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What

Killdeer Charadrius vociferus

Observer

tessaf

Date

April 18, 2012

Description

For more information on the habitat and vegetation of the Union Bay Natural area, please see the journal entry for April 12, 2012 in my written journal and, for information on the weather of the day this was found, please see the journal entry for April 18, 2012 (Union Bay Natural Area) here on iNaturalist. At first, I thought this was a sandpiper because of its long legs, but I looked through species of sandpiper and realized that none of them have the same black and white stripes and red eyes that this individual does. Finally, I found that it could only be a killdeer. This little bird was only about a foot tall, with its long legs making up a little less than half of its height. This killdeer, like others, had a brown body with a white underside, red eyes, and large black stripes on its head and neck. Killdeer are common all over the western hemisphere and are considered shorebirds, though they often live far from water. This particular killdeer made its home on the edge of Union Bay, so it is one of its kind that actually lives near water. Killdeer make their nests in small depressions in the ground that are very well camouflaged as the eggs look like the stones the killdeer surround their nests with. Killdeer have a very interesting behavior to draw predators away from their nests. They will pretend to have a hurt wing, luring the predator toward it and away from its young. Once they are far from the nest, the killdeer will "heal" and fly away.

Picture taken by Olisavia Veliz, who accompanied me on this day and took a picture for me since my camera wasn't good enough to get this bird.

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Observer

tessaf

Date

April 18, 2012 08:26 PM PDT

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What

wild strawberry Fragaria vesca ssp. americana

Observer

tessaf

Date

April 18, 2012 08:18 PM PDT

Description

For more information on the habitat and vegetation of the area this was found, see the journal entry for April 12, 2012 in my written journal. For information on the weather that day, see the journal entry for April 18, 2012 here on iNaturalist. This plant had only just started to flower and was growing in a cluster of other plants such as deciduous trees and shrubs. Each leaf was about 2 inches long and the flowers were about half an inch wide.

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Observer

tessaf

Date

April 18, 2012 08:11 PM PDT

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What

Oxalis acetosella montana Oxalis montana

Observer

tessaf

Date

April 18, 2012 07:43 PM PDT

Description

For more information on the habitat and vegetation of the Union Bay Natural area, please see the journal entry for April 12, 2012 in my written journal and, for information on the weather of the day this was found, please see the journal entry for April 18, 2012 (Union Bay Natural Area) here on iNaturalist. This wood sorrel, like others, has large, heart shaped leaves that occur in groups of three on top of a stalk. Small, white flowers with pink streaks will bloom in late spring and larger, plain white flowers will bloom in the summer. It is a dominant herb in many ecosystems and its extensive root system helps stabilize the soil around it. This plant has been eaten by humans for centuries for ailments such as sore throats and for other uses such as an aphrodisiac.

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What

common cattail Typha latifolia

Observer

tessaf

Date

April 18, 2012 07:24 PM PDT

Description

For more information on the habitat and vegetation of the Union Bay Natural area, please see the journal entry for April 12, 2012 in my written journal and, for information on the weather of the day this was found, please see the journal entry for April 18, 2012 (Union Bay Natural Area) here on iNaturalist. These cattails were common all along the edge of the lake and on the edge of every smaller pond in the Union Bay Natural Area. They had an almost dead look to them, as their stems were light brown rather than green, and they were all about six feet tall, though some were shorter. The red-winged blackbirds that live in this area seemed to be fond of the cattails as the males and females often perched on them and some could be seen tearing at the fluff on the tops of the plants. These plants are considered an obligate wetland species because they are always found in or near water and they usually grow in flooded areas in shallow water. The cattails I observed lived in this way, as they all grew inside the lake or the ponds. This was hazardous for me, as the cattails made it seem as if the areas where they grew were stable, when they were actually deep puddles. I got my shoes soaked more than once because of these plants. Common cattails usually grow in freshwater, as it was at the Union Bay Natural Area, but it can also grow in slightly brackish water. Upon a reduction in salinity, cattails can replace native species in salt marshes, making it an invasive species. These plants are bioremediators in that they absorb pollutants from the water they grow in.

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What

Giant Crane Fly Holorusia hespera

Observer

tessaf

Date

April 18, 2012 07:11 PM PDT

Description

For more information on the habitat and vegetation of the Union Bay Natural area, please see the journal entry for April 12, 2012 in my written journal and, for information on the weather of the day this was found, please see the journal entry for April 18, 2012 (Union Bay Natural Area) here on iNaturalist. This giant crane fly, which is native to the western United States, was about an inch long and happened to land on a strand of prairie grass as I walked by. It had filmy wings about as long as its body and had six long, spindly legs. They are commonly known as mosquito eaters, though they don't actually eat mosquitoes. When they are larvae, they may eat mosquito larvae, but as adults, crane flies only eat nectar or nothing at all as the adults pretty much exist to mate and then die. They are completely harmless to humans and animals, but their larvae are considered pests in some areas because they consume roots of plants like turf grass.

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Observer

tessaf

Date

April 18, 2012 02:39 PM PDT

Description

For more information on the habitat and vegetation of the area this bee was found and on the weather the day it was found, please see the journal entry for April 18, 2012 (UW Seattle campus) here on iNaturalist. This yellow-faced bumblebee was found at first lying helplessly on the sidewalk next to the bus stop outside the Lander residence hall. It looked as if one of its wings was hurt, as it didn't fly away even when someone almost stepped on it. This bee might have even been in the last minutes of his life as it seemed incredibly weak. I got tired of seeing people almost killing it, so I got a leaf and had it crawl up onto it so I could take it over to the garden area behind the bus stop where the cherry laurel from a previous entry was located. Yellow-faced bumblebees are common all over western North America and this individual in particular was about 2 cm long, which is common in this species. Queens appear in early spring and begin nurturing their brood in underground colonies with the workers. They incubate the cluster until the adults emerge using thermoregulation, which is derived from honey, pollen, and nectar. Finally, the adult males and young queens leave the nest to mate late in spring and the old males, queens, and workers all die. The new queens overwinter and the cycle repeats itself.

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What

Prunus x yedoensis Prunus × yedoensis

Observer

tessaf

Date

April 18, 2012 12:26 PM PDT

Description

For more information on the habitat and vegetation of the area in which this tree was found and for the weather on the day it was found, please see the journal entry for April 18, 2012 (UW Seattle campus) here on iNaturalist. Prunus x yedoensis is a hybrid cherry tree of unknown origins that is one of the most popular flowering cherries in temperate areas all over the world. It is a small, deciduous tree and this particular individual was only about 9 feet tall, though in maturity these trees can reach anywhere from 16 - 39 feet tall. The flowers bloom in early spring and the leaves begin to come out in late spring. This particular tree, as the picture indicates had its large, pink flowers and was beginning to develop its smaller, obovate leaves with the jagged edges.

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What

American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos

Observer

tessaf

Date

April 18, 2012 12:25 PM PDT

Description

For more information on the habitat and vegetation of the area this bird was found and on the weather that day, please see the journal for April 18, 2012 (UW Seattle campus) here on iNaturalist. This crow was likely a female, as she was seen foraging for food with a much larger crow that was likely a male. These birds are common all over Seattle and on the UW Seattle campus as they can get plenty of scraps in these areas with heavy human populations. American crows are common, widespread, and highly adaptable. This crow in particular was a little more than a foot tall from her foot to the top of her head and had the squared tail and slightly curved bill that distinguishes crows from ravens. American crows are omnivorous and will eat pretty much anything from invertebrates to carrion to scraps of human food. They are one of few species of bird to be seen using tools to get to their food. These birds form large family groups of up to 15 individuals from several breeding seasons that stay together for years and breeding season begins in early spring around April. American crows act as a sentinel species indicating the presence of West Nile virus in an area because they succumb to it so easily.

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What

Eastern Gray Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis

Observer

tessaf

Date

April 18, 2012 12:21 PM PDT

Description

For more information on the habitat and vegetation of the area this squirrel was found and on the weather that day, please see the journal entry here on iNaturalist for April 18, 2012. These eastern gray squirrels are common all over the UW Seattle campus and in the Seattle area in general as I see them all the time. This particular squirrel was about a foot long from nose to the tip of the tail and its fur was, as its name implies, gray in color along its back and on parts of its tail. It also had patches of brownish fur and a white belly. It was extremely interested in me and whether or not I had food to offer. I have never seen a squirrel get so close to me before this one. This squirrel is not native to this area. It was introduced to several regions here in the western United States and has thrived ever since, proving that it is a very adaptable species. These squirrels, like most members of the family Sciuridae, is a scatter-horder, meaning that they hide their food in caches for later recovery using their very accurate spatial memory and sense of smell. This species of squirrel breeds twice a year, once in late winter and once in early summer. Wild individuals prefer dense woodlands and those that live near humans can be found pretty much anywhere with trees including backyards, parks, etc.

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