Can you find the duck in this photo? - February 22, 2018

Female Gadwall camouflaged by cattails
Magnuson Park Wetlands
Seattle, Washington
February 22, 2018

Residents of the city of Seattle know all about the stresses of urban growth. Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. All the new people, buildings and traffic create huge stress for many Seattleites. Sometimes, all you want to do is head out into nature and disappear. 

The stresses of growth also impact the animals who call the city home. Fortunately for some, there are places to just disappear. Magnuson Park in Northeast Seattle is one of those places.

In order to deal with the pollutants in surface storm water and to provide overflow drainage during heavy rains, Seattle created a series of wetland ponds at the former naval air station. Ringed by dense plantings of willows, cattails and other native plants, the wetland ponds slowly cleanse runoff before it enters into Lake Washington. 

The ponds also create habitat for resident and migratory birds looking for a place to rest and recharge. 

The female gadwall pictured above is perfectly suited for the ponds. Her tan and brown plumage help her to blend into adjacent cattails. The cattails also provide nooks and crannies in which to hide from potential predators, such as the raptors common to the park. 

Below is a detail of the image above. From a distance, the female gadwall seems dull and understated compared to her male counterpart. Up close, it is easy to admire her intricate beauty and design patterns. 

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