Illahee 2/6/14 Saturday’s Work Party, Piebold Deer Responses, Sea Star Wasting Syndrome, Cold Weather, New Signs

Saturday’s Work Party.   There were only eight volunteers who showed up to help on Saturday (2/1/14), but what they accomplished was amazing.  Thanks to all the volunteers who take care of and maintain the Illahee Preserve!

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Piebald Deer Responses.   In our last update we posted a photo and the question that came with it, whether the deer with white markings was a genetic anomaly.   There have been several theories, as evidenced by the first two comments.  The last one came in from a wildlife biologist, which is the definitive explanation.
 photo 1
….. that is the doe that we see time to time for 3 or 4 years now. There is a two acre wood, a common area, and she seems to come from there, between Aegean and Corfu, this year she had a fawn that I saw, and some neighbors said they saw twins. She is increasingly seen in the daytime. I think she came from those deer that escaped from the bed and breakfast at the end of 3 rd street…down on the water…they had some very unusual deer….that was over 10 years ago. Those deer scattered all over the hills and I remember them when seeing ones marked with white hindquarters.
It sure looks to me like it’s part of the albino gene that’s seen so often from Oregon to SE Alaska.  I’ve seen the well documented albino deer in Illahee myself a few years ago from my back yard.  In this case, it looks like a partial transmission of the gene to the deer in question.
I enjoy looking at your weekly emails. In the current one, I noticed the question about the unusual coloring of the pictured deer. This is a somewhat rare genetic condition known as piebald. The amount of white varies from a little bit to almost all white. If you google “piebald deer” you will find enough pictures and information to spend a whole day on. There are many other animals that exhibit  this trait including pheasants. We used to call them “partial albinos” before we knew better. There is no such thing as a “partial albino”. I had a piebald robin show up in my yard one Spring. It stayed around all summer. I anxiously waited the following Spring to see if it would return, but it didn’t.
Sea Star Wasting Syndrome.   In one of our recent updates we noted the outing to monitor a recently discovered sea star wasting syndrome.  The photo below show the people who showed up.  We also were forwarded what we think is a great link for those who want to better understand the problem .
 seastar monitoring group
Wow! Thank you to the 21 people who braved the cold night to learn about monitoring, measuring, and recording sea stars to track their health and abundance. Our citizen scientists play an important role in collecting information that will help us all better understand how sea stars are doing in Kitsap County.
Cold Weather.   The last few days of January we started photographing emerging flowers (crocus, daffodils, and tulips) and leaves, thinking we were going to have an early Spring.  Those emergents don’t look so good right now with the low temperatures.  Notice the ice on the Illahee North detention ponds.  The ducks normally frequenting the ponds are now on the salt water.
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New Signs.   We noticed the county was installing new dead end signs on street signs, which are replacing individual ones further down the road.  The new ones on the signs help drivers realize there is a dead end before turning down the road. 
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Jim Aho