This giant sequoia is well known on campus for its incredible height! Perhaps the largest tree on campus? The red bark is stunning, a brighter hue than that of the western red cedar which is similarly soft to the touch.
Throughout the meadows at the UBNA, these dry remnants of Queen Anne's lace protrude above the still low grass. They are remarkably in tact for having survived the snow of the winter, still standing though completely dried out. Why would a plant do this? For the longest time I didn't know what this was, thinking it was some kind of fennel.
This was one among maybe 30 tufts of lichen growing on a leaf-less deciduous tree. Many other varieties were also taking over the branches of this small tree that may have been dead!
There is truly a forest of this horsetail in the low section of the UBNA just outside the Urban Horticulture Center. I am not totally sure which species this is, but the large cone-like tip looked the most like Giant Horsetail. These stems, topped with the cone-like structure, grow just next to a lot of horse tail that might be describes as leafy, it has little leaves/spikes actually emerging in circles around the stem. Are these two types one species of horse-tail at different stages? Or two species? Or a male and female of the same species?
Many of these willows grow at varying heights and sizes right next to the ponds at the UBNA. The roots are submerged in marshy-mud. I only know to identify this as willow by the yellow bark, but am not sure of the variety. Some of the larger ones- more like trees, were adorned with these puffy catkins all along the branches!
I think that these are buffleheads.. They were swimming in pairs along the waterside at the UBNA. Every time I stopped to capture a photo of them, the male would submerge himself completely underwater and re-emerge only in time for the female to submerge herself. Finally I caught one with them both out of the water!
I found this plant alongside the path through the UBNA as it gets close to the Urban Horticulture Center and gets a little bit marshy. Although the plant has no flowers as of now, I never forget those fuzzy leaves having once been told that thimble berry is also known as "toilet-paper of the forest." This particular plant was young, only about .5m tall.
I heard this one's song before I looked up and saw him in the tree, sitting and singing with such a force! So often we see robins hopping around on the ground, eating worms and perhaps collecting nest material, but today all the robins I saw were perched in the trees, singing to each other!
These white-crowned sparrows were hopping about in a little grassy area just above the Burke-Gilman, I passed them on my way to the UBNA. Unfortunately I don't have a GPS reading for the precise spot.
They seemed to be eating something in the grass, but hopped up into this blackberry bramble when I got close.
This pair was "swimming" in the little pond at the bottom of the medicinal herb garden. For 20 minutes or so, they moved along the water scooping algae off the sides of the pond with their beaks (perfectly shaped for algae scooping!) After these 20 minutes they hoisted themselves out of the water and waddled cautiously past me to the slightly larger pond at my back where they dunked themselves, seemingly bathing before laying down for a nap at the pool side.
This moth was resting against the wall inside Irwin's Cafe. I had no idea that it was a moth until I searched google after taking the photo, but I still am unclear as to the specific genus. I did not see it fly or even move at all, it seemed to enjoy resting on the blue wall. From what I can tell, the two long spikes that create the top of the "T"shape, are actually the moth's wings folded up.
This plant is growing in clumps around the lower part of the medicinal herb garden, right outside of Benson Hall. I thought at first that it was a type of false Solomon's Seal, but the leaves are growing up and on top of each other rather than splaying outward and flat the way that Solomon's seal does. The leaves don't look unlike a lily, but the flowers not like any I could find in Pojar. The plants were around 3 ft. tall, growing in damp soil very near water. One of the pictures depicts the contrast between this plant and the false Solomon's Seal.
Alongside the ladybugs, this jumping spider seemed to be sunning itself on the rocks lining the burke gilman. It moved very quickly and hurried underneath the small rock overhang when it discovered my presence.
Many lupine were growing in the inner meadow at the union bay natural area. Lupine are nitrogen fixers, so they are some of the first plants to grow in open areas after fires or other events that clear wide spaces. Right now, none of the purple flowers are present, I didn't even see any buds, but many of the leaves are growing in clumps among the grasses. The entire plant was quite fuzzy, each leaf plant consisting of 10-14 long leaflets. The number of leaflets is definitive of the species, most of the others have fewer, and smaller leaflets.
Many of the leaves held a large crystaline droplet of water in the center, perfectly caught between the upward sloping leaves. Why would a lupine want to trap water like this?
This dark green shrub has been planted all along the side of the burke gilman. Each bush is about 1m tall and quite thick. The leaves are about 2.5 cm long and 1 cm wide-- dark green on top with a waxy coating making them appear very shiny. The bottoms of the leaves are a lighter green with three major veins splitting them into defined segments. Some of the shrubs have a few blue flowers, but not all of them. The flowers actually appear old, could they be left from last year? or is this a winter blooming plant? The plants are otherwise totally covered in small buds that appear to be leaves, not flower buds. I wonder if they were chosen simply for aesthetic reasons or if the plants serve to help the soil from eroding down onto the trail.
This is one among maybe 30 ladybugs I found sunning themselves on the warm black rocks lining the burke gilman. The beetles were completely still until I approached them with my camera. They were of uniform size, and most with 6 black spots on their red backs.
I am not sure whether or not this is a botanical flower. I found it growing quite by itself (not appearing to have been planted) along the burke gilman with a number of other shrubs and sprawling plants. I thought it might be wood hyacinth, but that is a common name that didn't register with inaturalist, it could be wild hyacinth, I'm not sure of the difference between wild and wood and simple bluebells. The stems were about 25 cm tall.
These little light-brown mushrooms were growing in dense clumps out of the bark on the burke. They were quite thick for a full 20m along the trail. The mushrooms ranged from 1-3.5cm wide, though one large one was 6.5 cm across the cap. The bigger mushrooms had cracked surfaces, but the smaller ones were very smooth with white stems. The undersides of the caps were deeply gilled and had a darker brown color. The ground where they were growing is quite exposed, and not particularly wet, though the bark layer surely provides some insulation of the moisture in the soil.
This plant was sprawling along the edge of the Burke Gilman, seeming to grow up tall, and then fall over so as to expand horizontally. The leaves and stem were all very sticky, seemingly covered in pokey fuzz. The stem was square, consisting of 4 sharp edges, out of which grew circles of leaves at 6-9cm intervals. There were no visible flowers-- I photographed something like a bud, but I think it was more leaves, not a flower bud.
Along the burke I noticed a number of small plants with leaves that reminded me of carrot tops- fairly low growing and very divided. Each leaflet divides into 5 segments, each of which is further divided into 2 of 3 segments, depending on placement. The leaves were bright green with distinctly red tips. I was puzzled at identifying the plant until I walked 100 yards further and found this beautiful yellow flower- a poppy! No other buds were present on this plant, it seemed to be a very early blossom.
This rosemary bush was growing among a number of different shrubs in a bit of garden outside of Benson hall, near to, but not in the medicinal herb garden. I think that rosemary is actually native to Europe, specifically the Mediterranean, but I see it growing everywhere in Seattle- it's evergreen needles seem well-adapted to the climate here. The needles on rosemary bushes are very fragrant all year around and even when the flowers are long fallen, the needles remain delicious to smell and eat!
Growing beneath and between a lot of other shrubs, including a ground cover of english ivy, were these 3 lone false solomon seal plants. There are no flowers at all as of yet, despite spring having arrived, this plant is still in full shade.
Found in patches around the medicinal herb garden, I am not sure whether or not this was planted, but it seems to be fairly freely growing in the shade under the trees outside Benson Hall.
Growing as a hedge around multiple part of the medicinal herb garden, it was around 1m tall and very thick. Many bees are already attracted to the many tiny flowers adorning this plant.
The most common sea star, most often known as the purple sea star, we saw at least 10 or 12 on the beach. Even the orange ones are known as purple sea stars. The spikes on sea stars' back are actually tiny scissors that help kill off anything that might try to attach itself and grow on its back. Thanks to Celso Reyes for snapping photos and sharing them with me!
The terror of the tide pools, sunflower stars eat anything and everything. This one was moving towards a live dungeness crab as we watched it, even though starfish do not feed out of water. Starfish feed by pushing out their stomachs and digesting their food without ever having to in-take it. Thanks to my friend Celso Reyes for taking photos when my camera was out.
There were hundreds of these peeking out of the sand at low-tide on Saturday. They are very similar to geoducks, but with much smaller shells and far more common. They are unable to completely retract the siphon within the shell, but do sink completely below the sand when they detect vibrations above the sand, i.e. human footsteps. Both of the holes belong to the same clam, but one is for taking in water and the other expelling it in the characteristic clam squirt. Thanks to Celso Reyes for snapping photos when my camera was out.
Growing in the mud just off the path, the skunk cabbage was certainly fragrant! The brilliant yellow is unmistakable in the early-spring brown and green color scheme of the delta. Each plant was approx. 30-70cm tall.
This cattail is probably left from last year, having gone to seed. Not many of the seed heads are left at all, mostly just reeds growing in the fresh water at the delta.
This is a crab molt, i.e. the perfectly intact shell left over from a crab that outgrew it. But I am not sure of the type of crab. You can identify a crab molt if you find a shell that opens cleanly when you lightly lift up the back side, or "open the back door." A regular dead crab will still have the meat inside, and the shell will not open easily. When crabs outgrow their shells, they molt and then spend a few weeks growing a hard outer shell, how vulnerable they must be during the inter-rim, completely exposed and without claws at all. Thanks to Celso Reyes for taking this photo for me when my camera was dead.