Illahee 10/14/14 Preserve Work Party, Preserve Dumping, Coyotes on Beach, Beaver Request, Beavers – Yes or No?

Preserve Work Party.  Last Friday (10/10/14) there was a major work party at the Illahee Preserve with the Washington Youth Academy (48 cadets and 4 support staff) and a small group from the aircraft carrier John C Stennis (CVN 74) that took care of all the wood chips at the Almira and Thompson Lane parking lots.  

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Additionally, logs from the habitated trees were moved to replace deteriorating logs lining the Native Plant Demonstration Rain Gardens at the center of the Almira parking lot.
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The wood chips at Thompson Lane were blocking parking stalls and needed to be removed before the fall rains began, which started after the work party.
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Thanks to these amazing volunteers and those who supervised who help make the Illahee Preserve such a special place!  

Preserve Dumping.  And after all the work to clean up the Almira entrance, during the weekend we had another dumping incident.  If you ever see this happen, please get the license number and call 911 and email us so we can do a follow-up story.
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Coyotes on Beach.  We got another report of coyotes on Illahee beaches and are hoping for a photo someday.
Beaver Request.  We also heard there was a request that beavers be introduced along the upper reaches of Illahee Creek, since there are reports of beavers needing to be relocated.  We heard there was a report that noted beaver in Illahee Creek were desirable to help control stormwater surges as their dams are porous enough for fish to get through.  
Beavers – Yes or No?   We said we would help champion the effort and will be contacting the county and local Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel to see what needs to be done, so let us know your thougths as this should be an issue where there is definite support within the local community.
Jim Aho

Illahee 10/8/14 Back Home, Heron Gets Rat, Sad Email, Illahee Ferry Name Rejected

Back Home.  Some have asked what happened to the Illahee Updates.  We have been looking for another reporter to help with the updates and to cover when we are out of town as we were for most of September and part of October, but no one has come forward yet.  So we will try to catch up beginning with a couple of items from yesterday.

Great Blue Heron Gets Rat.  This story was told first hand to us yesterday (10/7/14) about a great blue heron, likely this one that is often observed along the water’s edge.
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That is where it was on Tuesday and then was seen running quickly up the beach to a nearby ramp, and then waiting (stalking), and eventually striking and catching a rat with its long bill.  It then took the rat back down the beach and swallowed it.  The couple said this was a first for them and it reminded us of an email and video another Illahee resident recently sent us about another heron story that coroborates what these amazing birds can do.
Sad Email.  Those who fequent the Illahee Preserve know there are many who like to walk their dogs there.  We received the following email yesterday and were just given permission to share it.
Just wanted to let you know that we lost our sweet Belle a few days ago to cancer. We are both heart broken at losing Belle so soon and in the prime of her life. Tim took her for her last walk in the Preserve on Thurs before I got back from an overnight trip with my mum who was visiting from Scotland. We both said goodbye on Friday. The Preserve was her favorite park Jim and I’ll so miss our walks and biking together. Can’t quite bring myself to even visit the park without her. We were given Belle as a puppy and someone recommended Illahee Preserve as a great place to walk and visit. She was our walking, biking, horseback riding buddy and an amazingly sweet beautiful dog who loved every day and all the adventures we went on.
Illahee Ferry Name Rejected.  We reported in an earlier update that Illahee was a possible name for a new ferry, but no longer according to the following article in the Kitsap Sun:
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Thanks for Sharing!  Thanks for sharing your stories and photos with us and giving us permission to share them with the greater community.
Jim Aho

Illahee 8-31-14 Swallows, Illahee Day Report, Illahee History, Young Pheasant, Wood Chips, Holly, Crab Season, Clam Posting, Ship Traffic, Rainbow, Weeds?

Swallows.  Watched the two young swallows on the end on the gangway getting fed by their parents who were flying over the water catching bugs.

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Illahee Day Report.  There were approximately 40 to 50 who attended Illahee Day on August 16th, with lots of positive comments.
Illahee History.  The Manette Historical Society is hosting Bob and Carol Henning on Tuesday (9/2/14) who will be reporting on the subject “Growing Up in Illahee”.  Visitors are welcome.  The group meets the first Tuesday of the month at 1 pm in the basement of the Manette Community Church.
Young Pheasant.  We happened to get this photo (through a railing) of a young rooster pheasant who was just getting his colorful plumage.
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Wood Chips.  Just when it appears all the accumulated wood chips around the Thompson Lane parking lot of the Illahee Preserve were spread, a new batch appeared.  We heard volunteers are trying to get something going rather than wait for the next scheduled work party on October 10th.
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Holly.  English holly is just one of the invasive species the Illahee Preserve volunteer maintenance crew is trying to eradicate.  We found one small English holly stump that had been removed in Illahee recently with its root system somewhat intact, and noted the roots extended out 12-20 feet out in all directions, making it especially hard to get rid of as new starts can come up from any of the roots.
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Crab Season.  We haven’t monitored this year’s crab season, and with it closing on Monday (9/1/14), we would like to hear some reports on how successful it was for residents.
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Clam Posting.  Want to let any clam diggers know that the area is still posted.
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Ship Traffic.  This ship was seen leaving the Bremerton area and going through Rich Passage, and returned about a week later.
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Rainbow.  There was a rainbow on Saturday and we were fortunate to capture it with a kingfisher on a sailboat mast and a boat going by.
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Weeds?  We remember seeing weeds like these in a decorative arrangement, but don’t know what the name is, so hope someone will be able to help us.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 8/12/14 Illahee Day, Port Meeting, Illahee Store, Timbers Edge, Squirrels, Gardens

Illahee Day.  We noticed the sign just went up advertising Illahee Day for this Saturday, 8/16/14, and all are invited.  

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Purpose.  It was described at the last Port meeting as a time for residents to gather socially at the dock and waterfront area in front of the Port office facilities at 5500 Illahee Road. 
Food.  The Port is providing food and drinks.  In the past they have provided Subway sandwiches and we understand this year it will be catered by McClouds restaurant, primarily potato salad and hot dogs.
Other.  Copies of the film “Illahee – Saving Puget Sound, One Watershed at a Time” will be available for purchase, with the proceeds going the the Illahee Forest Preserve 501.c.3 non-profit group.

Port Meeting.  The monthly Port of Illahee meeting is the second Wednesday of each month at 5:00 pm at the lower level of 5500 Illahee Road, i.e., this Wednesday, 8/13/14.  It is a public meeting and the public is invited.  
Illahee Store.  There has been some cleaning activity around the Illahee Store and residents are curious if something is going to happen.  We heard that someone cleaned the blackberries off the roof of the store and would like to know more about who is cleaning up the area.  
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Timbers Edge.  We also heard there has been activity at the east end of the Timbers Edge property, at the site of the Avery homestead, where the area was cleared of blackberries. We heard the neighbors reported squatters and Mr Tallmon himself came out to look the situation over, and told nearby residents the area would be logged and developed next year.  The question is whether the site will be developed supporting community interests, or at the higher density, ignoring community concerns.  More when we know what is being planned.
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Squirrels. This squirrel was the only wildlife we saw on a recent walk.  The problem with the non-native grays is they out compete the smaller native brown Douglas squirrels and soon the natives will all but disappear.  It is a difficult dilemma for those who love all creatures.
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Gardens.  We have heard there are some beautiful gardens in Illahee.  Please send us some photos.
Jim Aho

Illahee 8/9/14 Culvert Cleaned, Trees Habitated, Storm Pond Enlarged, Work Parties, Homeless Camp, State Ferry Name Request, Wildlife Photos?

Culvert Cleaned.  It was a busy week in Illahee beginning with the Illahee Creek culvert cleaned out on August 1st.  50 cubic yards of sand and gravel, plus some golf balls from Rolling Hills Golf Course, were removed from downstream of the culvert and deposited at the Almira parking lot area of the Illahee Preserve, where on Sunday Rotary volunteers spread and graded it.  Despite the continued cleanout of the downstream end of the culvert, the upstream cleanance continues to decrease, which is why some think it will eventually plug up and result in a road washout.  This is the reason stormwater projects are in progress to decrease the storm surges and the excessive sedimentation. An upstream storm pond is currently being enlarged and more pond enlargement work is planned at the golf course in 2015.

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Trees Habitated.  With the prospect of a new shelter going in some of the nearby trees were deemed hazards and were habitated, i.e., they were topped leaving the trunks for insects and woodpeckers. This took place on Thursday afternoon (8/7/14) and was a compromise with some of those objecting to any trees being cut.  One diseased maple tree was cut down.  
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Storm Pond Enlarged.  In the Kariotis area a storm pond is being enlarged to help with the Illahee Creek sedimentation problem that is plaguing the culvert.  Some of the dirt from the pond was delivered on Thursday afternoon (8/7/14) during the tree trimming which should nearly complete all the fill dirt needed for the shelter project.
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Work Parties.  On Friday (8/8/14) two simultaneous work parties began moving wood chips that had accumulated during the summer, and also the cleaning up the debris from the habitated trees.  
A group from the aircraft carrier John C Stennis (CVN74) cleaned up the area around the Thompson Lane parking lot, and were treated by a lunch time BBQ courtesy of Rotarian member Andy Graham, who owns McClouds.
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The other work party was from the Washington Youth Academy and consisted of 52 cadets.  They hauled wood chips, debris from the tree trimming, logs, and other tasks. Thanks to these young men and the East Bremerton Rotary who coordinate the work parties, as they make the Illahee Preserve a great place to walk, jog, or bike in a diverse forest setting.
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Homeless Camp.  Just prior to Friday’s work party someone was found sleeping in the Preserve in a homeless camp that was thought to be vacant.  He was advised where to go for help and later the camp as cleaned by some hard working WYA cadets.  To give you an idea how much garbage had accumulated, they filled the bed of a pickup twice with garbage bags.  Thanks to the WYA guys and the Kitsap County parks volunteer coordinator, Lori Raymaker, for coordinating the cleanup effort and for hauling the garbage away.  Park stewards had started to clean up the site but realized it was beyond what they had time for.  The photo below was taken a month ago when the site was first discovered.  The garbage was in back of this area.
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State Ferry Name Request.  Thanks to those who forwarded the following letter requesting the next ferry be named the Illahee:
Wildlife Photos?  As you may have noticed there were no wildlife photos in this Update.  We did get a report of coyotes on the beach, but there was not enough time to get a photo of them.
Jim Aho  

Illahee 7/25/14 Flycatchers, Illahee Stormwater Project, Stormwater Article, Benthic Testing, Other Bugs, SWD in Raspberries?, Illahee Day, Homeless Camps, Wood Chips, Interim Map

Flycatchers.  We were not aware of flycatchers until we received the email below showing photos of 4 babies. Wikipedia notes its diet “As a flycatcher it will wait on a perch and when it sees a flying insect it will chase it without any apparent effort. They also enter swarms of gnats, mosquitoes and wherever such insects congregate. They fulfill an important role in keeping insect populations in check, particularly mosquitoes. and they also eat caterpillars and spiders.”

A pair of Pacific Slope Flycatchers raised a brood in my back yard (see attached). They often use man made structures to nest on and in this case it was a ladder hanging on the side of my well house. It was on the bottom step. Fortunately, I have only a couple of cats in the neighborhood and they didn’t find the nest. The pictures are only 2 or 3 weeks apart.
Illahee Stormwater Project.  Kitsap County is currently working on a stormwater pond project in the Kariotis development that benefits Illahee Creek.  They are enlarging an
existing stormwater pond and increasing the size of the drainage piping. We heard the people in the development have not been happy with the disruptions, such that the county produced an information sheet to explain the project.  Below are some photos of the roadwork to put in the larger pipe and the pond after the surrounding vegetation has been removed. 
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Stormwater Article.  Last Sunday’s Kitsap Sun (7/20/14) had a great article on stormwater and we will try to find the link to it later. 
Benthic Testing.  And Monday’s Kitsap Sun followed with an article on benthic testing. We will try to find the link to this article also. Illahee Creek is tested every two years and the results have not been good, likely the result of the excessive sedimentation that has filled the culvert under Illahee Road, and threatens the culvert with a washout.
Other Bugs.  While the benthic testing looks at aquatic bugs, we found some bugs hatching out under a lettuce leaf, that appear to be stink bugs.
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SWD in Raspberries?  Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) (Drosophila suzukii) is a
soft fruit pest that at least one Illahee resident feels it is attacking her raspberries, and possibly her blueberries.  She recently soaked her raspberries in a salt water solution and out came a bunch of very small white worms.  If they are the spotted wing drosophila they are from Asia and were discovered in California in 2008 and in Washington and Oregon in 2009. Below is a life cycle slide of the SWD from a WSU publication:
Illahee Day.  For planning purposes, the Port of Illahee has selected August 16 to celebrate Illahee Day.  The location is near the entrance of the dock and the time is from 4 – 7 pm.  We will post more information as it becomes available.
Homeless Camps.  Only two homeless camps found this month, but there are concerns as the word on the street is that homeless camps in the Central Kitsap area are scheduled to be removed, which usually results in them looking at moving into the Illahee Preserve.
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Wood Chips.  Wood chips continue to be unloaded at the Preserve’s Almira parking lot.  The other evening we helped level a big chip pile near the Preserve’s sign and wish we had taken a before picture.  
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Interim Map.  Good news about trail maps.  A new one is being developed, and an interim map was printed up and posted on Wednesday.  Thanks to Rob and the guys at the Planetarium on Pacific Avenue for the interim maps.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 7/4/14 Flags, Ferry Names, Bear Responses, Preserve Work, Wood Chips, Rain Garden Work, Clean Water Kitsap, Pink Arrows, Girdled Trees, Adopt-A-Road Interest, Deer Reports, Local Scenes

Illahee Flags.  Nice to see flags flying in Illahee on the 4th of July.

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Ferry Names.  Illahee came out ahead in the Sun’s local voting for naming the next Ferry, according to the following article: See
There could be another Illahee in the state’s ferry future.
That was clearly your favorite name for the new boat that’s coming to Bremerton in a couple years. Now I have to usher the name through the bureaucracy and get it picked by the state Transportation Commission.
The first Illahee served the state for 59 years before being abruptly yanked in 2007 because it was rusting away. It was scrapped in 2009.
Over the past couple months, you sent in dozens of names. They were whittled to three most popular — Illahee, Suquamish and Radulescu. In final voting last week, Illahee received more than half (179), though Suquamish (87) and Radulescu (84) also showed solid support.
It might’ve been more fun to crusade for Tony Radulescu, the state trooper shot to death during a traffic stop near Gorst in 2012. Many of you realized that would probably be in vain, however. The guidelines state that names honoring individuals should be avoided, but will be considered it the person has been dead for at least 20 years and has enduring fame. As beloved as Tony was, he doesn’t meet those criteria.
Several of you mentioned he deserved to be memorialized, but in a different way. Tony got more support from you than the votes indicate.
Radulescu also bucked the guideline that the name be consistent with existing fleet names. With the imminent retirement of the Evergreen State, they’ll all be tribal words.
Illahee fits. It means “land,” “country” or “place where one lives” in the Chinook language.
It’s also a pretty community three miles north of Bremerton overlooking Port Orchard Passage that was a former Mosquito Fleet stop. A nearby state park also adopted the name.
The naming process hasn’t officially begun. Washington State Ferries first has to sent the Transportation Commission a schedule for when it needs one. Then the commission will  formally solicit names.
It’ll be up to me to build a case. I have to show how Illahee conforms to the ferry-naming guidelines, provide background, and get letters of support from local, regional and state bodies and officials. I’ll be pushing this as the people’s choice, so it would be great if you want to write up your thoughts and send them to me.
The proposals first go to the Transportation Commission’s ferry team, which reviews them for compliance. Eligible ones advance to the full commission, the ferry advisory committee executive council and Washington State Ferries for review and input. They’ll be posted on the Transportation Commission’s website for public comment. The full commission looks at all the input and the ferry team recommendation and makes its decision.

Bear Responses.  Some of the responses from the last update on the bear.
Some years ago a friend who lives about half way between us had a bear get into his bird feeders, and a girl whose family lives near the Steele Creek estuary, which would be north and west of you, had a bear destroy a bird feeder she had made, which would again be some years ago.  Maybe it is the same bear with a taste for bird seed.  Also, a couple of years ago we had a bear come through Illahee and ended up in an apple tree eating apples.  He came from the north and then went back north.  Again, maybe the same bear?  Interesting to speculate.  I’m just glad we have enough habitat left for them to be around.  Now if they got into my garden, I might feel differently.

…the bear actually returned that same night for about 45 minutes.  I think he took a nap after his initial feeding that afternoon.  I added a couple of pics showing the height of the feeders and him easily reaching them.


My feeders have been down since the bear was here, but I have repaired them and intend to put them up again.  They have suet cages on them in addition to the sunflower seeds. We really enjoy the variety of birds and mammals that feed on them.  Next time they will be higher and further from the tree trunk


I think this bear was here two years ago, but we didn’t see him.  I had different feeders then and he really mangled them.  I first thought some raccoons were the culprits, but the tree had claw marks that were a full hand span wide.  Obviously no raccoon.  Probably this same bear and he is getting bigger!

Preserve Work.  The Illahee Preserve is sometimes called an experiment of whether the local community can manage and maintain a major park.  In this case Greg Bush from the Soil Factory volunteered again to level the piles of dirt and sand at the Almira Parking lot where eventually there are plans for a picnic shelter. Thanks to Greg and Marty Goit at the Soil Factory!
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Wood Chips.  There were a few years when few wood chips were available, including the time when the rain garden went in, and the Illahee Forest Preserve non-profit group paid over $400 to have mulch brought in.  Those days of a shortage of chips are gone as a few weeks ago it appeared the Thompson Lane parking lot was going to be totally filled with chips.
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Again, Greg Bush and Marty Goit of the Soil Factory came to our aid and moved the wood chips over the guard rails, where they will be spread later.  Thanks again to Greg and Marty.
Rain Garden Work.  More help for the Preserve came unexpectedly on Wednesday (7/2/14) when a county rain garden cleanup crew showed up to take care of the weeds in the Native Plant Demonstration Rain Garden beds at the Almira parking lot.  Thanks to the county’s Clean Water Kitsap group for all their help!!
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Clean Water Kitsap.  For those who may not have noticed there has been a name change and the Surface and Storm Water Management (SSWM) group has been changed to ‘Clean Water Kitsap.’

On May 22, 2014, the Kitsap County Surface and Stormwater Management Program officially became Clean Water Kitsap. This program collects stormwater fees from properties in unincorporated Kitsap County in order to fund efforts to reduce pollution, specifically through reducing polluted runoff. 

Pink Arrows.  Does anyone know who is marking trees in the Preserve with pink chalk arrows.  If there is a reason for the markings they will leave them on for a short while.  Let us know and we will pass the information on.
Girdled Trees.  Some large fir trees came down in Illahee on Monday and questions were asked about why.  It turns out many years ago some of the neighborhood kids strung a wire-rope zip line between the two trees that girdled (stangled) them causing the tops to break and then multiple new tops formed along with trunk rot at the location of the girdling making it necessary to take them down.
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Adopt-A-Road Interest?  A number of Illahee residents walk our roadways, and some of them pick up trash.  If individuals, community or service groups sign up for the county’s program they receive training, safety equipment, bags and free disposal for their help. We have been asked if this could also be community or port sanctioned activity, or if it should be done by individuals.  Any thoughts?   2014 volunteers “who meet the program’s annual cleanup commitment and wish to show off their adopted road are recognized with an Adopt-A-Road sign.”  
Deer Reports.  A report came in about an aggressive doe with a fawn that reportedly attacked a dog and guy in the 3rd Street area.  Let us know if you have more information.  We also received this photo of a local buck.
Local Scenes.  Clam digging, yet there are warning signs still up from January. Fishing and crabbing season began this week, and gardens are looking great. 
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Jim Aho 

Illahee 6/21/14 Local Bear, Mourning Doves, Pheasants, Website, Wood Chips, Photo Problems

Local Bear.  While we were on a vacation the following email came in from a friend in Brownsville, which was sent 8 days ago (incidentally, we didn’t see any bears on our trip to Alaska, but did see a black wolf).

Jim, this big guy came to our back yard this afternoon.  I had bird feeders that were suspended about 10-11 feet above the ground.  He ripped the bottoms out of both and sat eating the black oil sunflower seeds for about 15 minutes.  This is about 3 blocks south of the Brownsville elementary school.  I called WILDCOM and reported the sighting.  They said to remove the feeders when safe.


The guy said he may or may not stop by so I told him I would print out a few pictures for him and have them here if he does show,  This was the biggest black bear I have ever seen and I’ve seen a lot in Montana.

Mourning Doves.  Photos of a pair of local mourning doves.
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Pheasants.  Some more local pheasant photos.
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Website.  The website was down for a few days. Thanks for letting us know.  The domain names were supposed to be on an auto-renewal, but there was a problem when a new credit card was issued.  Thanks to the Illahee non-profit groups who pay the domain fees for the website.
Wood Chips.  It appears that there are plenty of new wood chips at the Illahee Preserve’s Thompson Lane parking lot.  Bet we will soon be hearing about another work party.
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Photo Problems.  Some have said the photos in the emailed updates are not coming through.  We are looking into what may be the problem.  In the meantime they can be viewed at the website, where they are also archived, along with 7 years of past updates.
Jim Aho

Illahee 6/7/14 Coyotes, Pheasants, Deer, Crab Pot, Work Party Report, Canada Geese

Coyotes.  Thanks to those who remember we are always looking for wildlife reports and especially photos to go with them.  Coyotes are some of the hardest for us to see, much less get a photo of them. Below is part of the note we received with the two coyote photos.

I remember a while back you talked about a coyote pack roaming the area. We hear them out on the back side of our property all the time. My husband says that very fearless. He had the dog with him out there one day and they had no problem standing around in broad daylight with him standing in proximity (probably looking at the dog as a tastey morsel). I’ve always wanted to get a picture of one and send it to you. I happened to have mowed the acre and a quarter of yard with a field mower the other day and as usual scattered a mass of rats. This usually bring every cat in the neighborhood around for days. It apparently attracted the coyotes as well. 
Pheasants.  We have had reports of a number of pheasant broods, and have been unsuccessful at photos of them, so we were glad to get these photos. We also had a report that pheasants like strawberries, and the chicks were standing on the protective netting, eating the berries through the netting.
Deer.  It isn’t very often you get a photo of two active fawns stopping to nurse.  When they realized we were there, they decided to leave. They are already trying to get into local gardens.
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Crab Pot.  This crab pot was dropped off along the road, so if you are missing one let us know.
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Work Party Report.  Last weekend there were two work parties scheduled. One on Friday evening and the other on Saturday.  Those who volunteered liked Friday and lots of chips were moved and other work accomplished in the two hours.  Saturday was a bust with one person cleaning up a section of one of the rain gardens.  They are reassessing whether weekend work parties should be scheduled.  If you have an opinion, let us know.
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One wood chip pile was leveled as those chips went around the perimeter of the Native Plant Demonstration Rain Gardens (see the above photos), while the smaller chips were used for the paths.
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Canada Geese.  Some of the local geese families are large this year, and others are small, as can be seen by these two photos.  Keeping a garden around here is tough when you have geese, pheasants, deer, squirrels, raccoons, and possum to deal with, along with various smaller birds. 
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Illahee 5/28/14 Weekend Work Party, Tent Caterpillars, Baby Wildlife, Float Update, Indian Plum, Audubon Tour, Licorice Ferns

Help Needed for Friday/Saturday Work Parties.  On Friday (5/30) evening and Saturday (5/31) morning work parties have been scheduled at the Illahee Preserve’s Almira parking lot.  Past work parties have been with groups interested in helping, but this time it is being opened up to whoever wants to volunteer to help.  The Go-Mini container loaded with wheelbarrows and some tools will be delivered on Friday.  There are wood chips to be moved and weeding of the rain gardens, and other work.  Come at whatever day or time works out best for you. 

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Tent Caterpillars.  The realization that tent caterpillars are back was a surprise as we noticed this nest on our Granny Smith apple tree.  There was a nice article in the Kitsap Sun recently about tent caterpillars that was especially informative, see the following link:
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Baby Wildlife.  A few weeks ago we received some photos and movies of new fawns, and we have been trying to get photos of some baby pheasants and baby ducks, but to no avail.  Thanks for sharing your photos.
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Float Update.  The report of the lost float resulted in a number of emails.  The float was located but the owner is looking at other options which are expensive, so we don’t know if there will be a float in the vicinity or not.
Indian Plum.  Earlier this year we showed a photo of the blossoms on an Indian plum tree (also called Oso Berry or scientifically Oemleria cerasiformis).  The other day we noticed the fruit maturing.
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Audubon Tour.  Periodically there are Audubon tours of the Preserve, and we were fortunate to be able to attend one.  The experts don’t need to see a bird to identify it, only hear it.  We were impressed with their knowledge and expertise.
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Licorice Ferns.  On the Audubon tour we noticed licorice ferns all turning brown, which we found out happens when their moiture source goes away and they go dormant.  Licorice ferns are epiphyes which are plants that grow non-parasitically on another plant (in this case trees) and derives all its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, etc.
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Jim Aho