Date: 3/1/18 4:44 pm From: Steve Engel <Steve.Engel...> Subject: [obol] Re: Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve Nature Update
JBWP Nature Update – Thursday, March 1, 2018
The last update was December 15, 2017.
The Preserve flooded twice in January, the second flooding lasting until the end of the first week in February. That is, many of the trails during these periods were under water but the water never got super high, just to 137 feet above mean sea level, which means the berm around Pintail Pond remained above water. The red footbridge was under water for a while and the beavers weren't able to work on their dam for a few weeks. It is visible now, just look over the railing from the bridge. For more information on trails and flooding at Jackson Bottom, visit: https://www.hillsboro-oregon.gov/home/showdocument?id=17946
The periods of high water allowed our local beavers swimming access to many more trees and they sure took advantage of that. Around portions of Kingfisher marsh there are numerous willows and cottonwoods with evidence of beaver chewing at heights of 4 - 6 feet above the ground. Natural and man-made structures, like logs and bird blinds, served as islands for extended feeding sessions and became adorned with sizable piles of twigs and sticks and small tree trunks all cut to an appropriate
length and completely debarked. Some of these piles can still be seen, glowing like butter amongst the drab, brown background of winter vegetation. The recent high water also distributed many beaver chewed sticks seemingly willy-nilly across the landscape.
With the water low, there is an ongoing monumental effort to plant 100,000 native plants in the areas affected by last summer's Oak Island Marsh restoration project. Rushes, sedges, shrubs and trees are being stuck in the fertile, muddy ground. Pintail pond in particular should look quite different this spring and summer as a result of this work.
There were reports of a Prairie falcon in early February. That is an uncommon falcon to see west of the Cascades in winter, however, the reports were several and seem convincing. Several sightings of peregrine falcon, both mature and immature have been made. They are not an uncommon falcon here, perhaps because one of their older names is “duck hawk”. Northern harrier, red-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk, American kestrel are present. A barred owl showed up at least once in the uplands near the building. Our local bald eagle pair was seen this week carrying nesting material from the east side of the Preserve to their new (as of 2017) nest on the far west side. As far as we know they did not attempt nesting last year, or perhaps just abandoned their attempt early on – we didn’t find their new nest until late April. Let’s wish them luck this year. No local osprey sightings yet. When they do return, presumably later this month, they will find a fresh nesting platform in a slightly new location, in Pintail pond rather than on the edge of it. We hope they adjust to the newness without any difficulty.
A number of trees and large branches have fallen, among them a long-standing dead tree with a symmetrical outline that used to stand on the berm between the experimental wetlands and the ash forest at the edge of the Arbor Roses housing development, on the east side of the Preserve. It was a favorite perch for many species of raptor over the many years and it will be missed. On the other hand, the three Oregon ash trees that slid into the Tualatin River as one island two winters ago, dropping over 15 feet from their original location, are dead but all still standing straight and tall. They are on the south side of Kingfisher marsh where a river overlook and a “caution poison oak sign” are located.
Killdeer, Wilson’s snipe and greater yellowlegs are recently reported shorebird species. The uplands around the building are good places to view red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatch, red-breasted sapsucker, golden-crowned sparrow, spotted towhee, bushtit, Anna’s hummingbird, red-winged blackbird and mourning dove, among others. I think I heard a house wren in the pollinator garden yesterday. There were close to 100 tree swallows foraging over the Oak Island Marsh area on 2/27, early afternoon.
Cackling geese, a couple of greater white-fronted geese, Canada geese, lots of pintail, ring-necked, green-winged teal, mallards and lesser amounts of American wigeon, ruddy duck, bufflehead have all been around lately. Surprisingly a 2/27 bird survey counted no cackling geese.
Amphibians are doing well at the Preserve with many egg masses of frogs and salamanders being located by our research team. That’s what the red flags are about that you’ll see out in the wetlands. So far the garter snakes have not emerged from their various hibernacula, but they probably will soon.
Lunch with the Birds has been rolling since early January, thanks to a stellar crew of volunteers. In March we meet at the Valley Memorial Park Cemetery where Rock Creek goes beneath the T.V. Highway.
Tonight we anticipate viewing the first half of the second blue moon of the year. We meet at Orenco Woods Nature Park for this one. See below.
MANY cool programs still happening this winter. Check them out here:
Morning Bird Song Walks:
Develop and hone your ability to identify bird songs by making a commitment of one hour per week for the month April when our resident birds begin singing a lot. We walk slowly, listen and discuss what we are hearing and finally, connect a bird's name to its song. Repetition is the key to developing this skill! Bring binoculars and a field guide if you have them. We begin at 7am and end around 8am. You can depart anytime you need to.
Free. No pre-registration required.
April at Jackson Bottom Wetlands Education Center
Thu 4/5 4/12 4/19 4/26 7 am
May at Rood Bridge Park
Thu 5/3 5/10 5/17 5/24 5/31 7 am
Steve Engel, Nature Program Supervisor
503-681-6283 office phone