horticulture. Birders have seen more than 240 species there over the years, including rarities such as Golden Eagle, Brown Thrasher, and Tufted Duck (a mullet-decorated duck from Siberia). You can see something fun there every single day, as master …continue reading

Aug 272011
Magnuson Park:: Reconstructed Wetlands

Magnuson Park is located in Seattle along Lake Washington, north of the University of Washington. The park has a long history of dramatic land use change and part of it has now come back full circle. In the days of early settlers the area was a wetlands, alder grove, and Douglas fir forest with trees up to six feet in diameter. In the following years the site saw a homestead, brickyard, shipyard and post office.  This landscape was altered in 1917 with the building of the canals and Ballard Locks when the level of Lake Washington was lowered by nine feet …continue reading

Jul 132011
The Zoomazium Green Roof:: Revisited with other Zoo Highlights

Last February I visited the Woodland Park Zoo to view the green roof on the Zoomazium building. At that point, in 2010, the roof was about four years old already so I didn’t expect dramatic changes when I revisited recently. However, the roof looked completely different. What was simply low-growing grasses and small shrubs had transformed into a tall, colorful meadow. Standing on top of the roof, it feels like standing in a meadow because the grasses had grown so high, some nearly as tall as me, that if feels really enclosed, not at all like standing on a roof. With …continue reading

Mar 232011
Marsh Madness (Brackishology):: Marsh & Foster Islands and 'the Fill'

This post is for Marsh Madness, an idea from Ken Lo at the Connected by Nature Blog. “Brackishology n., (brackish, slightly salty, as in the combination of seawater & fresh water, + ology, the study of) the study of wetlands during the NCAA basketball tournament. See also #MarshMadness.” Read more about Marsh Madness and Brackishology here. Seattle is fortunate to have wetlands in the city although they are a relatively new feature. In 1916, when the Chittenden Locks were finished they lowered the level of Lake Washington and Union Bay between nine and eleven feet. This exposed two islands on …continue reading

Feb 042011
Sunset Park, Corvallis, Oregon

Sunset Park is located in Corvallis, Oregon in the Willamette Valley. Its current structure is fairly new, having been renovated around 2006 to restore wetland habitat for the Dunawi Creek that runs along the edge of the park. Dunawi Creek is an urban, stream running from Bald Hill, through town to the confluence with Mary’s River. The renovation plan was done by Alta Planning and Design, and part of the design incorporates the culture of the local Native Americans. Some of the plants reflect that connection because they were traditionally used for basket weaving, and an interpretive sign describes how …continue reading