Wetland

The “wild” side of Beaver Willows  where nature decides what will grow-
“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. “(Albert Einstein)

Welcome to the chronicles of our nature habitat park… a running account of the natural areas of our yard.


May 30, 2014

Weather

Temperature
Minimum Temperature:  48.9 °F
Maximum Temperature:  75.9 °F
Pressure and Dew Point
Mean Sea Level Pressure:  30.07 IN
Total Precipitation:  0.01 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Mean Wind Speed:  6.79 MPH
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed:  12.00 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust:  19.56 MPH

Happy Trails to Us!

The time for watching how the trail would hold up  came to a close this week when one unit of hog fuel (ground up tree stumps) was deposited on our driveway by a big dump truck.

Here’s the trail over one year of observation… June 2013 to June 2014.

And… the rejuvenation of the trail as it was restored and extended. The job was done in just under five days…  and oh! so worth the muscle power.

 

 

May 25, 2014

Weather:

Temperature
Minimum Temperature:  52.0 °F
Maximum Temperature:  71.1 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure:  30.09 IN
Mean Dew Point
48.9 °F
Total Precipitation:  0.00 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Mean Wind Speed:  4.49 MPH
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed:  12.00 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust
No data.

Birds

It was a fantastic morning to observe birds doing what birds will do…

Black-capped Chickadee preening…

Red-breasted Sapsucker harvesting a meal from willow trunk…

Tree Canopy is Particularly Lovely

05-25-14_lan_tree_canopy

 


 

May 21, 2014

Weather:

Minimum Temperature:  42.1 °F
Maximum Temperature:  57.0 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure:  29.84 IN
Total Precipitation:  0.20 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Mean Wind Speed:  8.98 MPH
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed:  19.00 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust:  35.67 MPH

Wildflowers
Small Trees & Shrubs

So lovely this time of year when the blossoms are in full bloom…

Grasses

Invasive grass is the bane of the Glencoe Swale and Beaver Willows…

Insects

Sweat bees are Soil Nesting bees. They burrow into the ground, creating winding tunnels. Bees excavate cells off of the tunnels and provision individual offspring. Encourage these bees by leaving bare ground. (information from Pocket Fieldguide Native Bees of the Willamette Valley, OSU.)

 


 

May 12, 2014

Weather: 
Sunrise: 5:44 am Sunset: 8:31 pm
Moonset: 4:33 am Moonrise: 6:28 pm Moon Phase:Waxing Gibbous
Temperature
Minimum Temperature:  44.1 °F
Maximum Temperature :  78.1 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure:  30.28 IN
Total Precipitation:  0.00 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed:  18.10 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust:  24.17 MPH

Wildflowers:
Small Trees & Shrubs
Insects
Mammals

Mother raccoon was out foraging. She spotted me; gave a defensive/curious stance and proceeded to climb the cedar tree for a better vantage point. This raccoon kept a very focused watch on my movements! I can only guess that she sensed there was little threat from me as she backed down the tree and scampered away into the Glencoe woods…

Birds
 Keeping an eye on this one… not sure what it is

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May 6, 2014

Weather:
Partly Cloudy 64°F- High at 5:05 pm 50°- Low at 11:45 pm
Wind Speed / Gusts: WNW at 10 mph gusting to 19 mph
Sunrise: 5:52 am Sunset: 8:24 pm Moonset: 1:43 am Moonrise: 12:17 pm  Moon Phase:Waxing Crescent

It looked like kindergarten rest-time out in the wildlife habitat this afternoon. The mallard pair basked on a floating log. Meanwhile, a juvenile Mourning Dove and Song Sparrow stopped by to perch on low-to-the-ground branches in the Red Osier patch.

The Black-capped Chickadee was another story. This little bird was seldom still as it turned into a leaf hopping acrobat… sometimes turning cartwheels to hang upside-down on the leaves in search of insects.

Following on the heals of the chickadee was this lovely Wilson’s Warbler who absolutely stole the show for its beautiful plumage.The Pacific Coast populations have the yellowish, almost orangish, foreheads and faces. A common warbler of willow thickets, this little bird breeds in shrub thickets of riparian habitats, edges of beaver ponds, lakes, and bogs. I wonder  if this warbler will decide to nest in the wildlife habitat. It is a ground nester and builds a bowl of vegetation, lined with grass or hair. Usually placed on ground, at base of shrub or under bunches of grass, the nest may be placed low in shrubs. There is a dense thicket area at the perimeter of the riparian area. Its all-insect diet makes the Wilson’s Warbler one of the top insect-eating birds in Oregon.

The Pacific Ninebark has a lovely look with deep green leaves framing the buds that will soon burst into white blooms.

In harmony with the Pacific Ninebark, the Red Osier Dogwood is also getting ready to bloom. The edges of the wetland and our driveway will look magnificent in the next week or so.

A nice study in color theory! A bright red ladybug on a rich green Osier leaf.

Ladybird and Osier leaves create a striking example of color theory… opposite colors.

Thimbleberry,                                Fringecup,                                    Creeping Buttercups


Resource:
Birds of Oregon:Field Guide; S.Tekielo, Adventure Publications, 2001.

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May 2, 2014

Locomotion

Some travel swinging and leaping limb-to-limb

While others choose to paddle about.

 

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May 1, 2014

Weather

Temperature Minimum Temperature: 52.0 °F
Maximum Temperature: 88.0 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure 30.05 IN Total Precipitation 0.00 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed: 17.10 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust: 25.32 MPH

 House Finches and Lesser Goldfinches busied themselves collecting dandelion fluff for nest-building.

This was a first! Water in the wetland was high enough to take the kayaks out for an explore. Heron flew overhead.

We had to take care not to disturb the grassy areas; the Redwing Blackbirds are nesting. The males were not too pleased about having visitors.

 

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April 30, 2014

Weather

Temperature Minimum Temperature: 48.0 °F
Maximum Temperature: 82.9 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure 30.30 IN Total Precipitation: 0.00 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed: 17.10 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust: 21.86 MPH
 

Bombus centralis Bombus centralis is a species of bumblebee, also known as Central bumble bee, that is found in parts of Canada and western United States. Wikipedia

Western Terrestrial Snake

(Cut from source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_terrestrial_garter_snake)Wikipedia Like many species of North American garter snake, the Western terrestrial garter snake possesses a mildly venomous saliva. Specimens collected from Idaho and Washington produced venom with myonecrotic (muscle tissue-killing) effects when injected into the gastrocnemius muscles of mice. Several cases of mild human envenomation with local edema and other symptoms (but without any systemic symptoms) have occurred from the wandering garter snake subspecies, including in Colorado. This species is the only garter snake species with a well-documented tendency to constrict prey, although the constriction is inefficient when compared with the constriction of many other snakes (such as the gopher snake), involving disorganized, loose, and sometimes unstable coils and a longer time required to kill prey. Snakes from Colorado populations of terrestrial garter snakes appear to be more efficient at killing their prey by constriction than those from Pacific Coast populations.

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April 27, 2014

Weather

Temperature Minimum Temperature: 42.1 °F
Maximum Temperature: 57.0 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure 29.84 IN Total Precipitation: 0.20 IN Visibility 9.2 MI
Wind Speed and Gusts Maximum Sustained Wind Speed: 19.00 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust: 35.67 MPH

Mother raccoon must have left kits for a quick scavenging for food. She picked through seed hulls left by the birds.

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April 23. 2014

Weather

 

Random observations-

Flora-
Fauna

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April 22, 2014

Background-

At the beginning of April, I typed “Earth Day” into my iPad calendar. Then I considered ideas how to participate this year. This became the plan: Goal… what I want to do- Initiate restoration of native flora to west slope/trail section of Beaver Willows Nature Habitat Park Objectives… steps I’ll take to get the job done-

  • remove invasive grasses growing on west slope;
  • replant with native plants suitable for growing conditions;
  • complete by Earth Day- April 22.

In my usual fashion, I decided to do a little background research before heading into the park and quickly discovered that Reed Canarygrass is a formidable invasive species with an interesting history. According to USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Reed Canarygrass was introduced to the Northwest by farmers at the turn of the twentieth century to overcome a problem created by logging operations. In the early 1900′s, it was not unusual for farming to follow logging. Reed Canarygrass was often planted as a preliminary crop where stumps and wood debris were left behind after clearing operations. This hardy grass was a productive crop used for livestock forage until stumps and debris degraded over time and were removed for other planting.

Later in the century, Reed Canarygrass became part of wastewater management for irrigation with wastewater from municipal and industrial sources as a pollution control measure. Although the plant appears to be useful, it has proven to be too aggressive in the Pacific Northwest. It is a weedy invasive in many regions and habitats that often displaces more desirable native vegetation. Reed Canarygrass is the bane of wetland restoration. Reed Canarygrass Control and Management provided a reality check for my expectations with this project… “There is no immediate one-year ‘fix’ to convert a Reed Canarygrass infestation into a native community, but much can be accomplished within 2 to 3 years. Continued monitoring and follow-up treatments will be required for up to 5 to 10 years to prevent reinvasion.” I wonder, does this mean I have found my Earth Day goal for the next decade? Whoa… as a person who thrives on challenge, I decided to proceed.

The Project Underway-

The target: Reed Canarygrass-

Our spring weather has been rainy. That was good news for weeding that had to be done by hand. Wet, saturated, soggy soils improved the chances that plants could be pulled out with roots attached. As the days went by, our wheelbarrow was filled many times over with the “bane of wetlands.” Dense mats of Reed Canarygrass don’t look overwhelming, but the roots that hold them in place can be a nightmare to release. The pulling process was often a full-body workout involving the pitchfork, shovel, and sheer determination.

Removal was often slow-going because existing native plants were trapped within the grassy areas. An established patch of native Creeping Buttercups, next to the stairway, was especially tricky in this regard. But now that the Reed Canarygrass has been removed, I hope the Buttercups will form a thick mat that will choke out grass reinfestation.

Some of the creatures I met along the way-

These native plants were released from imprisonment. I need help identifying the plant pictured in the first two photos. The third photo showcases a Skunk Cabbage patch and Horsetails. In the background is an Oceanspray, and in the foreground a Serviceberry. These are two newly planted species.

Once the thick mats of grass were gone from the base of this tree-stand, a trove of native plant treasure was revealed that included Rushes, Red Osier Dogwood sprouts, and Great Betony perennials.

The grand finale for this clearing session was planting over a dozen native plants that we received from Clean Water Services back in February. Here they are lined up and ready to plant.

 

Conditions were finally favorable for adding:

Cascara – Serviceberry – and – Oceanspray

And so, it appears that this project will be revisited for a number of Earth Days into the future!

April-2014_native_plant_restoration_27

  Resources: Reed Canarygrass: Control and Management in the Pacific Northwest; http://www.invasive.org/gist/moredocs/phaaru01.pdf USDA Plant Guide: Reed Canarygrass; http://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_phar3.pdf

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April 21, 2014

Robust Lancetooth Snail  Haplotrema vancouverense

What do snails eat? Let me guess… are you about to say- vegetation? That’s what I would have said, but, for this particular snail, we would be incorrect. The Robust Lancetooth is a carnivore! This snail feasts on other snails. The name Lancetooth is inspired by the calcium carbonate spike they use to stab another snail. Once the other creature is punctured, the Robust Lancetooth follows the slimy trail. After its victim dies, the Lancetooth devours it. The same technique is also applied to small slugs and earthworms.  Quite fascinating.


 Resources: 
Snails and Slugs of the Pacific Lowlands; share2.esd105.org/rsandelin/Fieldguide/Animalpages/Invert/Snailslug.htm
Haplotrema vancouverense; explorer.natureserve.org

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April 20, 2014

Weather

Temperature Minimum Temperature: 42.1 °F
Maximum Temperature: 63.0 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure 30.24 IN Total Precipitation: 0.07 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed: 14.00 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust: 20.71 MPH

American Robin nesting in Red Alder at edge of wetland near end of our driveway.

Mother Mallard

 

Mushrooms popping up in the moist weather. Maybe Sulfur Tuft Mushrooms? These are near the bench in the Nature Habitat.

 

 

04-20-14_b_canada_geese_v-formation
Canada Geese returning!

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April 18, 2014

Weather

Temperature
Minimum Temperature: 39.0 °F
Maximum Temperature: 60.1 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure 30.07 IN Total Precipitation: 0.27 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed: 14.00 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust: 20.71 MPH

Bumble Bees and Honey Bees busy at work pollinating the apple tree. It was reassuring to see ample numbers of each species on the tree. I predict this will be a good apple producing year.

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April 16, 2014

Mallard duck pair appear to favor the floating log that arrived at the base of the duck house during the high water flow we experienced this spring.

Rushes found at wetland edge when Reed Canary Grass was removed.

I believe this is Cherry Laurel. Not sure if this is an invasive plant, but there are a number of these sprouting throughout the Beaver Willows Nature Habitat.

 

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April 15, 2014

Weather

Temperature Minimum Temperature:  42.1 °F
Maximum Temperature: 73.0 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure 30.21 IN Total Precipitation: 0.00 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed: 15.90 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust: 25.32 MPH

Pacific Crabapple in full bloom! We cut out undergrowth and opened up the area to provide more light and air movement around the Crabapple. One Red Alder was removed in the process.

Work in Nature Habitat- removal of Reed Canary Grass on slope side of riparian zone. New bridge looking a bit lost in the mud.

We were surprised to find that there is someone else interested in changing the wetland. Our pond is being engineered by the local beaver. Woke up to find a lovely little dam-

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April 13, 2014

Weather

Temperature Minimum Temperature:  39.9 °F
Maximum Temperature:  71.1 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure 30.17 IN Total Precipitation:  0.00 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts Maximum Sustained Wind Speed:  15.90 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust:  No data.

Canada Geese and Red-winged Blackbirds are a welcome sight on the wetland.

Reed Canarygrass removal is no small task.

New bridge, hedge-pruners ready to rock and roll.

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April 9, 2014

Weather

Temperature
Minimum Temperature:  44.1 °F
Maximum Temperature:  69.1 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure:  30.19 IN
Total Precipitation:  0.36 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed:  9.90 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust
No data.

 

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April 6, 2014

Weather

Temperature
Minimum Temperature:  46.9 °F
Maximum Temperature:  64.9 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure:  30.21 IN
Total Precipitation:  0.12 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Mean Wind Speed:  7.36 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust:  No data.

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April 4, 2014

Weather

Minimum Temperature:  44.1 °F
Maximum Temperature:  59.0 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure:  29.98 IN
Total Precipitation:  0.10 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed:  11.10 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust:  No data

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March 29, 2014

Weather

Minimum Temperature:  46.9 °F
Maximum Temperature:  55.0 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure:  29.81 IN
Mean Dew Point
Total Precipitation:  1.68 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed:  17.10 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust:  29.92 MPH

March has been a particularly wet month. Waters in the wetland are quite high. The path is flooded again.

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March 26, 2014

Weather

Minimum Temperature:  44.6 °F
Maximum Temperature:  55.0 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure:  29.64 IN
Total Precipitation:  0.27 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed:  18.10 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust:  25.32 MPH

 

A day for duck pairs! Wood Duck and Mallard

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March 24, 2014

Weather

Temperature
Minimum Temperature:  35.1 °F
Maximum Temperature:  69.1 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure
30.14 IN
Total Precipitation:  0.00 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed:  14.00 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust:  No data.

A spectacle to see started today… Bitter Cherry tree first blossoms opening! Our tree is most likely fully mature. It has obtained a height of about 40 feet. I am always in awe when it reaches full-bloom. The blossoms are form in clusters of of 5-10 white flowers. On our property, it is an important tree… providing food and shelter for a vast number of birds, insects, squirrels, and- occasionally- raccoons.

The female Mallard duck scoped out the open area of water created by my husband’s efforts in removing Reed Canarygrass at the north east end of the habitat park.

Catkins on the Sitka Willow appear well before the leaves. This plant is a spindly shrub or multi-stemmed small tree.

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March 20, 2014 – Vernal Equinox

Weather

Temperature
Minimum Temperature:  33.1 °F
Maximum Temperature:  55.9 °F
Mean Sea Level Pressure
30.31 IN
Total Precipitation:  0.03 IN
Wind Speed and Gusts
Maximum Sustained Wind Speed:  15.90 MPH
Maximum Wind Gust:  25.32 MPH

The first day of Spring! New beginnings, revival of green, hopes for good things to come, positive energy in the universe. I love this time of year. The plants are putting out first leaves, buds, and blossoms-

Pacific Crabapple first leaflets look particularly vibrant against the backdrop of gray skies.

Slough Sedge patch seems none the worse for wear after being covered by snow during the end of the winter.

Yellow flowers of the Oregon Grape and Skunk Cabbage create flora-eminating bursts of brightness until the sun comes out after spring rains.

I hope this is not an unfortunate sign: Alder flea beetle. The infestation cycle naturally occurs every 5-7 years. Last summer was particularly tough on the Red Alder trees. Most leaves were chewed down to lacy frameworks by the September. I hope we won’t see that again this year… after all, it’s supposed to be an “off” year.

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