Illahee 3/11/14 Pheasant Responses, Skunk Cabbage, Meeting Reminders, Deer Hit, Daffodils, Culvert Report

Pheasant Responses.  Thanks for biologists who set us straight on our thinking that we had photographed a really old pheasant, and the last comment by one who knows the damage spurs can inflict.

I am skeptical that the “spur” on the right leg of the pheasant is a spur because it appears to be uniform in diameter from base to tip. A spur would taper sharply from base to tip and be extremely pointed and sharp like a large rose or blackberry thorn. Adding to my skepticism is the normal looking spur on the left leg. Going by the spur on the left, the bird is entering it’s second year. Going with the “spur” on the right, the bird could be entering it’s third year of life. Most pheasant live two years. A three year old is somewhat rare and very lucky. I would compare the number to the number of human males age 95 and older. I am going by my South Dakota experiences where conditions are much more harsh. Maybe the milder climate in this region and less hunting pressure allows longer lived birds, but I doubt it.
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Given the perils of predators, vehicles and hunters, a three-year-old ring-necked pheasant is a real senior citizen in the wild, although they can live to 11-18 years old in captivity. Generally, spur length can distinguish between mature birds and juveniles, but not much beyond that.  A mature “rooster” pheasant has dark, long, sharp spurs.  The spurs on a juvenile are light grey, rounded and short.


The “rooster” pheasant in your photo appears to be a mature bird, but the spurs in the photo are not very distinct.  I believe that you are mistaking the bird’s hind toe for its spur.  The spur is evident well above the hind toe in your photo.


If pheasants are not hunted or chased by humans, they can become somewhat tolerant of our activities.  They will readily forage under bird feeders for seed.  They are real fans of shelled or cracked corn.


Here is a photo of some male pheasant legs:

I remember as a young person, who was sent to retrieve a wounded male pheasant, and was gouged by the spurs.  It is now 50 years later and I still have one of the scares I got when I picked it up.  Those spurs can be a real weapon as I found out.
Skunk Cabbage.  Not very often do we see a patch of skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus, also referred to as western skunk cabbage or swamp lantern, or locally as a swamp lily) in Illahee.  This is one of the headwater wetlands for Steele Creek that is in the Illahee Perserve.
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Meeting Reminders.  Several meetings on Wednesday (3/12/14), and another one next Tuesday (3/18/14), all public meetings.
Port of Illahee meets the second Wednesday of the month at 5 pm at the Port meeting room at 5500B Illahee Road.
The Emergency Preparedness Meeting at 7 pm details are noted below.
The Illahee Preserve Stewardship group changed their location so they could better look at maps of properties they hope to acquire if they are successful in obtaining a Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO) grant.  The details of their meeting are noted below.
We will be meeting this month in a different location.  March 18th 2014 

The Planetarium 
817 Pacific Avenue
Downtown Bremerton

You can park in the small parking lot in front of the garage doors or on the street.
This location is a formerly an old big firestation.

Deer Hit.  These are hard photos to take and see, but it is a reminder that we have lots of deer in the area, and need to be mindful of them, not to mention the damage to a car.
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Daffodils.  If you think you need special soils to grow daffodils, consider these growing amongst the clam and oyster shells.
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Culvert Report.  A couple of photos after one of the days of rain, followed by a photo of the brown water that showed up Monday in the bay, indicating a fresh slide somewhere in the watershed.  The Illahee weather station, operating with new software, shows 7.18 inches of rain so far this month.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 12/16/12 Brush Pickers Back, Film Sales, Culvert Report, Port of Illahee Meeting, Illahee Store, Flag Pole, Port Meeting Sign, Trash Report

Brush Pickers Back.  Just when we thought there were no brush pickers in the Illahee Preserve this winter, we received the following report:

On Friday I was walking my dog and I heard and saw 3-4 pickers harvesting  in Illahee Preserve @ about 1:30pm.

Walking north from Compass Circle it was on the ridge to the left and across from the first East path intersection.

I called 911 and a unit was dispatched. I received a call from the officer who said he was in the Almira parking lot. @that time I was at the Riddell lot and explained if he walked in to the 2nd main N/S path and travel S he would find them and I would approach from the other side. I ended up running into two of them on my way. Of course there were no police. So I was detaining them hoping the police would soon arrive. So after having a discussion that it was illegal to be harvesting in the Preserve, I left.  I called dispatch who had the officer call me again to find out that he was still sitting in the lot waiting for back up. I met them in the lot and escorted them to the area but by this time they were nowhere to be found. You can see the paths and the reduction in vegetation.

In addition to calling 911, you can also call 479-1049 and we can often get some others there to help find them.

Christmas Film Sales.  We have had a number of residents purchasing Illahee DVDs for Christmas presents.  One of the comments we received from those who saw the film at the Admiral Theater is the colors on the DVDs are much more vivid and bright than it was on the theater’s screen.  The film was done in high definition (HD) which provides the great colors and is why there are also Blu-ray copies available.   Simply call 479-1049 to have them delivered, or for more information about the film.

Culvert Report.  The Illahee Creek culvert continues to be concern for many residents who remember the inconvenience caused by the washout of the Gilberton Creek culvert a few years ago.  We took some photos on Saturday (12/15/12) to show what the area upstream of the culvert looks like, with the last two photos showing the left and right sides.

Port of Illahee Meeting.  We have been attending the Port of Illahee meetings for years and mentioned to someone that it was an exciting meeting last Wednesday when four residents attended and commented on some current issues.  We were then asked if we could put something out in an update so here is our report, which is unofficial as the Port minutes are posted on their website, though usually a month after the meeting.  Normally there are only one or two residents who attend the meeting and not much interaction, but this time there was some controversy.

Illahee Store.  The Illahee Store has been on the Port’s agenda for many years with not much happening, which is why at the community meeting in November the following was passed unanimously.  

After lengthy discussion, a motion was made and seconded that the Port of Illahee actively pursue with due diligence the purchase of the Illahee store. 
The concerns expressed at the Port meeting were that something needs to be done to move things forward as it was reported that the owners wanted to sell.  The vacant store is an eyesore and in the past residents have had to clean up the area.  Some would like to see it become a community center, and others a coffee shop, and other would like to see it be both.  One of the big issues is the status of the old gasoline tanks, which need an environmental assessment.  The Port has been investigating but evidently some of the residents want to see some action taken.
Flag Pole.  This was the really big issue of the evening with some wanting the flag pole moved because it restricts movement past parked cars, and others stating it has been there for years, was put in by the community, and is a community landmark.  There were some emotional statements and the Port Commissioners asked the person who wanted it moved to bring them some estimates.  Someone suggested the community be queried to determine its position; either FOR or AGAINST or DON’T CARE, so if you want to get in on the decision, we will pass on your sentiments, or do so to one of the commissioners via their website 
Port Meeting Sign.  Another suggestion was for the Port to put up a sign by the flag pole a few days before their monthly meeting as a reminder for residents who would like to attend.  A sandwich board was offered up by one of the attendees and Port Commissioner Cassie Magill said she would make up the sign.

Trash Report.  There are two trash dumping incidents to report.  One at the Almira parking lot, and the other a mattress along Thompson Lane.  
Past Updates Saved.  Some have commented they save these updates.  They are already saved and can be accessed on the community website  In addition they can also be searched by subject matter, which is why we put headings on each paragraph.

Jim Aho 

Illahee 12/4/12 A Third Illahee Website, Preserve Dumping, Correct Phone Number for Illahee Film, Culvert Report, Lost Cat, High Tides, Seals

A Third Illahee Website.  For years there was only one website covering Illahee issues,  Then several years ago the Port of Illahee established their own website,  And more recently a separate website has been established for the Illahee Preserve,  Thanks to Rob Spearman for his great work in establishing the Illahee Preserve’s website.  The website is set up to cover the various projects going on in the Preserve and should be a great source of information for any who might want to get involved.

Preserve Dumping.  Another dumping of old furniture at the Illahee Preserve’s Almira parking lot occurred this past weekend.

Anyone recognize these items?  If so, we would like to find the person/s responsible.

Correct Phone Number for Illahee Film.  We were advised the phone number for those wanting to have the Illahee film delivered was wrong in the last update.  We apologize as it was our error.  The correct phone number is (360) 479-1049.

Culvert Report.  We have been asked if the recent clean-out of the Illahee Creek culvert outlet has resulted in an increased opening at the inlet.  The answer is it is very hard to see much of a difference.  We took a couple of photos on different days, with the last being on Monday, which showed a nominal 12 inches of clearance.  We wanted to get this photo since the culvert outlet will be dredged again on Tuesday (12/5/12).
Lost Cat.  Lots of these postings around Illahee of another lost cat.
High Tides.  There have been higher tides than usual the last few days, especially with the low pressure, which raises them even higher than the predicted heights.  This morning was exciting as the high tides and wave action caused a number of logs to go moving with the waves down the shoreline.  We had an old piling from the Illahee Community dock that washed up on our shoreline a couple of years ago that came loose from its rope today and probably ended up at Brownsville.  We took pictures of some shoreline plants that took a beating from the tide and waves.  The first one shows the plants and the second one shows how high the tide was by the piece of driftwood that ended up on top of them.
Seals.  We like to have at least one wildlife photo and choose this one of the seals as they congregated on one end of a nearby float.
Jim Aho
Note:  Past updates available at
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Illahee Update 11/27/11 Fallen Tree Report, Rotary Group, Culvert Report, High Tides

Fallen Tree Report 2010/2011. The final fallen tree report for the 2010/2011 season was 105 trees removed from somewhere between 4 and 5 miles of Illahee Preserve trails.  Assuming 5 miles of trails this would equate to 21 trees per mile of trail.  Considering the time span of one year and several intense wind storms the numbers appear reasonable.  Thanks to the Rotary trail crew for staying on top of this beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving last year and finishing up with tree 105 on Thanksgiving morning this year!

Which Rotary Group? There are at least three Rotary groups in the area (two in Bremerton and one in Silverdale) and every now and then we are asked exactly what Rotary group has adopted the Illahee Preserve.  The answer is the East Bremerton Rotary Club.  Not only does this club organize and participate in Illahee Preserve work parties, they work with tree companies to get wood chips, they perform the fallen tree removal crew duties, they have been doing restoration work planting trees and ferns, and they pay for and installed two of the large Illahee Preserve signs, and are working on a new sign for State Route 303 just north of the wrecking yard.  They are also helping with Nathan Clemen’s Eagle Scout Compass Circle Meadow Restoration Project, and possible other projects we aren’t even aware of.  Thank you Rotary Club of East Bremerton!!!
Illahee Culvert Report. We wanted to see if the last rain storm had any effect on the Illahee Creek Culvert under Illahee Road.  According to our measurements the sediment level raised about 6 inches.  We look for the maximum clearance from the bottom of the stream to the top of the culvert and use a stick to do so, which you can see in the photo below.  The concern as the sediment level increases is possible blockage from upstream logs that might not fit through the culvert.  There are a number of upstream areas where logs are slowly moving down, some that would make a beaver feel quite fortunate to find.  We have included a couple of examples below.
High Tides. There have been some high tides already this month, with a few more to end up the month of November.  Early this morning was a 13.5 ft high, with a 13.4 on Monday and a 13.2 on Tuesday.
Beach Log Securing Experiment. We have heard of some attempts to try and keep transient logs at the high tide mark of the beach in order to improve shoreline habitat by securing them, some with ropes, others with an anchoring system.  We will try to get more information as there are many more high tides coming up in December, since if any of these experiments work, others might be interested in doing the same thing. Otherwise these logs float out on high tides and are eventually picked up and hauled away.

Jim Aho