Disturbance at the Fill

Stuart MacKay stuart at blarg.net
Tue Mar 5 16:30:36 PST 2002

On Tuesday, March 5, 2002, at 04:14 PM, Melissa Keigley wrote:

> One example is the thistle that the goldfinches feed on. I don't think

> Northern Harriers would hunt here unless we had the open, grassy

> areas. And, there are no ground nesting sites inthe grass when a site

> is entirely blackberry.

The thistles are regularly mowed as well as the blackberry. The stretch
along the cattails next to the main path in the SW corner is an ideal
spot for thistles however this area was mowed last August (if I remember
correctly) while the thistles were setting seed. The goldfinches had to
feed elsewhere as a result.

The harriers hunt most often along the edges of the cattails and where
the grasses are well grown - a decreasing habitat type given the mowing.

> We have plenty of blackberry in Seattle, but not many lakefront

> restoration efforts.

Most of the notices describing the restoration talk about lowland
prairie habitat. While Mima Mounds in the Fort Lewis area is a superb
example I am not sure Montlake Fill can or could be classified as such.
Whether the area can be restored is open to question given the
prevalence of non-native plants and grasses. Long term, once the garbage
under the area subsides and the area is "reclaimed" by Lake Washington
then the lakefront will certainly be restored.

> About the "unofficial trails," those paths will get wider and more

> prominent

> with continued use. This only makes them look like inviting and

> acceptable

> secondary paths to take off the main path. I think some of the trails

> were

> originally wildlife trails used to travel from the water to other areas

> of

> the site. People have made them into larger trails. I encourage

> people to

> stop using them or the situation will only deteriorate.

On the contrary the trails have not deteriorated noticeably in the nine
years I've been birding at the Fill. Obviously if large number of people
started wandering around then the trails would get worse however most of
the traffic is probably from birders and the numbers visiting the Fill
have not resulted in the damage you suggest.

I guess I am asking whether the "greater purpose" is worth the apparent
cost. However this is wandering away from the topic of disturbance.

Stuart MacKay, Seattle, WA
stuart at blarg.net

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