All the expected early migrants were found this month as well as a few that we frequently don't see until April. There were no rarities reported, but we had a few species that are found less than annually in the county. An Eared Grebe was seen in the Woodland Bottoms, a Bonaparte's Gull was roosting on a sandbar at the end of Sportsmen Club Road near Kalama and a Glaucous Gull was reported from the Kalama Marina. The usual huge numbers of Bald Eagles and gulls put on quite a show taking advantage of a prolonged smelt run.
Historically an occasional visitor, the Black Phoebe was a rare sight at the Julia Butler-Hansen Refuge for the Columbian White-tailed Deer; there had been a few sightings each year, but no known nests.
In 2014 refuge staff noticed a pair frequenting the covered corner of a tide gate and decided to check it out…a nest! Staff thought there had been a successful first brood, as two to three more Phoebe’s were hanging around throughout late spring-early summer. However, a second clutch of eggs was apparently unsuccessful as they remain in the unattended nest throughout summer.
As I write this (March 13), the Phoebe’s are in the process of building a new nest in the opposite corner of the tide gate. The pair is hard at work gathering blades of grass, stems, and mud. Make a stop into the refuge office and check them out!
They can often be spotted from the Headquarters observation deck, near the tide gate under Steamboat Slough Road.
This morning, 3/10/15, the Port Commissioners of Longview voted to not renew the lease to Havens Energy to build a propane export facility at Berth 4 in Longview. We applaud their decision and we know it was not an easy choice for them to make. The process for the final vote has been in the works for months with meetings and testimony from industry and the community. In fact, the commissioners listened to testimony from both sides this morning at their meeting. The resulting vote was a victory for all the hard work and efforts of the members of ILWU Local 21, LCSC, CRK, and WHAS members. It is very monumental when labor and everyday citizens can raise concerns regarding safety, economic, environmental, transportation, & siting problems with a project and when our elected officials listen to them seriously.
The county's first ever Acorn Woodpecker visited a Longview feeder for three days in late November.
Also the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website had a photo of Snow Bunting taken in December on their Mount Saint Helen's Wildlife Area. Not a source I've ever checked, but I was alerted to it by a friend in Spokane.
This was our eighth year of this project and the averages are beginning to be meaningful. The 197 species in the county this year is above our 191 average but short of the 2011 record of 203.
Lake Sacajawea has many of the over-wintering waterfowl now. A Eurasion Wigeon was spotted on 12/2/14 and other waterfowl seen have been Wood Duck, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Greater and Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead and even Hooded Merganser. We also have seen many Double-crested Cormorants as well as Pied-billed Grebes. On 12/01/14 a Bald Eagle swooped down and made off with a Gull(did not catch the species) for breakfast.
All this can be seen in our back yard here in Longview just get out, walk the lake and observe. You may even catch a glimpse of one of our resident River Otters.