Illahee 2/18/17 Photos, Storm Damage, Preserve Birds, Geese, Work Party, Knot Weed, Olympia Oysters

Photos.  Spring flowers emerging and ducks returning to the Preserve detention pond.

Storm Damage.  Lots of limbs down in the area after the snow, along with a number of trees down in the Preserve.  The tree clean up was done on Tuesday by two groups from the Illahee Stewardship Committee, to prepare for the Friday work party. 
Preserve Birds.  Thanks again to Chris for more bird photos from the Preserve.

I had an amazing walk today. I counted at least 11 different species surviving the winter in the Illahee Preserve:

2 Pileated Woodpeckers
1 Red-breasted Sapsucker (pic attached)
3 Golden-crowned Kinglets
1 American Robin
1 Varied Thrush
Many Dark-eyed Juncos
1 American Crow
2 Grey Squirrels
2 Douglas Squirrels
1 Brown Creeper
1 Pacific Wren
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Geese.  A newcomer that isn’t being accepted by the Canada geese.  We have no idea what kind it is. The next photo is of Canada geese who are now matched up and becoming territorial as they look at nesting sites.
Work Party.  Washington Youth Academy (WYA) cadets (numbering 52) moved all the wood chips to trails on Friday.  Thanks to the Rotary (East Bremerton Club) for arranging for the WYA cadets, the wood chips, the tool and wheelbarrow storage container (courtesy of United Storage), the portable toilet (courtesy of Jim Fox), and the 10 supervisors who directed and helped with the efforts.
Knot Weed.  Knot weed is an invasive species that is particularly troubling along fresh water and salt water shorelines.  The photos below show one reason it is hard to kill is because of its massive root structure that can extend out nearly 10 feet.
Olympia Oysters.  A much better find on the shoreline was what appears to be the smaller, but native, Olympia oysters.  
Jim Aho

Illahee 2/2/17 Preserve Fire, Bird’s Nest Fungi, KPUD Stream Monitoring, Work Party, RV Camping, Roadway Cleanup, Waterway Update

Preserve Fire.  CK Fire Fighters responded at 12:50 today (2/2/17) to a Preserve fire somewhere between the Amphitheater and Compass Circle.  We will be checking the area out tomorrow.  This is likely the same area where other fires have been set and has become a major concern.  Any ideas on catching the person?  The photo below is of last summer’s fire.

Bird’s Nest Fungi.  Thanks again to Chris who captures some amazing photos in the Preserve, and tells us about them.
Birds Nest Fungi Illahee_4
Found these little fellas in the Preserve right next to the trail near the golf course. It appears the spores, or “eggs” have already been ejected by recent rains. From Wikipedia: “The Nidulariaceae (‘nidulus’ – small nest) are a family of fungi in the order Nidulariales. Commonly known as the bird’s nest fungi, their fruiting bodies resemble tiny egg-filled birds’ nests. As they are saprobic, feeding on decomposing organic matter, they are often seen growing on decaying wood and in soils enriched with wood chips or bark mulch; they have a widespread distribution in most ecological regions.
KPUD Stream Monitoring.  The Kitsap Public Utility District (KPUD) is monitoring the flows in the North Fork of Illahee Creek for the county to determine the effect of their upstream stormwater projects.  The area north of McWilliams Road is where the major stormwater surges come from and the projects, past and future, are designed to help mitigate the surges so we don’t see the brown silt laden water out in the bay after storms, as shown in a photo in the last Update.
Work Party Coming.  In a couple of weeks this pile of wood chips, and other piles, should be covering trails after a visit from the Washington Youth Academy (WYA), planned for 2/17/17.  
RV Camping Concerns.  Thank you for the many comments about RV camping concerns, specifically about a RV with a blue strip, that is seen often in both the Almira and Thompson Lane parking lots.  
Overnight parking is prohibited according to posted signs.  The following statement was passed on to those concerned:
Neither overnight camping in the woods nor vehicle camping in a parking lot are allowed at Illahee Preserve.  Kitsap County Parks are open during daylight hours only.  Overnight parking in Kitsap County Parks is not allowed.  In the event car-camping is identified at Illahee Preserve we ask you call 911 with vehicle description & license number, share your observation of overnight camping, and request an officer make a welfare check on the occupant(s).  We welcome your assistance in maintaining a safe and healthy environment at Illahee Preserve. 
Roadway Cleanup.  Many thanks to the county for helping to cleanup local roadways!
Waterway Update.  A few weeks ago a small gray whale going north passed through Illahee.  Also nearly every day a group of sea lions passes through traveling south.  This fall they were seen catching salmon along the way.  Also, seals have been blamed for poor squid fishing at the dock.  An interesting recent article in the Kitsap Sun noted the problem with salmon predation.
Jim Aho

Illahee 3/18/15 Wildlife Photos, Work Party, Timbers Edge Progress, TE Purchase Campaign Meeting, Pledge Form, More Details Later, Wood Chips Needed

Wildlife Photos.  A couple of deer and pheasant photos, with one catching a pheasant walking by a couple of deer.  

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Work Party.  If you haven’t walked the trails lately in the Illahee Preserve, now is a good time to see all the work that has been done recently putting wood chips on the trails.  The effort is labor intensive but when you realize the chips keep the trails looking nice for years it is worth the extra work.  Thanks to the Washington Youth Academy for all their help and the East Bremerton Rotary for coordinating the work parties.
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Timbers Edge (TE) Progress.  Another success story is a signed Revised MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) outlining the details of purchase agreement for 25-36 acres of the Timbers Edge properties.  It was signed on 3/8 and delivered on 3/9 by the Illahee representatives, and then signed by the property owner and developer on 3/12, with two date changes, that were quickly accepted and delivered back on 3/13.  This allowed a major grant application to the Birkenfeld Trust to be submitted on 3/16, followed by a briefing to the Illahee Preserve Stewardship Committee on 3/17 and to the KC Parks Advisory Board on 3/18/15.
Slide 8 
TE Purchase Campaign Meeting.  With all the preparatory work completed, it is time to begin planning for a Capital Campaign to raise the money.  This will take a community effort and more and they are soliciting help from any and everyone who thinks they can help.  The first planning meeting is Thursday (3/19) at 5 pm at the Planetarium, 817 Pacific Ave, Bremerton.  If you have questions about the meeting please call 479-1049.
Pledge Form,  Below is a copy of the pledge form being used to raise the money.
Pledge Form 
More TE Details Later.  This is a fast moving target as the funds need to be raised within 5 months for the 25 acres and 7 months for the 36 acres.  More details after we attend the planning meeting on Thursday.
Wood Chips Now Needed.  Several months ago we reported there were too many wood chips, and then we found out they were being dumped in the wrong places.  This pile was dumped less than 24 hours after the previous pile had been cleaned up.  But with the help of the Washington Youth Academy cadets it was placed on Preserve trails on Friday 3/13/15.  With another work party scheduled for March 27th more wood chips are needed, but only at specified locations.
Tree Service Watch Help Needed.  If you see a tree service with a wood chipper, please let them know the Illahee Preserve needs chips at Trail Heads #12 and #1 along Thompson Lane.  If they have any questions have them call 479-1049 or 649-1049.
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Jim Aho

Illahee 8/24/12 Kayak Stolen Thursday Evening, Illahee Film, Work Party

Kayak Stolen.  On Thursday night a kayak was stolen from a residence north of the Illahee Community Dock.  The kayak had a red top, somewhat faded, and a white bottom.  It appears the thief was headed south toward the dock based on where they left the wheeled carrier they likely used to get the kayak to the water.  There aren’t many places to get a kayak out so we presumed they took it out at the dock.  If anyone has seen anything or has information that would be helpful, please let us know.  A reward is being offered.

Illahee Film at the Admiral.  It is official that the Illahee film will be shown, along with an Elwha film, at the Admiral Theater on October 12, 2012.  The poster for the event shown above is all that we know at this time.  We don’t know what the admission charge will be.

Saturday Work Party.  A bus load of Washington Youth Academy (WYA) cadets will be helping with a number of projects in the Illahee Preserve on Saturday, August 25th.  We hope to have some pictures of their efforts in our next update.  Thanks to all the volunteers who help make the Illahee Preserve such a great park, and especially to the WYA for their support of the Preserve!

Jim Aho

Illahee Community Update 9-15-11 Responses to Coyote Email, Work Party, Compass Circle Project

Coyote Concern Email. In the last update we included an email we received regarding concerns over the increasing numbers of coyotes in the area, they felt there was a group of 30-40 coyotes, at least it sounded like it to them.

Informed Responses. We were happy to have some informed responses come in quickly, and before we had an opportunity to contact the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW).  The first three this morning were:

Response #1.

I was a professional forester with the USDA Forest Service for 23 years.  I am educationally qualified to serve as a Forest Service wildlife biologist.  I am fairly familiar with the coyote (Canis latrans), having worked and lived alongside them during my entire career. 


I just read your Illahee Community update for 9/14/11.  The coyote densities referenced by your correspondent are far higher than possible.  Coyotes occupying the very best habitat approach densities of about five per square mile. There certainly are not “30 to 40 of them” in the Illahee area.  Following pup dispersal, coyote density never gets much higher than this because coyotes are very aggressively territorial.  Howling and yipping are the coyote’s primary means of territorial defense against intrusion by other coyotes.  They do their best to sound numerous, but they really are not.   Coyotes are not dangerous to humans, but will readily utilize cats and even small dogs as food.


Efforts to control coyote numbers are usually expensive and not very effective.  Coyotes respond to heavy population suppression by increasing litter sizes.  Suppression efforts must be constant or the coyote population quickly bounces back to pre-suppression levels.


Humans walking a small dog through prime coyote territory should keep their pet leashed, especially if the dog has a tendency to run a considerable distance from its owner during walks.  Cat owners in coyote country should keep their pets indoors, especially at night.


Response #2.  The link provides some great information.

Regarding coyotes, people can find more information on living with coyotes at  

We’ve got them in our neighborhood, too.


Response #3.  The link provides additional information and a video.

Lets limit the fear mongering on coyotes.  Here is a link .  Pack size is typically around 10 individuals.  They are normally territorial so the same pack will occupy an area unless something (like removal) happens.  I would be very surprised to see a pack of “30-40” individuals.  They only typically become a problem if people feed them (as raccoons, bears and any other nuisance wildlife).  So keep your pet food, garbage and pet cats inside.  They like to eat rodents, berries and carrion (and kitty cats in more suburban settings but your cats should not be outside unless enclosed or supervised anyway).  If the noise is the main problem ear plugs are much more effective and cheaper than removal (if they are removed more will just move in and claim the territory).  If the coyote population goes away the rodent (i.e. RAT) population will increase.  Rats/rodents are more of a human health concern.

Thanks! Thanks for the informed responses, which should alleviate any fears residents might have.

Illahee Preserve Work Party Saturday. On Saturday morning there will be another major Illahee Preserve work party, sponsored by the East Bremerton Rotary Club, with the Washington Youth Academy.  The remaining wood chip pile should be pretty much depleted after Saturday as the chips are placed on trails, an unauthorized trail should be closed, some more logs should be placed around the rain garden to replace those stolen last winter, scotch broom should be removed from along the detention ponds and the Almira Road right-of-way, along with various other projects.

Compass Circle Mowing. The Compass Circle area of the Preserve was mowed on Wednesday in anticipation of a major work party later this month or in October to restore that area to a wildlife meadow.  This is a big project that is part of Nathan Clemen’s Eagle Scout project.  Nathan and his Boy Scout troop put in a perimeter trail around Compass Circle this summer and will later install some meadow viewing areas.  The meadow will be planted with a wildlife seed mix, which needs to be planted as soon as the rains begin, which is planned for October.  Once that is completed the paths through the middle of the meadow will be closed so as to enhance the use of the meadow by wildlife.

Jim Aho


Illahee Community Update 8-29-11 Orca Picture, Seals, Peach Eating Squirrel, Website, & Wednesday Work Party

Saturday Orcas. While we were putting out a Saturday Update about the sighting of orcas on Friday, the orcas were out front playing around.  Our neighbor was out picking berries at the beach around 11 am when she heard a blowing sound, and turned around to see the orcas playing in the area north of the Illahee community dock.

Orca Picture. We were happy later to receive the attached picture with email below.  They later sent a video clip, but we were unable to open it and are still trying to figure out what program to use to be able to see it.

We didn’t see the whales (3 of them) on Friday, but we did on Saturday morning at around 9:30 am.  They were just a little north of the Illahee community dock traveling north.  We got a good view, but didn’t get a chance to whip the camera out.  We decided to try to follow them so we drove north and got the following camera shot between Brownsville and Keyport.  It’s not great because they were so far away, but it’s something.  We drove to the Agate Bridge thinking they were headed out, we looked for a while, but didn’t see anything.  By the time we got home we had heard they were in Sinclair Inlet.  So I guess they decided to turn around.  So we went in a boat into Sinclair Inlet, and didn’t see anything.  They kept avading us!

we also captured this video.  Quality is poor, but it’s still evidence of the orcas.  That’s what you get with a two-year-old tugging on your leg and a poor camera. :)

Seals Back on Monday. For those who were worried about our local seals being eaten by the orcas, the seals were back on their favorite float Monday morning.

Squirrels Eating Peaches. We also heard that deer are not the only animals eating peaches, as a gray squirrel was seen nibbling on one.  They said it was eating the underside, while the crows tend to eat the topside.  And we guess the deer eat the center portion, based on the photo that was included in the last update.

Updates on Website. We are in the process of updating our website,, as we have mentioned in other Updates.  Previous updates can be viewed and commented on at the website.

Wednesday Illahee Preserve Work Party. The Rotary Club (of East Bremerton) is hosting a work party on Wednesday evening beginning at 4 pm.  They are expecting the Washington Youth Academy to be there in full force to help move wood chips to the trails, and are looking for any extra wheel barrows that can be borrowed.

Flyover Funding Status. The Illahee Forest Preserve notes that they are steadily moving toward their $600 goal in support of a flyover of Illahee as part of the Illahee film project currently underway.  They have reached $425 in commitments as of Monday evening and they want to thank everyone for the encouragement in helping with the film.

Jim Aho