Photos. Some, like Cliff who forwarded us these photos, had their snow shovels ready this past weekend.
Wrong Bird Identified – Black Turnstone not Surfbird . I misidentified the shorebird in the last Illahee Update. I was so happy to see what I thought was a Surfbird I didn’t closely examine its close cousin the Black Turnstone. If that wasn’t bad enough I had a photo in a book that shows the two look alikes side by side, including an easy giveaway, the color of their feet. The Black Turnstone is the bird on the right and has purple tinted colored feet. A Surfbird has yellow feet. Thanks to Chris for quickly catching my error.
Surfbirds. This is a first for us, Surfbirds in Illahee. They are normally found on rocky areas along the coast or the San Juans. Some interesting information from the website whatbird.com.
- The Surfbird is usually classified in a genus of its own, as Aphriza virgata, but recent data suggests it is very close genetically to the Red and Great Knots and should be included in Calidris genus. Indeed, the Great Knot looks similar to a larger, longer-billed, somewhat darker surfbird.
- The USS Surfbird (AM-383) is one of 173 Auk Class minesweepers built during World War II for service in the United States Navy. She was eventually decommissioned and sold. Renamed the Helenka B, she was involved in the March 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill clean up.
- They remain on the nest until the last moment, and then fly up in the intruding animal’s face, a defense mechanism used on humans as well.
- A group of surfbirds are collectively known as a “board” and a “kahuna” of surfbirds.
New Preserve Signs. If you haven’t driven by the Preserve on Riddell or Almira recently this sign will be new to you. Otherwise you likely noticed about 20 of them around the border of the Preserve.
Eurasian Wigeon. How do we know the same flock of American wigeons come year after year? We think is because we have seen one Eurasian wigeon every year for years in the local flock that frequents the Illahee waterfront. We haven’t noticed its mate this year and we haven’t seen any offspring so we will keep watching for it and reporting on this unusual visitor until he stops coming.
Photos. The first photo is of a male Barrow’s Goldeneye that seems to prefer salt water in the winter. It is primarily a Northwest duck that lives and has its nests in trees in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. And as such its young must drop down from the nest when they are young. So where does it get its name? The following quote is from “Birds of Seattle and Puget Sound”: “This northwestern duck bears the name of an Englishman who never visited the region. Sir John Barrow was an early 19th-century explorer intent on finding a passage through the Arctic. Although he never completed his lifelong mission, his name also graces a number of important Arctic landmarks.”
Photos. Thanks to Cliff for this photo taken two weeks ago (12/13/17) from his back yard near Illahee State Park. A similar photo was on the front page of the Kitsap Sun (12/15/17) with the caption “A fallstreak hole, also known as a hole punch cloud, appeared over East Bremerton on Wednesday afternoon. The cloud formation can occur when water droplets in certain clouds freeze suddenly and fall, leaving a hole.”
Photos. If you have some good snow scenes we will include them in our next Update.
Coyote Report. “A pack of coyotes has been causing a massive evening opera outside our place for the last five days. I am very careful not to let my dog outside alone. You may want to put something in your updates warning pet owners to be on the alert.”
Wednesday Port Meeting. Residents are encouraged to attend the Port of Illahee meetings which are held at the Port of Brownsville’s Annex (until the Illahee Store can be acquired). On the agenda is the Port’s lawyer, Ken Bagwell, presenting actions needed to acquire the Illahee Store. Also on the agenda is the possible changing of the meeting time (currently 5 pm) to allow more workers and commuters to attend.”
Huckleberries. We came across someone eating huckleberries while walking their dog in the Illahee Preserve, as there were still berries like these in some areas.
Homeless Camps. In spite of close monitoring, homeless camps keep showing up in the Preserve. It doesn’t take long for an area to be trashed, requiring volunteers to clean up the garbage. Five camps were recently found and posted with a notice to vacate, in this case by a deputy and Preserve Stewards. They are given time to pack up and leave, but nearly always leave a big mess, like these in the photos.
Wetland Map. In past Updates mention was made of an ongoing 10 year wetland struggle. The wetland was finally delineated this fall and a preliminary map prepared which shows a much larger wetland complex (over 2 acres) than the small less than half acre wetland that was presented during the first hearing in 2007, which is why the appeal was filed. More on this in a later Update when the stream data is added.
Timbers Edge II. A month ago emails/letters were requested from residents and Preserve users showing support for acquiring the Timbers Edge II property (the former Avery Homestead) for a southeast entrance to the Illahee Preserve. Those letters of support appear to be efficacious as discussions are looking positive for a possible purchase. Approximately $400,000 will still need to be raised with grants being a partial possibility, property trades, and community contributions.
Major Contributions Needed. Many give gifts this time of year and the Illahee Forest Preserve is a 501.c.3 non-profit established to support the Preserve. Contributions can be made through the Kitsap Community Foundation to the Lost Continent/Timbers Edge Fund, P.O. Box 3670, Silverdale, WA 98383 or directly to the Illahee Forest Preserve, Jon Buesch, Treasurer, 6253 East Blvd, Bremerton, WA 98311.
Tax Deductions & RMDs. Gifts qualify for tax deductions to the amount allowed by law. Also, for those over 70 who need to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) gifts can be given directly to non-profits so they aren’t taxed as income.
Does the Preserve Need Financial Help? The answer is YES! Property purchases are very expensive, as are wetland battles involving lawyers and experts (reported to be nearly $20,000 this year alone). The initial Timbers Edge purchase was $565,000 and the community contributed $130,000 in 2015. A few faithful contributors are keeping the non-profit in the black, but more financial support is currently needed. Acquisition progress is shown on the slide below.
RCO Visit. A week ago the Preserve was visited by the state Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) representative for Kitsap County. The visit involved looking at the various properties around the Preserve that have been identified for a possible purchase. The grant cycle is every two years with 2018 the next one and the Preserve will be applying for an acquisition grant for this cycle, using the earlier Timbers Edge purchase amount to meet the 50% grant match requirement.
Preserve Meeting. The Preserve Stewards meet monthly the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm at the Kitsap Pavilion meeting room, which will be December 19th. Everyone is welcome. Find out how the Preserve Stewards are taking care of this amazing forested treasure located in our backyard. If questions, respond to this email.