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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Giving Back : Nisqually Land Trust

I spent this morning volunteering at a site clean up with the Nisqually Land Trust.


The parcel of land, east of Yelm, contained an old barn that had previously been taken down. There was a ton of old "no climb" fencing, barbed wire posts and assorted junk that needs to be cleared up.

It was a small but hard working crew. The day was very over cast with gray dreary sky and that light "hardly can be called rain". As the day progressed, however the sun won out and there were beautiful clouds set against blue skies.

The Field Bindweed was still closed when we walked through the pasture and by the time we had finished three hours later, it had almost all opened.

The river bowed away from this shoreline The backwater has collected many drifting logs and these serve as excellent protection for young salmon. All of the state salmon species have been found along this stretch of water and this protected environment is vital for the young developing fish. They require cool shaded water. When the river runs high during the rainy season, this area floods and floats these logs in. Eventually they feel the river will finish cutting the path and the trees you see behind the logs will actually wind up as an island

This Turkey Vulture was one of many that had obviously spent the night on the river. They were coming out of the trees as we crossed the field. They kept watch along with a large number of Raven, who held lively conversation about our antics.

I wish the lighting had been more favorable to allow capturing the detail of this grand bird.

I chose to tackle untangling and cutting down what I called a huge cinnamon roll made of no climb fencing, barbed wire and the occasional board panel. It looked pretty daunting as it twisted back on itself and there was nothing to do put pull and dissect pieces. We needed to conserve space in the dumpster that was on site so each small section was folded on itself and stomped on them to create mattresses of wire bundles. It took about two hours for my partner and I to accomplish the task. There is something very satisfying about work like this and the before and after picture tells the tale.


this pile is about 4 1/2 feet high


So it was a good days work. I optimistically thought I might stop by the Nisqually NWR on the way back but I will have to save that for another day. I have a nice collection of scratches and I am sure that I will REALLY feel it tomorrow from using the wire cutters in cutting apart all that fencing. They were the "Jaws of Life" type cutters, not the polite one hand utility type cutters.
The Nisqually NWR is where I started birding in an environment other than the woodlands near work. This is open field environment and river backwater with woods. Located at the mouth of the Nisqually River at the foot of Puget Sound just north/east of Olympia. Travelers driving north on I-5 pass through the south border of the NWR as they cross the Nisqually Flats.

It is here I saw my first Yellow Warbler. I remember that day clearly and the resulting mosquito bites on my face made me look like I had mumps. It was so very worth the discomfort. I realized that I was going to have to find out about bug sprays and other items to keep my nature nut adventures as safe and healthy as possible.

Yellow Warbler , Dendroica petechia

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