[Tweeters] Spencer Island

jeff gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Wed Mar 25 09:32:08 PDT 2009

Went out to Spencer Island last night in the hour before dusk. Needed to get out of the Everett urbs and listen to some marsh creatures and maybe see some swallows.

Swallows I did see - 100 or more Violet-Greens all swirling above and thru the dark wet brush west of the bridge. Despite the cold and wet( it was about 40 degrees and breezy) the cattail marsh was full of singing Marsh Wrens and Red-winged Blackbirds, with a few Pacific Treefrogs joining the chorus. A fine pair of Hooded Mergansers in a pond along the road.

Habitat changes are pretty dramatic out there as a result of the dike breachings and resulting tidal flow into previously diked freshwater areas. Where the tide flows the cattails are dying out or all together gone with the noticeable effect of no more singing marsh wrens , blackbirds, ect in those areas where there used to be many. Other cattail lovers such as rails and bitterns will surely be affected by the vegetation changes. One welcome change brought by the tides is the 'removal' of the dreaded Canary Reed Grass - the tide did a real number on it.

Last years floods did away with most of the dead alders in the south portion of the island which has been tidal for years now. To the north of the cross dike in the newly tidal area virtually all the alders are dead - could be hole nester city for a few years until they too go down. Most of the Sitka Spruce seem to be doing ok and the county or somebody is planting more - a good idea as these were part of the original vegetation out there.

Rather than crying in my beer over the loss of some freshwater habitat out there I look forward to what will show up next in this changing landscape as it returns to the tides it originally had.

Jeff Gibson, Everett Wa

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