Date: 5/30/18 11:55 am
From: Constance Sidles <constancesidles...>
Subject: [Tweeters] Montlake Fill today
Hey tweets, long time, no tweet. I've been busy editing and producing a field guide to the common insects of the Pacific NW for Seattle Audubon. The book is being readied for shipment from overseas even as I write, so it should be available in another 4 weeks or so at the Nature Shop and UW Bookstore.

As an aside, this is a *wonderful* field guide written over the past 10 years by WWU's entomologist, Merrill Peterson. It's more than 500 pages of photos and ID tips for insects from southern BC to northern CA. My *very* favorite bug is called a Golden Tortoise Beetle. It's a small beetle that looks fashioned out of molten gold. The ancient Egyptians would have gone crazy for this insect! What I like best about it, though, is this: Under normal conditions, the GTB spends its life chomping on Morning Glory leaves and minding its own business, glinting goldly in the sunlight. If you bother it, though, it compresses a layer of fluid under its outer shell and turns dull orange. Then it absolutely *refuses* to change back to gold until you go away.

Don't you just love the idea of a bug that looks its most beautiful and valuable only when left strictly alone by people, and if people can't give it its space, it goes from gold to dross and stays that way until the people disappear?

Speaking of which, the mitigation people are at it again at the Fill, spraying Roundup everywhere. This is at least the 16th time to my knowledge they have sprayed Roundup in the past 2 years - more than 5 times alone in the past month and a half. They're doing it to get rid of invasive plants that they should have gotten rid of by digging up the roots, instead of burying the plants under a a few tons of wood chips. The sprayers will be active today and tomorrow and signs warn that people should stay away until after 6/1.

Before the sprayers arrived this morning, though, the Fill was glorious: tall grasses waving in the slight breeze, alight with drops of rain that sparkled like rubies, emeralds, and diamonds - more precious to me than any mere stones could ever be, no matter how many facets a jeweler were to cut them into. In the swamp, a SWAINSON'S THRUSH was singing, its song echoing tremolo from the woods like an ethereal flute solo. Down the Loop Trail, a nesting HOUSE WREN was singing too, a kind of cross between a Bewick's Wren and a Pacific Wren greeting the morning. On the other side of the trail, a female LAZULI BUNTING flew to the top of a small fruit tree and turned her face to the sun. She's not as bright as her mate, but she has her own quiet beauty.

On Main Pond, swallows and swifts bent down to skim the still waters, drinking as they flew. My eye was caught by a WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE who has been fly-catching from the bushes at the south end for a few days now. It was joined briefly by an ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER - maybe the same one that spent awhile with us last year near this date. A happy surprise that nature gifted to me, one that helped make up for the attempts my own species makes to control a nature that is bigger than we are and more powerful than we like to think. Here's a list of what was present today:

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Cinnamon Teal
Blue-winged Teal
Pied-billed Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Green Heron
Anna's Hummingbird
Vaux's Swift
Bald Eagle
Cooper's Hawk
Virginia Rail
Glaucous-winged Gull
Caspian Tern
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Western Wood-Pewee
Ash-throated Flycatcher
American Crow
Barn Swallow
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
American Robin
Swainson's Thrush
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Yellow Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
Song Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Lazuli Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Sparrow

- Connie, Seattle

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