With a flock of geese on the beach.
An osprey from a nest flew to the branch, and then another joined it.
Adult osprey flying in and out of nest to feed the one baby in nest.
Grey body with few tints of green and white on the wings
Bee on radpberries
Phalangium opilio. 1/4" in size. The head/thorax and abdomen are joined in a single body which is yellowish brown and sometimes striped. The legs are long, arching; 2nd pair longest. It eats tiny spiders, insects, and plant juices.They like to live in tree trunks, fields, and buildings.
Order: Coleoptera. I found this beetle making his way across a Red Alder leaf as pictured. They are shiny black, very small, and appear to have fused wings.
Phylum: Mollusca. Class: Gastropoda. These little creatures can be easily found at the site dwelling in the water's edge usually attached to fallen leaves. They are brown with spiraling shells and only about the size of your fingertip.
Enallagma carunculatum. Order: Dragonfly. This is a 1" damselfly. The males have a black head and a blue/black striped body. The wings are clear. They prefer ponds and lakes for habitat and are present May-September. They can be seen at the site buzzing around near the plants close to the pond.
Arion ater. Class: Gastropod. These slugs reach a sizable 2". They have cylindrical and tapering body shapes. They are reddish brown in color. They have retractable eyes and are covered in a mucus layer. Leaving behind trails of slime in their wake they are mainly nocturnal. They prefer gardens, meadows, and edges of woodlands. I found this one resting on a plant near the water's edge.
Rana catesbeiana. True Frog family. These are the largest frogs in the Pacific Northwest reaching a whopping 6". They are green on top with a dark spotted pattern and yellow underneath. They bear enormous eardrums right behind their large golden eyes. This is an invasive species to the area and in part due to its large size has decimated native populations by out-competing them, preying on them, and bringing disease. They have a distinct booming call that you can't miss in the Spring afternoons at the wetland.
Toxomerus geminatus. Order: Diptera. These insects are commonly known as "Flower Flies". They are true flies in that they only have one pair of wings. They are furry and paired with their yellow and black coloring can often be mistake for bees at first glance. They are flower dependent much like bees and butterflies though so you will often seem them hovering among flowering plants. Therefore, they are important for pollination. Their larvae is also known to eat pests like aphids and can be useful in protecting plants from herbivorous insects.
Order: Lepidoptera. This caterpillar can be found all over Western Washington in the Spring. They form large clusters in trees that appear web-like in texture. They are black and yellow in color and fuzzy to the touch. Many who have grown up in the area remember collecting these guys from our yards in buckets as they are safe to handle. At my site they can be found traversing the boardwalk handrails like the one pictured.
These ants are a light reddish brown, smaller in size, and have no noticeable pincers like other ants.The smaller, lighter ants I've found most often exploring on plants like the one pictured on the Vine Maple leaf.
Order: Hymenoptera. I have found at least 2 distinct species of ant at the wetland. One is larger with a brown lower segment and black middle segment and head. It has very visible pincers as well! The larger, darker ants are most often found on the ground climbing through leaf litter. .
Castor canadensis. Beaver family. This species is dark brown with a high rounded back like many other rodents. Eyes and ears are small as they're nocturnal creatures; they have poor eyesight but they make up for it in hearing and smell abilities. Since they're semi-aquatic they have webbed hind feet. Of course they have the distinct paddle-shaped tail which is black and scaly. There is at least one resident beaver that the Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary. During my visits I had noted evidence of its presence via felled trees with the characteristic break pattern inflicted by a beaver. But I've only seen it once and I'm lucky to have even done that as they are nocturnal by nature. You're best chance of catching one would be before sunset or sunrise then. I happened to see it in the late evening before sunset. It swam along the pond's edge and then climbed ashore and shook off its coat. I was able to get a good look thanks to my binoculars.
Branta canadensis. This large waterfowl species reaches almost 4' in length and has a wingspan between 4'-6'. They have brown backs and wings, black necks with a white chinstrap, and a brown chest. Their bottoms are white with a black tail. In groups they can be seen flying in a V-shaped pattern. At my site though, I only ever see one or two individuals at a time. They tend to rest on the pond logs or come ashore to forage. They aren't very wary of humans like the Mallards and will come up to you.
Corvus brachyrhynchos. Crow and Jay family. 18" with shiny black feathers. A thick black beak. Wingtips look like fingers. I'm sure you've seen this bird before. This bird species is bold and noisy! They have a distinct "Caaw caaw!" call that they let out for any and all reasons. They are able to make use of any space for habitat from wetlands to parking lots. I most often see the crows at my sight being chased off by the local Red-Winged Blackbird.
Agelaius phoeniceus. Blackbird subfamily. This highly territorial male bird is glossy black with bright red and yellow shoulder patches (epaulets). Females are brown with dark patterning and resemble a large dark sparrow. The males call from trees, shrubs, and tall reeds. At the wetland a male seems to have staked a claim in the reeds across the pond. His airspace extends to my side of the pond though as that's the point he chases intruders to! Their tell-tale call goes "I SEE you!". At the site I hear him more often than I see him so keep your ears open!
Carduelis tristis. Finch family. This brightly colored bird can be easy to spot against a green canopy in summer when the males are mostly yellow with a black forehead and wings. They have white stripes on their black wings and a white bottom. Their call is similar to a canary's. I spotted one in a Red Alder tree as I entered my site, but it flew away before I could get my binoculars out. You simply can't miss that coloring even with the naked eye though.
Melospiza melodia. This happy little bird only gets to be around 6" with dark striping patterns against a light brown background. They're a light gray underneath. They have grayish-brown "eyebrows" and a centered dark spot on the chest. Note how the tail is not patterned though. This species has one of the highest number of song variations-- 20 or more. These variations are used by males to modulate aggression as well as attract females. A common song of their's goes something like "Tee tee teeee burrr tee tee tee". These little birds are very common in the region making homes of spaces ranging from relatively wild, like the wetland, to backyards in the suburbs.
They are small and quick in flight as they flit across the pond in late afternoons catching insects. The way I identify them is by their white underside, forked tail and beautiful blue-green top sides. The white hits just under the beak. This, along with the other characteristics, allows you to distinguish them from other swallow species.
Hirundo rustica. Swallow family. These birds are slightly larger than the other swallows reaching 7". They mature to become shiny blue on top with an orange underside, throat, and forehead. The characteristic forked tail is very long in this species. They are known for their extremely fast flying so you're best bet at identifying them is to notice the tail shape and orange underside. It stands out well against the sky during flight. They're only around April-September and as one of the flashiest birds here you don't want to miss them! I saw one flying among a good number of tree swallows in the afternoon. The would climb high in the sky and them plummet to the water's surface catching bugs. I swear I saw one snag a drink mid-flight too!
Parus atricapillus.Chickadee family. These birds are on the small side topping out around 5". Their back, wings, and tails are gray. The sides are tan and underneath is white. They're aptly named since the "cap" and throat are black. Their face and behind the head is white. Their distinct head markings make them easy to identify even with the naked eye. Their tell-tale call also aids in this when they choose not to make themselves seen. The neumonic goes "Chicka-dee-dee-dee". The number of "dee's" varies according to the level of the threat they are seeing. For example, a hawk would likely merit more "dee's" than a human.
Turdus migratorius. Thrush subfamily. At 10" in size this is a common bird of the region and easy to spot! The chest is a red-orange, the topside is gray-brown, and the head is blackish in males with an incomplete white eye ring. The tail is also comparatively black and the beak is distinctly yellow. Females bear the same basic coloring albeit less intensely. These birds can often be seen foraging on the ground in search of earthworms during the warmer months. They roost in groups. The neumonic I use to identify them by sound alone goes "Cheery-up, cheerio". It's one of the easiest calls to memorize. These birds are often hopping along the trail near the entrance to my site, but I did observe one resting at the top of a nearby snag for a good amount of time with my binoculars.
Aix sponsa. Waterfowl family. These ducks are a fair size at 19" and dabble like the Mallards. The males' coloring is iridescent with a dark purple back, purple chest with white spotting and tan sides. His head will be dark green like a Mallard's with a distinct laid-back crest which, to me, resembles a mullet in the back. The male also displays a white chinstrap and eye ring as well as at the base of the bill. He is one of the flashiest colored birds I've seen here. The female (as pictured) is shades of brown with an elongated white eye ring and underside. They frequent swamps, marshes, and slow rivers which explains their appearance at the wetland.
Bucephala albeola. Waterfowl family. 14" in size, these ducks are divers. That means they go completely underwater when foraging for food. They're smaller than the familiar Mallards and distinctly different in coloring. The male has a black back, white underside, and white back half of the head.The female is brown apart from a large white spot behind her eye. They have relatively short bills. Unlike the Mallard, this species is migratory. They leave the area in April so if you want to catch a sighting be sure to stop by before then.
Anas platyrhyncos ssp. domesticus. Waterfowl family. The male here appears to be a hybrid of a Mallard and Domestic duck (perhaps Pekin). The female looks like a regular Mallard. I was confounded when I first saw the pair as the female was clearly Mallard and the male was something I'd never seen before. I didn't know these birds could hybridize. How interesting!
Salix lucida. Willow family. This tree can reach 30' in height. At my site it has taken more of the thicket-forming shrub shape. Leaves are around 5", lanceolate, and fine-toothed. The bark is brown. When it flowers it displays yellow catkins that vary in length according to sex. Its known habitat is low elevation streamides so it makes sense that it's growing at the wetland. I found it near the water's edge, not surprisingly.
Corylus cornuta. Birch family. This plant can reach 15' in height. It is a multi-stemmed shrub. The leaves at first glance might appear to be Red Alder but taking a closer look reveals the distinguishing details. Leaves are about 4" in length, ovate in shape and double toothed or serrated. The bark is brown and smooth. Flowers in the form of 3" yellow catkins between January and March so I haven't seen any at my site. It fruits in husks which encapsulate an edible nut. This plant likes low-mid elevation wet forests which explains its presence at Narbeck Wetland Sanctuary.