>Wildlife Report – 5-31-11

>Deer Herd?  What constitutes a herd of deer?  It was reported that two bucks, three does, and two fawns was too much for one gardener to have in her yard and she tried to make enough noise to scare them away.  They reported looked at her and slowly walked across the road stopping oncoming traffic.  Gardeners we have talked to are seeming less patient as the number of deer in the area increases.  But maybe we should consider the number of deer in an area as an indication of where the great gardens are?  We will be checking next month to see if those interesting in hosting a garden tour are still interested, assuming the deer have left them something to show.

Coyotes?  There have always been coyotes in the area, but some who live next to the Preserve, say the coyotes are getting more aggressive around their residents and pets.  We would like to post some pictures of local coyotes so if you have any you would share please forward them.

Baby Ducks.  We had reports of two baby mallard ducks along the waterfront and we saw two baby mallards in the Illahee North detention pond (see attached photo).  Years ago we watched a mother duck try to get her ducklings from the waterfront to the pond and they didn’t make it.  

Canada Geese Families.  We have watched three families of Canada geese come and go (see attached photos).  Once the goslings get bigger the seagulls seem to leave them alone.  The first photo is of a single goose that is raising two young ones by herself and is usually seen with the family in the second photo.

Killdeer Nest.  We have been led away from Killdeer nests several times this spring and finally we have discovered a nest.  Actually it isn’t much of a nest at all and it appears the eggs were laid on the beach sand and broken shells.  The attached photos show the eggs in the nest, the Killdeer on the nest, and the Killdeer doing its broken wing dance to draw us away from the nest.  

Bird Tour.  There was a bird tour in the Illahee Preserve early on Memorial Day morning.  These tours are held regularly and quickly fill up.  They are led by a Master Birder and past president of Seattle Audubon. If this is something that interests you, please let us know and we will pass the information on so you can be notified of the next tour.  The photos were posted on Facebook and the link is:  http://tinyurl.com/3f4z9ys

Lazuli Bunting Report in Last Update.  This is a follow-up of the Lazuli Bunting sighting that was reported in our last Update.  Joan Carson does a bird report in the Kitsap Sun each week and noted several sightings of these amazingly beautiful birds and also responded to the Illahee resident who reported the sighting with the following email:

It sounds like you were one of the lucky Friday the 13th birdwatchers! Seems like a wave of Lazuli Buntings hit Kitsap County that day. I had reports from west of Keyport and Bainbridge Island. Considering where you are, that’s a wide area. A very small number of these birds migrate through our area in the spring, but they don’t seem to show up every year. Certain conditions influence them somehow and I suppose it is the wind. Anyway, you were lucky and I’m still waiting – one of these years I hope.

Wildlife Pictures?  We would love to pass on any wildlife photos or stories you have.  We normally pass them on anonymously unless give specific authorization to use your name.

Jim Aho

>Preserve, Wildlife,&BD Party – 5-18-11


Preserve Litter & Cleanup?  Tuesday morning we were asked to check on a campsite that had been in the Illahee Preserve for about a week.  On the way in we were disappointed to see a stack of phone books and “Little Nickel” newspapers along one of the trails (see attached photo).  When we came back later in the morning to clean up the campsite, the litter had been removed.  We know of several people who regularly walk the trails who pick up the litter of others and we want to thank them for their efforts to keep the Preserve clean.  

Illegal Campsite.  We did find the campsite (see photo) and came back later with garbage bags to clean it up.  The good news is that it was reported to the sheriff’s department and a deputy visited the site and left a note that they had to leave.  We found part of the note that had been burned.  Others also reported the site and we thank all of you for notifying officials and us.  After we cleaned up the site, the Park’s department was notified that we had left the bags by the mutt mit station, and they came by later to pick up the trash.  

Deer & Cat.  We get a number of emails and photos and try to remember to send them on.  This one came to us on Mother’s day along with the photo.

I always enjoy my newsletter and Mother’s Day morning, I had an interesting event in my backyard when the domestic and the wild came face to face.  As one of my cats was in the back yard, she had a visitor.  They were very curious about each other and watched each other for quite some time.  I did run the visitor off when my raspberry bushes became a morning snack.  What a great gift on this special day.

Amazing Colorful Bird.  We have had some interesting birds in Illahee.  Today an osprey flew over the area.  But the bird in this story is amazingly beautiful.  The response email is from Vic Ulsh along with the attached pictures of the Lazuli Bunting.
I live on a street just up the hill from the entrance to Illahee St Park and have a bird feeder and suet feeder on my deck.  I enjoy watching all the different birds that come to the feeders so I look out my windows quite often.  On Friday, May 13, I looked out and saw a bird on my deck railing that I have never seen before.  It was about the size of a finch and had a orange-beige chest, a blue head and back, and dark wings with two white wing bands.   It was just beautiful.  My daughter looked it up in her bird book and we determined that it is a Lazuli Bunting.  According to the information in the book, it’s not common to this area.  I’m wondering if anyone in the area has seen this bird and if so have I identified it correctly. 
Jim Aho forwarded your inquiry to me.  I work with him at Illahee Preserve.  Lazuli Bunting do occur in this area, but not common.  It is a treasure to see one.  I saw my first Lazuli Bunting within the Eastpark development area near YMCA last Memorial Day weekend.  The day had awful, bright glare lighting with brisk winds, but I “chased” the little rascal around for some photos.  The wind fluffed out his chest feathers in the first photo.  See attached. 

Here is another quick reference web site I like to use. 
You seem to have described a Lazuli.  Does this look like your bird?  Lazuli bunting is a beautiful, sweet little bird.  Count yourself to be very fortunate. 

Thank you for your email and for sending your photos.  Yes, that is the bird I saw.  He actually came to my deck twice that day.  I can’t say if there was a female with him because I was so focused on the beautiful little male I was seeing and there were quite a few other birds at the feeder at the time.  I’m hoping he will come back, but it sounds like it may be a one time sighting.  I count my self lucky for seeing him and wish I would have had my camera handy.
Audrey Boyer Turns 93 Next Month.  Audrey Boyer is one of the persons who was instrumental in the county obtaining the Illahee Preserve.  We found out she will have a birthday soon and her children are having a party next month for her.  See the following notice:
Audrey Boyer, Illahee Community Leader and Activist, Celebrating 93rd Birthday  Audrey Boyer’s family is planning a community gathering to celebrate Audrey’s 93rd birthday.  The gathering will be at Audrey’s home in Illahee, on June 19, 2011.  If you have worked with, known, or know of Audrey and her many accomplishments, as a teacher, Democratic Precinct Committee Officer, campaigner, Community Club leader, environmental activist, leader in establishing the Illahee Forest Preserve, Amnesty International member, and friend to many students and neighbors, she and her family hope you will be able to stop by to say hello.  Also, if you know someone whom you think would like to hear about the celebration, please pass this invitation along to them:   
Audrey Boyer’s 93rd Birthday Celebration
5625 Ocean View Blvd
Bremerton, WA 98311
Sunday, June 19, 2011, 3-6 PM
Open House style, come when you can, cake-cutting at 5 PM
Your present is your presence.   
Please walk or carpool if you can, as parking will be limited. 
RSVP to Helen Boyer, helenaboyer@comcast.net

Jim Aho

>Miscellaneous – 4-11-11


Trillium Blooming In Preserve.  One of first flowers to bloom in the forest are Trilliums.  We took the following picture on Sunday to show just how beautiful these flowers are.  A couple of interesting facts from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trillium are:
Picking a trillium seriously injures the plant by preventing the leaf-like bracts from producing food for the next year. A plant takes many years to recover. For this reason in Michigan[1] and Minnesota[2] it is illegal to pick and/or transplant trilliums from public lands without a permit from the State.

Trillium is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants. At maturity, the base and core of the trillium ovary turns soft and spongy. Trillium seeds have a fleshy organ called an elaiosome that attracts ants. The ants extract the seeds from the decaying ovary and take them to their nest, where they eat the elaiosomes and put the seeds in their garbage, where they germinate in a rich growing medium.
North Perry Water Response.  We received the following response from North Perry Water’s General Manager, George Smalley, regarding our inquiry whether the community could help or show support for a possible relocation of the Riddell well:

I know it seems that there is always a correction to be made every time a news letter goes out, so here it is.
It’s not that the Tribe “ shut NPW down” on the proposed well site on Almira Drive.
It was the simple fact that the Tribe and Dr. Massman were convinced that pumping at the new site on Almira could possibly affect a stream in Tracyton, which is a closed stream with a healthy salmon run.
North Perry Water did not want to end up in Court over the appeal by the Tribes and could not agree on where or how much water could be added to several streams throughout the District to offset perceived pumping affects on the streams  from Tracyton to Brownsville and Illahee.
The new well site on Almira was to be drilled into a deeper aquifer than the well on Perry Avenue, which is  near the beginning of Illahee creek., ( Perry Ave well site),   and the Pickering well site @ maple and Pickering St. That would have allowed NPW to pump the shallow aquifer less at those sites, and hopefully give the aquifer more time to recover between pumping times. It would not affect how often the District would be pumping the Riddell site. It should be noted however that the Riddell well does pump from a  deeper aquifer than the Perry site and the Pickering well  site. Right now the aquifers  looks very healthy and water levels are good For whatever reason the District, has been pumping and selling less water over the last five years than previously, as are other purveyors in the County.
I believe it is the result of the economy and conservation efforts that are responsible for this.
Even though the shallow aquifers look good, we do believe that getting into the deeper  aquifer is the right thing to do . The District is still looking at other options when it comes to pumping out of the shallow aquifer.
It is good to know that the people of Illahee are willing to help in negotiations on a new site in the future if needed.

Piebald Deer Movement?  We were asked whether the piebald deer seen south of Illahee State Park, is the same one that was observed north of Illahee.  And so we have included the attached info on the north Illahee piebald deer so those around the State Park can tell us if it is the same one.

This is probably the same piebald deer that visits us every few days.  I am sending a couple of pics to see if its the same one.  I have pics of this deer from Summer of 07, so he is about 4 years old.  We actually are starting to see what I believe are some of his offspring.  They have a few white spots but are mostly cream colored.  I hope hunters don’t try to shoot this deer.  I have talked to the major land owners in my area and they have said they won’t allow hunting on their land.
Hopefully there is no hunting in the Illahee Preserve and the surrounding areas.
Rolling Hills Golf Course Gifting Finalized.  We have been waiting to hear that the gifting of the Rolling Hills Golf Course by Don Rasmussen and Kerma Peterson to Kitsap County has been finalized and just heard yesterday that it has.  Thanks to Don and Kerma and to Commissioner Josh Brown for helping to make it all happen.  

Possible Next Step re Timbers Edge?  We heard that the finalization of the Golf Course gifting is what the Illahee Community Club has been waiting for as they will now be contacting the two Land Trusts that expressed interest some time ago about the possibility of purchasing the Timbers Edge properties.  The golf course is evidently a major part of the bigger plan for expanding the Illahee Preserve and now they feel that they are in a better position for a land trust to want to come in to help.

Illahee Garden Tour This Summer?  We were notified that a core group of Illahee gardeners are pursuing whether there is enough interest to have a garden tour in Illahee this summer.  If you would like to be part of this group or have some suggestions for possible gardens that could be toured, please let us know and we will pass the information on.

Jim Aho

>BKAT Schedule&Piebald Deer Sighting 4-4-11


BKAT Showing of Aquifer Briefing.  We first heard that BKAT (Channel 12) was showing the aquifer briefing presentation by someone who caught the last few minutes of a showing and wanted to know when it would be showing again.  We received the schedule from BKAT this morning and caught the 11:30 am showing and have some comments.

At Times the Microphone Cut Out.  While the visual coverage was great, there were a few times when the microphone Dr. Massmann was using cut out, and we wished the external microphone’s volume was higher for the question and answer time.

Remaining BKAT Schedule.  The remaining airing schedule for the aquifer briefing is:

4/5        9pm
4/9        11am
4/11      1:30pm

Piebald Deer Sighting.  This sighting was in the area south of Illahee State Park. 

I wanted to let you know that I think we had a piebald deer in our yard this morning.  The deer was quite stocky and short and did not seem like it was a second year deer because it was so stocky and filled out; it didn’t look like any second year deer I’ve ever seen. The deer also had very noticeable white patches on its haunches down to its hooves.  It seemed to be solitary but I wasn’t able to get a good look around before my dog noticed what I was observing. The deer was about 30 feet from my sliding glass door and the only reason why I noticed it was because the dog wanted out.  Luckily, I saw the deer before I opened the door and let the dog out.  

I thought I should pass this on particularly becuase I have not seen other deer like this in the neighborhood since I’ve lived here and I know the Illahee community is trying to monitor our wildlife.

Jim Aho

>Miscellaneous – 2-21/11


Illahee Preserve Downed Trees.  Recent winds have caused a number of trees to come down in the Illahee Preserve, with some of them blocking trails.  Several Illahee Preserve volunteers have gone through the county’s chain saw training class and have been doing an amazing job of keeping the trails open.  While walking the trails on Saturday afternoon, after the Saturday morning wind storm, we encountered Jon and Vic (two East Bremerton Rotary volunteers who went through the training) who had just taken care of 14 blocking trees and were starting to work on #15.  These are the type of amazing people we are fortunate to have working in the Preserve, and reinforces again and again that volunteers, and volunteer organizations like the Rotary, can keep a major Kitsap County Heritage Park’s trails open and the Preserve well maintained.  
(For those wondering about the trash bags by the Mutt Mit Station (see attached photo), they were left by the County’s Alternative to Detention crew several weeks ago, and they must have forgotten to call someone to pick them up.)

Power Outage On Saturday.  We received the following photo taken near Illahee State Park showing at least one set of downed power lines that probably caused some of the outage on Saturday morning.

Wednesday’s Library Meeting Sponsor.  Some have wondered about who is sponsoring the “annexation” meeting at the Library on Wednesday at 6:15 pm.  They saw the signs that went up on Saturday and wanted more information.  We received a copy of an email that had a brief explanation of the Illahee Community Club (ICC) that may be helpful:

Illahee Community Club Information:

The Illahee Community Club (ICC) has been in existence since the founding of Illahee, but was reorganized in 2008/2009 to expand its boundary (essentially that of the Port of Illahee) and purposes (to support restoration and preservation).  The Club is now a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity with contributions tax deductible, as allowed by law.  Yearly dues for voting members are $10 per family.  Lifetime memberships are granted for those who support the ICC with gifts over $100.  There are currently ~175 voting members. 

The purposes of the Illahee Community Club are:
·         To restore, preserve, and maintain the Illahee community as an historic, scenic, and culturally significant area.
·         To combat community deterioration through remedial actions such as elimination of fecal coliform and storm water pollution.
·         To restore and preserve the Illahee area of Puget Sound, including freshwater, wetlands, floodplains, estuary, nearshore, marine, and upland habitats for the benefit and education of the general public.
·         To restore and preserve the following items adversely impacting the Illahee Creek Watershed as delineated in the Department of Ecology / Port of Illahee funded Parametrix Report, “Illahee Creek Watershed Surface Water Management Plan,” which are:
Surface Water Runoff, Landslides, Reduced Aquifer Recharge, Water Quality, Functionality of Illahee Creek Culvert, Degraded Salmonid Habitat.
·         To restore and preserve the natural features of the Illahee area including the Illahee Preserve (a Kitsap County Heritage Park), Illahee State Park, and area wildlife and habitat for the benefit and education of the general public.
·         To advocate for accomplishment of the goals and objectives in the Illahee Community Plan that support the restoration and preservation of the local Puget Sound area for the benefit and education of the general public.
·         To solicit and obtain financial support for the education, restoration, and preservation of the aforementioned items and other impacts adversely affecting the Illahee area of Puget Sound.
·         To work with private landowners, public water groups, schools, land trusts, government agencies, public and private associations, businesses, service groups, foundations, Indian tribes, and others to accomplish the above purposes.

Pheasant.  We have been trying to get a picture of a roster pheasant in the area that is pretty skittish.  This is the best we can do at this time and appreciate photographers who can capture good poses of these birds.

Gray Squirrels.  Gray squirrels have been steadily moving north through Illahee.  This one showed up this fall and pretty much ate all the chestnuts from our American chestnut tree.  They often displace the native Douglas squirrels and chipmunks, probably by out-competing them for food.  We also saw our first gray squirrel in the Illahee Preserve this winter.  Some think they are coming from the more urbanized areas of Bremerton.

Black Turnstone.  These are small shore birds we noticed just south of the Illahee Community Dock.  We included a picture with a pigeon in it to give you an idea just how small these birds are.

Spring Flowers.  We took the pictures of flowers on Friday and have noticed more flowers blooming each day, including a bunch of daffodils today (Monday).  We didn’t have our camera today, so those pictures will come later.  We also noticed the Canada Geese have paired up, another sign that Spring is nearly here.

Jim Aho

>Orca Pictures&Blog Responses – 2-6-11

>Orca Pictures.  The orcas were sighted several times on Friday (2/4/11) and Jim Smith saw them traveling north about 10 am and took the attached photos.  Thanks to Jim for forwarding them to us.

Enetai Sighting Report.  We were copied on the following report of the orcas being sighted in Enetai.

I also saw them right in front of our place yesterday afternoon.  It looked like two pods one with 5 or 6 with a big male and another group of 3 further behind.  I would guess there were 3 or 4 young ones in both groups.  I started calling but they dove and didn’t come up until they were in front of the end of Trenton Ave.  I watched them from upstairs and they disappeared around Point Heron.  Apparently the ferry didn’t see them as it didn’t slow down or stop.  About an hour later I saw them heading north in front of the Hatch’s.  There was a harbor seal in front of our place and it was on full alert.  He knew the whales were around. 

Two More Blog Entries.  Finally we are getting some responses to the Illahee Community blog site.  We have attached the latest two.  While we like those who tell us who they are, anonymous comments are also possible if you want.


James Hazel said…
WRT the question from Anonymous: Yes, other people do post comments … and, Why are you posting such a question as ‘anonymous’? [It is not always obvious that all the ‘anonymous’ posts are done by one individual.]On other things, I really appreciate the posts and the opportunity to learn more about the community through the blog and emails.
Liz Milligan said…
I have always felt a little powerless being in unicorporated Kitsap County. Everything that goes on in Bremerton effects us and our community. I think we would have a bigger voice if we are part of Bremerton, but we can still maintain our neighborhood cohesion which is very strong thanks to Jim Aho and his cohort of advocates.

Thanks for Responding.  Thanks for those responding to the blog as it is there to start possible discussions and dialog.  We have attached the notice about the Blog and Facebook again.

Blog and Facebook Reminder.  All updates are now posted on our blog within 24 hours of being e-mailed.  If you have comments, please visit the blog and leave your comments at the end of the post.  It’s a great way to generate a public discussion. You can post anonymously if you choose.  Also, please visit and “Like” our Facebook page, and be sure to suggest it to your Facebook friends.  We are actively trying to increase our exposure in the community through social media and we need your help!
The link for the Facebook page is:  http://www.facebook.com/Illahee
The link for the blog is:  http://illaheecommunity.blogspot.com/

Jim Aho

>Wildlife Report – 2-4-1

>5 Orcas Sighted in Illahee.  The orcas were sighted this afternoon (2/4/11) traveling north through Illahee at 4:20 pm.  There were 5 of them this time with one being much smaller, so it probably was a young one.  We received the call when they were right out in front, but didn’t answer the phone since we were on another call, so we missed getting any videos.  The next time our neighbors call we will be sure to answer right away.

Sapsuckers.  We have an apple tree with what looks like a series of 1/4 inch diameter holes methodically drilled into the trunk.  We thought it was a bug or beetle infestation at first and then found out is was caused by a woodpecker called a sapsucker.  We never did see the sapsucker in action on our apple tree so when we got the next report it helped us see the connection.

Illahee Preserve Sapsucker.  We received the attached photo that was taken last Sunday by Vic Ulsh in the Illahee Preserve of a Red Breasted Sapsucker.  Vic gave a report on the Preserve that included the following:

I noted a red breasted sapsucker on a tree near the Almira parking lot.  See attached photo.  From recent observations it appears we have a pair of hairy woodpeckers and at least one red breasted sapsucker living near the Almira parking lot.  Check out the telltale sapsucker holes in the bark. 
Blog and Facebook Reminder.  All updates are now posted on our blog within 24 hours of being e-mailed.  If you have comments, please visit the blog and leave your comments at the end of the post.  It’s a great way to generate a public discussion. You can post anonymously if you choose.  Also, please visit and “Like” our Facebook page, and be sure to suggest it to your Facebook friends.  We are actively trying to increase our exposure in the community through social media and we need your help!
The link for the Facebook page is:  http://www.facebook.com/Illahee
The link for the blog is:  http://illaheecommunity.blogspot.com/
Blog Site Comments.  There haven’t been many comments on the blog site, but if they are like me this is something I am not very comfortable with yet.  I did respond to a comment recently and have attached the three comments that were at the bottom of the blog, which I have copied below:


Anonymous said…
Annexation to Bremerton is NOT what I want, or to Silverdale or any other city. I thought the reason for creating a Community Plan was to preclude that possibility. THE POSSIBILITY OF THE ANNEXATION OF ILLAHEE IS NOT GOOD NEWS! Glad someone from Illahee is concerned, and yes, talk about this at the community meeting.
Jim Aho said…
In response to Anonymous,I never thought we had to worry about annexation once we had our subarea plan, i.e., the Illahee Community Plan, but after hearing the the GMA required annexation by 2025 or 2030 for anyone within an Urban Growth Area, I am now concerned and think we need to further protect ourselves. It seems to me that much has changed in Illahee since 1998 when Illahee was first designated to be in the Urban Growth Area, and now we have a small window of opportunity open whereby we might be able to convince the county, and the Growth Management Hearings Board, that Illahee is indeed mostly rural with unique features that inhibit or prevent urban buildout and urban densities. If there ever was a time to try and get out from under the urban designation label, now seems to be it. I also would like to see this discussed at the Illahee Community meeting and voted upon, so we can get things moving and possibly approved by the end of this year.Jim Aho
Anonymous said…
Does anyone else ever comment on these blogs other than me, Mr. Anonymous, and Mr. Aho?

Illahee Community Meeting 2/23/11.  There will be an Illahee Community meeting on February 23rd at the Library on Sylvan Way at either 6 pm or 6:30 pm.  We heard they were trying to find a speaker to talk about the Growth Management Act, Urban Growth Areas, and annexation.  We will let you know when we find out what the agenda will be.
Jim Aho

>Work Party&Wildlife – 1-27-11


Saturday Rotary Work Party.  Some of you have participated in previous Rotary work parties and we want to let you know about another big one this coming Saturday (1/28/11) at the Almira parking lot beginning at 8:30 am.  Our comment is that the East Bremerton Rotary knows how to host work parties, beginning with donated Starbucks coffee at 8:15 am and ending with donated snacks from Costco as they wrap up by 10:30 or so. They don’t need many more volunteers, but they appreciate some from the Illahee Community. 

Work Party Task.  “Move wood chips from the pile at Almira lot onto nearby trails.  A group of Navy volunteers and folks from Washington Youth Academy are anticipated to assist with moving logs to close an unwanted trail.”

Work Party Tools.  “Wheel barrows, gloves, pitch forks, rake, and a push broom.  A few extra wheel barrows are welcome.”

Deer.  Last year we had 5 deer who resided close by and regularly watched our gardens, and when we left an opening unsecured in our fence, they devoured our vegetables.  This winter we are seeing only the doe and her two grown-up fawns who are now eating the garden cover crops.  Many of you have commented on how you can recognize the deer around here by their unique markings, such as those on the two young ones.  The bigger doe seems to be a typical black tail with no distinguishing marks.

A Dead Deer Report.   “We lost another little deer the other day, saw it along side the road just before getting to Canoe or Navajo turn off.” 

$13,000 Deer.  We received the attached regrading a $13,000 deer, along with a note that we may need to watch the piebald (multi-colored) deer in our area.  

Here is a buck (White tail) that a hunter got in Wisconsin .  He sent these pictures to a bunch of people to see what he could get and the owner of Cabela’s paid him $13,000 for the head and hide.  A calico buck, like the one below, is rarer then an albino.

Working On An Illahee Lobster Report.  Someone reportedly caught a lobster from the Illahee Dock.  We are working on getting more information and verifying this for another Update.

Thanks Again.  Thank you for all your wildlife reports.  It is fun to see all the wildlife we have in this one relatively small area that is so close to the city and the Highway 303 commercial corridor.

Jim Aho

>Owl, Film, Sign, Clean-Up – 1-20-11

>Owl Report.  The following owl report came in a couple of weeks ago.  These owls are so small you can hold them in the palm of your hand and we wish we had such a photo.  The attached link below shows just how cute they are.  We also had a report of a Coopers Hawk on Classic Ave last week.

The northern saw-whet owl is back!  This little owl spent several months last year looking for a mate in the ravine behind Roosevelt Street.  His call can be mistaken for an alarm clock or the beeping of a truck backing up – it’s high pitched and very regular.  He is back in the preserve although he seems to have moved up the ravine to a place west of the vacated portion of Rest Place.  According to Vic Ulsh, “They are cute little rascals.  The big bully ‘barred owls’ who roam Illahee Forest can be predatory on the little saw-whet owls so I worry about them.”  Although their mating call can be annoying at 5:00 in your backyard, we are all hoping that he succeeds in finding a mate this year!

Seattle Film Showing.  We are late in posting this notice as this film showing is tomorrow evening in Seattle.  Note that Shelly Solomon is the filmmaker who is working on a film on Illahee.  She has done some amazing films, as you can see below, and we are fortunate to have her helping us get the message about what is happening in Illahee and to our watershed.

Public Environmental Film Event: sponsored by Feathered Friends and Sustainable Seattle
Friday Jan 21st, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Feathered Friends
119 Yale Ave. North (just down the street from REI)
Seattle, WA
Filmmaker Shelly Solomon

Throughout Ms. Solomon’s career as a biologist, she has been struck by the fact that so much of the positive work being done in the environmental field, has gone unnoticed. It seemed only natural to Shelly that a better-informed public would lead to a more engaged public. Ms. Solomon started Leaping Frog Films to “Get the Word Out” about these positive stories. Solomon recently received Sustainable Seattle’s 2010 “Leadership in Sustainability in the Natural World” award for her film work.

Find below 2 films that will be showing, plus 2 pages of film reviews

Buried in Sawdust for 50 Years” and the Unintended Consequences

This is a fascinating film about how a Washington estuary was filled with milling waste to a depth of 60’, where it remained for 50 years and how a local nonprofit secured over one million dollars to restore the estuary back to its original tidal elevation. Highlights of the film include an examination of the chemical contamination resulting from 50 years of accumulated wood waste, interviews with an original mill worker and his memories of the operation, discovery of the original estuary elevations with plants and tidal channels still in-tact, and finally, the returning of tidal waters to the estuary for the first time in 50 years. Project partially funded by Salmon Recovery Board. Created by Leaping Frog Films.

Almost Lost but not Forgotten – Pinto Abalone Recovery in Washington State
Puget Sound is full of many treasures, and the native abalone is among the greatest.  At a NOAA’s Mukilteo lab and a small abalone nursery in Port Gamble pinto abalone are being grown for re-introduction into the wild. In the summer of 2009, over 1,200 animals reared in this facility were outplanted into Puget Sound, representing the most substantial abalone recovery effort to date in Washington. Pinto abalone – the only abalone species found in Washington – may be at risk of becoming locally extinct.  The natural population has plummeted over the last several decades and there are too few abalone in the wild to successfully reproduce.  The goal of this multi-faceted abalone recovery program is to increase densities in the wild and build sustainable populations of this important species for the future.  This film showcases different aspects of recovering abalone populations in Washington State from spawning adult brood animals, to tending juveniles during months of grow-out, to careful reintroduction into the wild. It’s a big undertaking involving conservation genetics, state-of-the-art hatchery rearing techniques and lots of collaboration between scientists, NOAA, WDFW, tribes and community groups. Created by Leaping Frog Films.

Preserve Brush Picking Signs.  Soon there will signs posted to tell people more explicitly that brush picking in the Illahee Preserve is illegal.  The Park’s Department had the attached sign made up for Banner Forest and we asked for some for Illahee.  The signs are in English, Spanish and French in case so there should be no problems understanding for those who don’t speak English.  

Preserve Clean-Up.  There are a number of people who help keep the Illahee Preserve clean of trash, along with the Chalice Heart group the routinely picks up trash along Thompson Lane, which is especially important now that the gate was damaged and considered too expensive to fix.  We took a picture of Jay and Rob last Saturday as they were helping with the clean-up on Thompson Lane.  Also included is a picture of a TV set that was dumped along the road.  These are the disappointing events that are offset by those who volunteer to help clean up.  Thanks to all those who keep the Preserve and Thompson Lane picked up!

Illahee Community Clean-Up.  We know of at least 4 people who have been regulars at picking up the roadways and ditches in the Illahee community.  They are Rob, Carol and Carole, and Dennis.  You see them carrying bags for the garbage they pick up as they get they do their regular walks.  They have told us that the bending over to pick up things and then carrying the bags greatly increases their cardio-vascular workout over just walking.  We have heard there are also others who are regularly picking up trash and we would be happy to recognize them for their efforts.  Please let up know who they are.

Jim Aho

>Illahee Wildlife – 1/12/11

>Illahee Wildlife.  The numbers and diversity of wildlife in Illahee, and the surrounding area, is amazing, and from your comments is one of the reasons people like living here.  One of the projects being worked on is a master template for interpretive signs for the Illahee Preserve and possibly for the Illahee Community, that would incorporate images of area wildlife.  We think this is a huge undertaking if for no other reason than just the vast variety of both terrestrial and marine wildlife, which we are aware of around here.

Terrestrial Mammals.  Terrestrial mammals that either are or have been seen in the Illahee area include:  black bears, black-tail deer, coyotes, fox, raccoons, opossums, skunks, rabbits, moles, mountain beavers, gray squirrels, Douglas squirrels, flying squirrels, chipmunks, bats, rats, and mice.  Let us know if we missed any.  We have attached a photo of a fox to represent this group.

Marine Mammals.  Because of the over 3 miles of shoreline in Illahee, and the relatively narrow passage of water between Illahee and Bainbridge Island, the marine mammals that frequent Puget Sound can at times be seen in Illahee.  The marine mammals we have seen include:  Gray whales, Orca whales, sea lions, porpoise, seals, and river otters.  Again, let us know if we missed any.  We have attached photos of a seal and river otters to cover this group.

Major Marine Birds.  Bald Eagles, Osprey (rare), Great Blue Herons, Kingfishers, Gulls, Cormorants, Loons, Canada Geese, Mallards, Wigeons, Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, Mergansers, Scoters, Grebes, Plovers, and Sandpipers.  In this section we have just covered the main categories as the numbers become extensive.  Attached are photos of a Goldeneye and various waterfowl at the mouth of Illahee Creek.

Terrestrial Birds.  The Kitsap Audubon Society has documented over 55 different terrestrial birds just in the Illahee Preserve.  The numbers of terrestrial birds in Illahee are too many to list them in this Update.   

Saltwater Fish.  Silver salmon and chum salmon have been the main salmon species using Illahee Creek (and the nearshore areas), along with two trout species, steelhead and coastal cutthroat.  Chinook salmon and pink salmon are also regularly use the nearshore beaches of Illahee.  Forage fish such as sandlance, smelt, and herring, and many other species use the nearshore areas.  We have attached some photos of salmon smolts netted in the nearshore environment a few years ago.  Also attached is a picture of a smelt that was caught at the Illahee dock on a squid jig.

Marine Invertebrates.   This is another wildlife category that has so many species that it is beyond listing, except for a few categories we are more familiar with:  clams, oysters, mussels, snails, sea stars, sand dollars, sea cucumbers, marine worms, barnacles, crabs, squid, and jellyfish.  Attached are photos of mussel sampling and a squid to represent the vast number of invertebrates.

Wildlife Reports Desired.  As we stated at the beginning, one of the primary reasons stated by residents for the reason they like living in Illahee is because of the wildlife.  And one of the primary reasons people state they like the Illahee Community Updates is because of the wildlife reports.  Thank you for all your wildlife reports and the pictures you pass on so we can get them out to the entire community.  We couldn’t do it without your help!

Jim Aho