Monday, May 27, 2013

Union Bay Natural Area


The Urban Horticultural Center is part of the University of Washington and is located near the main campus here in Seattle.  In addition to the cultivated gardens there is a large natural area with paths that weave in and out of wetlands and grasslands along the bay.  This is not a forest path but more like open countryside.  It is a favorite destination for many bird watchers. 

At the junction of the paths is an information kiosk that almost always has a daily report of what birds have been spotted recently—anything from ducks, blackbirds, egrets, hawks, to the odd wanderer who dropped by unexpectedly like the rare Asian duck last year.  Along the way here and there are benches and if one sits still and listens a wonderful symphony of birdcalls can be heard.  Here are a few pictures from our afternoon in the Union Bay Natural Area.

Pictured above are some of the many turtles lining a log in the water.   Although they look small in the photo they are approximately the size of a dessert plate, not so small after all.

Yellow Iris

Closer view of Iris

A Wild Rose with a bee and one without. 

The bees were out and interested not only in these wild roses but the bumblebees were busy in the Lupine.

The photo has been enlarged several times to show the bright orange pollen sacs on the bumblebee’s legs.

A Bumblebee in the Lupine.

The Lupine here was slightly different than the Lupine at the Boeing Creek Park in Shoreline. 

The butterfly posed just long enough to get a photo before it flew away.  I think this is a Mourning Cloak butterfly even though it is not a velvety black color. The butterfly field guide describes the color as a deep maroon brown.  Looking closely at the leaf and stem it is possible to see some pearly egg sacs so it is likely that she was laying eggs when I took the picture.  Amazing.

This photo was taken from the small bridge over the stream.  The scene reminded me of Monet’s lily pads.  I am not completely sure but think this may be Ravenna Creek as it enters the bay.

One of several information boards along the paths.

Before the Ballard locks were completed in 1916 the water level of Lake Washington was higher so this area was under water.  Later a large section was a landfill garbage dump.  Today the land is being restored to wetlands and grasslands.  It is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon.

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