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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Wilcox Flats Clean-up

I spent a wonderful, warm sunny morning working with the Nisqually Land trust cleaning up the Wilcox Flats property.  This parcel is on the far side of Wilcox Farms and just north across the river from where we burlaped the end of last December.  This parcel was inundated several years ago with flood waters which washed debris downriver.  Today the focus was cleaning up and clearing out.

When I arrived Chris, our coordinator said there were at least 15 soldiers from Lewis/McCord joining us.  They are great help as they are willing to put themselves to tough work.  I grabbed a knife and set out removing tubes and stakes from around plants which were planted several years ago.  I have done several of these plantings here and the results are a mixed bag.  The spruce trees were thriving and so were many of the roses and currant bushes.  In one area, however, most of the plants were dead or barely thriving.  It could have been a series of unfortunate weather events, a bad batch of root-stock or perhaps something bad in the soils from the flood.

Spring has clearly sprung.  All around there was bird song.  White-crowned sparrows have arrived here too.  Orange-crowned and Common Yellowthroat Warblers shyly took off when people started working.  Sapsuckers and Flickers were rat-a-tatting in trees.  I even hear a small group of California Quail.

Without a doubt, however, the domineering bird here was a noisy clan.

Several male peacocks noisily "eeeeYAH-ed" around the property.  They have been in the area for sometime, clearly escaped (or released) from someones farm.   How anyone would want to live with these loudmouths is beyond me.

As handsome as they are.

This fine fellow was really strutting his stuff.  He had four hens in his little harem and I have no doubt he was the A Number One fellow

The hens acted just like females of many bird species where the male struts and performs.  They wandered around and appeared to act just liked bored women strolling the counters at the department store.  Oh he tried so hard.

I found myself working quite alone pulling tubes and sacking them for disposal.  I found a few of these little fellows.  Woolly Bears, the caterpillars of Isabella Moth were having an early start to the season.  I usually think of them as a late Fall presence.

Little charmers.

You can see from the trucks that a large number of tires were pulled from the shoreline woods.  Chris said he had underestimated how many and said today he thinks there are at least 100 in and around the woods.

I found a broken lamp and a shoe (size 8)

What a great way to spend a lazy morning.  The good weather has arrived. There is promise of a few rain-free days and temperatures in the 60's.


  1. It must be so much fun to be out in nature and know so much about everything. I thought about you last night when I heard a very strong bird call that I had not heard before. The bird sat in a juniper tree and I waited for a long time to see if it would take flight, but it didn't. Just sat there and called, and called. I so wondered what it was, what kind of bird. I know you would have been able to tell me.

  2. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/northern_mockingbird/id

    first thing that comes to mind, Inger, particularly a bird that goes on and on is Mockingbird. we do not have theme here, commonly, so I have not experienced their vocalization in person. They are mimics so they will have their native voice and then they can switch to imitation of other birds. During the Spring they can sing far into the night

  3. Thanks for the suggestion. Mockingbirds lived in our bougainvillea hedge in L.A. so I know what they look like and how they can imitate. We had a whiny dog they used to imitate, they really had him down pat. Also our cats. I heard my cat and would go to the door to let her in and no cat. They do live up here too, but I have never seen one. So it could be. You also said once you would like to know how spring progressed here. Well, after the snow things got green, mainly weeds, some grass. Not much, just a little. The poppies in town are about three weeks ahead and so are the lilacs. Everything is three weeks to a month earlier than usual thanks to our warm winter. Our two trees are dying, and half our lilac bush is dead too. A house finch is laying on eggs in a nest next to our front door and I feel so bad that she has to fly away when we go in and out.