[Tweeters] Spotted Sandpiper breeding at Thomas wetlands, Auburn

David White drmwhite at nets.com
Sun Jul 24 08:12:06 PDT 2005

This morning I checked out the Thomas wetlands in Auburn (east frontage road to hwy. 167, at 277th St. S), to see if there were any migrant shorebirds. No luck in that regard, but there was one Killdeer, and an adult Spotted Sandpiper with at least 3 fuzzy youngsters darting in and out of the weeds on the little island in the pond.
Unfortunately, a large portion of the marshy grassland just north of the Thomas wetlands has been graded and is being compacted; a sign indicates that the property is "available"--for commercial development, that is, and no longer for wildlife.
It is my understanding that the Thomas wetlands are a "mitigation" project; I know it's important to be grateful for any little natural spot that ends up with protection; and I also know that lots of birds will congregate in any amenable spot. Maybe they're even easier for us to see, when that's the case--consider, for example, the Boeing Ponds. But I do wonder how effective tiny isolated bits of habitat are, in the bigger picture, and I wonder how "mitigation" projects are calculated.
Are we getting a reasonable trade-off when a few hundred acres of seasonal marshland are sacrificed in exchange for a couple of acres of ponds?
David White
Santa Fe NM/Auburn WA
drmwhite at nets.com

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