Neighborhood Walks | 4.02.2016

Wow, I’ve been stuck indoors for a while. Thankfully, we have had some seriously gorgeous weather this last week, which has not only inspired me to get back outside, but to start planning trips for the summer and the weekends leading up to it. Goals are to make it to the Mima Mounds in Olympia while the wildflowers are blooming, to get the full length of Dungeness Spit hiked before the tide comes in, to make a trip to the San Juan Islands with our daughter, and to do some exploring of the Bellingham area. Wish me luck actually making those things happen – sometimes life interrupts!

The last few days I’ve been making a point of getting caught up, so to speak, on what’s been going on in my neighborhood, but today was the first day I brought a camera. The family and I wandered around about 4 miles of our neighborhood trails that cover our backyard wetlands and forests of varying density.

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Walk: 65°F | 2-5PM| About 4 miles | Bothell, WA

I cannot even express how much I love our neighborhood trails. The entire Seattle area is one huge watershed made up of tiny streams and roaring rivers, all flowing into our many lakes, and then into Puget Sound. Washington has gotten pretty good at protecting its waterways and bordering them with native plants to better the health of our salmon and other important species. This makes walking along said waterways a wonderful experience – to be truly immersed in nature while still in the city is not a common thing in other regions.

Today we noted the native plants, pointing them out to our daughter so that she may begin to recognize them again after a winter of, admittedly, video games and movies. Salmonberry bushes, big leaf maples, Indian plum, and Oregon grape are all in flower, and we’re seeing new shoots of nettles and thimbleberries in the underbrush. Kidlet was extremely offended by the proliferative skunk cabbage.

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It was kind of a magical day, honestly. The weather was summer-esque and new birds and bugs are arriving, but many of our wintertime friends are still here, for now. Knowing our neighborhood now, after walking it regularly for several years, I have a mental checklist of species I can expect to see at certain times, and I run it through in my mind as I notice buds sprouting here, waters receding there. Over the last few days the violet-green swallows have arrived, so I’ll be waiting on the barn swallows next… I just nerd out over all of it.

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Ducks in the ponds, hummingbirds performing dive-displays, fat bumblebees looking for good nesting sites…

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…cute squirrels scrambling all over.

Even back at home we were staring out of our windows with binoculars. The Pacific chorus frogs are abundant in the small reservoir pond out of our backdoor, we’re seeing rabbits every evening, and a pair of crows has started making a nest right off our patio. It is well hidden in a tall hawthorn bush, but I’ve pointed it out with an arrow:

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It should be exciting to have a great view of their whole parenting process. We have already observed them taking turns bringing in nesting material and guarding the spot, and have seen them chasing off eagles, other crows, and *attempting* to scare away the Canada geese.

It was a great day overall, and I’m feeling so motivated to make regular outings my routine again. Here’s hoping I can squeeze in enough outdoor time to carry me through until July when my job gets crazy again!

Areas visited: My neighborhood trails.

Species observed: Canada Goose, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Mallard (adults, adult domestic hybrid, ducklings), Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Pied-billed Grebe, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Anna’s Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Red-breasted Sapsucker, American Crow, Violet-green Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, American Robin, Spotted Towhee, Dark-eyed Junco, Red-winged Blackbird, Eastern Grey Squirrel.

We also heard Pileated Woodpeckers, Sora, Virginia Rail, American Bitterns, Wrens (probably Marsh), and Pacific Chorus Frogs.

 

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