>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!