Illahee 7/4/13 New Bird Sighting, Kitten Found, Illahee Corn Plants, American Chestnut Flowers, Timbers Edge Progress, Gas Markers, State Park Crabbing, Illahee Creek Culvert

New Bird Sighting.  We saw a new bird in Illahee, a first for us, what we think is a Red Crossbill, named for the crossed mandibles adapted to extract seeds from cones, which are barely visible from our photo.  This bird, and its mate, were seen on a beach walk today.

Kitten Found.  At the south end of View Crest Drive we met a couple trying to find the owners of a kitten found along the road.  If you know whose kitten it is let us know so we can connect you with this couple.
Illahee Corn Plants.  One measure of the progress of a corn crop is if it is ‘knee high’ by the 4th.  We found three representative patches in Illahee with wide variations of growth, as can be seen by the photos.  We asked the secret for the last photo which we will share at the end.
American Chestnut Flowers.  American chestnut trees were native hardwoods abundant to Eastern North America before nearly all died from a fungal disease accidentally introduced into North America on imported Asiatic chestnut trees.  There are a few American chestnut trees in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, with one located in Illahee.  
We found the tree’s history in Wikipedia helpful, which included a statement about the catkins shown in the photo below  “This tree is not considered a particularly good patio shade tree because its droppings are prolific and a considerable nuisance. Catkins in the spring, spiny nut pods in the fall, and leaves in the early winter can all be a problem…. ”   The owner of the tree agrees with this description, but states the bees love the tree and it attracts so many that their collective buzzing sound can be quit loud.   Note the bee in the photo and the pollen on its legs.
Timbers Edge Progress.  We noticed what appears to be more infiltration holes being dug at the Timbers Edge project site, but haven’t heard anything else new.
Gas Markers.  It appears that new triangular gas markers are going in throughout the area.  We noticed this one outside of Illahee State Park.  This was confirmed by a resident who works for Cascade Natural Gas.
State Park Crabbing.  It was the second day of crabbing season, so we wanted to see how things were going at Illahee State Park.  
The first photo shows a red rock crab in the pot, the second a sunflower seastar (which can have from 16 to 24 limbs, is the largest seastar in the world, and can have up to 15,000 tube feet on its underside).
Illahee Creek Culvert.  We have mentioned in previous updates that we expect someday for the Illahee Creek culvert to fail and likely take out Illahee Road like it did the road at Gilberton Creek in 2007.  The clear opening today was 14 inches, which would be inadequate to accommodate a storm like we had in 2007, which is why the county is working with a stormwater engineering firm to figure out how to control the storm surges in Illahee Creek.
The Corn Secret.  Carol Henning agreed to tell us the secret to her shoulder high corn, so we asked if we could take a picture of what she used for such phenomenal growth.
Jim Aho