Illahee 10/30/13 Scoters, Sea Lions, Seals, Illahee Film Showing, Weather Station, Mushrooms

Scoters.  The winter mix of ducks have begun arriving in Illahee.  The Surf Scoter is a deep diving sea duck that eats shellfish whole which is probably why they are around here every winter.  These were sighted off the Illahee State Park dock last week.

Sea Lions.  We were sent some film clips of a sea lion eating salmon off of Point White.  We were able to get just one still photo from the clip as it seemed to be throwing the salmon up in the air and then trying to catch it.
Seals.  There seems to be no lack of seals this year, so many that they almost submerge a local float.
Illahee Film Showing.  The Illahee film is showing on Saturday (11/2/13) with some other great salmon films and they have presold over 200 seats, so if you are interested it is recommended you prepurchase your tickets.  Information on the film showing is in previous updates that can be seen on the website.
Weather Station.  We are having problems with the Illahee weather station, the webcam, and some of the time-lapsed postings.  The weather station’s solar cell was having problems with its battery after so many days of fog.  The webcam has been having problems with the USB connection points.  They are being worked on when our volunteer IT person is available.

Mushrooms.  There are many mushroom photos that have come in recently, along with one taken at the mushroom show last Sunday showing some poisonous ones.  Here are a few of them, thanks to Sally.

Jim Aho

Illahee 10/20/13 Preserve Work Party, Roses Removed, Mushrooms, Benthic Testing, November Community Meeting

Preserve Work Party.  We had a very productive work party on Saturday (10/19/13) at the Illahee Preserve.   Rain garden plot #1 was full of weeds and native roses that went wild and a group of volunteers from the Family of God Lutheran Church came to help rectify the problem.  Wheel barrow loads of weeds were pulled and two areas were planted with native coastal or beach strawberries (fragaria chiloensis).  We selected some photos of the event that show the group and the before and after status.

Roses Removed.  A few years ago we planted a few nootka roses (rosa nutkana) in plot #1 before we decided that we wanted the center to primarily consist of ground cover plants.  While the nootka roses were native and pretty they were too aggressive and prolific for our rain gardens and need to be removed.  See the photo below showing the underground runners of the plant, that had basically taken over the plot and the reason for it being taken out (we noticed  the new Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington does not recommend it for rain gardens, and we now understand why).  The removed roses were relocated to the perimeter of Compass Circle, again with the help from the Family of God Lutheran Church volunteers. 
Mushrooms.  Three more unique mushrooms were discovered this weekend, and hopefully we can get some more help in identifying them.  The first one was large and had a curvy body.  
The second looked and felt like cottage cheese.
The third one had a fringe around the edges.  
With such a great help last time identifying them, we thought we would try again with these newly discovered mushrooms.

Benthic Testing.  A week ago the county finished its benthic testing of local streams with Illahee Creek being one of the streams tested.  We have included one photo taken at the time and hope to have an update later that describes the reasons for the testing and the results from the samples taken two years ago.  More to come later.
November Illahee Community Meetings.  We were just notified that the Illahee Community non-profit group has scheduled a community meeting at the Sylvan Way library for 6 pm on Monday, November 18, 2013.  No other details will likely be available until they have a board meeting on November 4th.

Jim Aho 

Illahee 10/16/13 Illahee Film Showing, Seals, Pigeons, Kingfishers, Deer, Mushrooms

Illahee Film Showing.  The film “Illahee – Saving Puget Sound One Watershed at a Time” will be part of a series of salmon films to be shown on Saturday, November 2nd, in Tacoma at the Broadway Center for Performing Arts.  We just heard nearly 100 tickets have already been sold and at that rate it will likely be a sell out, so if you haven’t seen the film this is another opportunity.  Discount tickets are available.  See the attached flyer for all the details. 

Seals.  The other day we noted someone reporting seeing 13 seals on a float.  Not to be outdone, the float in the photo below has 21 seals on it with at least one more swimming around, probably trying to figure out it there is room for one more.
We do have lots of seals in the area so when we see a dead one, like we have seen several times this year, we are to report them. See the response we received after posting a picture of a dead seal in our last update.

Please advise them not to every touch or approach a stranded or dead seal. They can carry disease, and if alive, it is illegal to disturb them. Report any dead seals to

WDFW/ Marine Mammal Investigations

(253) 589-7235


Pigeons.  Every now and then flocks of white pigeons are seen flying around Illahee.  For the first time we noticed one with a white head and body and traditional blue wings in the flock, which was photographed when they landed on the beach.  
Kingfishers.  There was an angry kingfisher on Friday letting people know he didn’t appreciate his sailboat mast been taken down last week.  Neighbors got used to seeing him up there this summer and will miss watching him dive for fish.
Deer Damage.  With so many deer in Illahee is can only be expected some deer damage will occur.  The first photos show what bucks can do to trees and blueberry bushes. The second ones show what deer did to a new fall raspberry plant and to an apple tree, when the deer protection was removed.
Mushrooms.  With so many comments regarding mushrooms we will see if we can get more information about them.  We did have questions about havesting in the Illahee Preserve and just received the following information from the Park’s Department.
“The forest areas within Kitsap County Parks host environments for mushrooms which are shared between humans and wildlife. Mushrooms are consumed by deer, bear, small mammals, and mollusks. Some rodents rely on mushrooms for a significant part of their food supply and are, in turn, primary prey for larger species such as owls, hawks and eagles. Preserving the diversity of mushrooms in our local forest ecosystems is essential to Kitsap County natural parks.
To maintain a balance between humans and wildlife, the Parks Department will follow guidelines established by the US Forest Service for incidental removal of mushrooms for personal use. No permit is required for incidental removal of mushrooms to gather an amount for a meal. Daily limit for personal use is one gallon. Harvested chanterelle mushrooms must have a cap diameter of one inch or more. Gatherers are reminded to stay on trails and inner roadways as many are surrounded by sensitive ecosystems.

There are just as many poisonous mushrooms as there are delicious species of mushrooms. Use caution when picking mushrooms. Use guidebooks and pamphlets for identification.

Proper harvesting techniques provide the best possible recovery of mushrooms sites year after year. Mushrooms stems are to be cut at or above ground level, keeping the growing site as undisturbed as possible. Use only a knife or scissors to harvest mushrooms.

Kitsap County does not permit commercial harvesting of any products in County Parks unless a County Park permit has been issued.”

Illahee 9/22/13 Salmonids Identified, Bow Hunters, Mushrooms, Log Jam Project, Preserve Camp Sites

Coho Fingerling.  Thanks to those who responded identifying the salmonids in the last Update.

The first photo is a coho salmon (parr stage).

Cutthroat Fingerling.

The other photos are cutthroat trout.  You can tell by the red slit on the underside of their jaw hence the ‘cut-throat’ name.

Bow Hunters.  This past Thursday we were notified by a number of residents that there were bow hunters either hunting or scoping out bow hunting deer in the Illahee Preserve.  We contacted one of them and explained what the Preserve was, and he said he would try and contact the second hunter to advise him that hunting of any kind was illegal in the Preserve.  Thanks to vigilant neighbors for contacting the hunters and alerting Stewardship members.

Mushrooms.  Lots of mushrooms are coming up in the area and specifically in the Preserve.  We would like help identifying these that we saw.
Log Jam Project.  This was a major project that involved digging in and placing 6 large logs with their root wads into the creek in order to create pools for fish, such as the coho salmon and cutthroat trout pictured above.  Thanks to Irwin and Judith Krigsman for putting in for a grant with the Kitsap Conservation District (KCD) for the project and for KCD approving and funding it.  The first photo shows Shawn Higgins of Natural Systems Design and Scott Dutro of Maple Ridge Excavation, the designer and equipment contractor.  Scott did an amazing job of moving the logs from near Illahee Road to the project site upstream.  After the logs were installed the stream flow was resumed and desired pools formed. This was followed with restoration plantings by the Mission Creek Corrections Restoration Team and KCD Program Manager Carin Anderson, and finally straw placed on the old logging road where the heavy equipment traversed. 
Preserve Camp Sites.  Thanks to those who walk the Illahee Preserve trails for keeping the Stewardship Committee aware of campers in the Preserve. As soon as they hear about a camp site it is investigated, posted if necessary, and removed.  Safety is the Steward’s first priority and whenever campers are reported the response is quick, as noted below:

Campsite #1.  We were notified of this site on Friday, investigated it on Saturday and took the first photo.  When we returned on Sunday to remove it the tarps had already been removed so all we had to do was take down the frame work.
Campsite #2.  We were notified of this site along the new Hall of Cedars Loop Trail on Saturday after we had left the Preserve.  When we went back on Sunday afternoon all that was left was an empty site and some garbage.  They were probably advised by Preserve users that camping was not allowed and left.
Campsite #3.  This campsite was some distance from any trail and was being accessed along the south fence of the Park & Ride lot.  It was discovered on Sunday but nobody was at the site.  Because of its size and hidden location the Sheriff’s Department was notified and it was posted and will be monitored by the deputies until it is vacated.
Jim Aho