[Tweeters] Fill Update

Connie Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Tue Mar 10 11:22:04 PDT 2015


Hey tweets, Dennis is of course correct to point out the rare opportunity we have (because of mitigation money to be supplied by WSDOT) to bring open freshwater mud and Pacific Northwest-style prairie back to Montlake Fille. During our presentation to WOS on March 2, we talked mostly about shorebird habitat and pointed to the shocking decline in shorebird migration here, due to woody growth around the ponds (more than 1400 birds in the mid-1990s, 42 in 2014). We pointed out that WSDOT has the authority to restore open mudflats to the Fill by removing woody vegetation from around Main Pond and Shoveler's Pond, but they won't do it because they like riparian landscapes and their mitigation point system favors riparian habitat.

Perhaps we should have also emphasize that WSDOT has planned to destroy a *significant* amount of the prairies at the Fill. WSDOT's latest plan calls for planting "buffers" (i.e., shrubs) in nearly all of the prairie to the west of Main Pond. This is prime breeding habitat for Savannah Sparrows. It is also the best place to see Western Meadowlarks at the Fill. Other prairie-loving birds come here to. It is here that I have seen Vesper Sparrows in the past, Lapland Longspur, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Northern Shrike, American Pipit, and American Kestrel. This is also the place where the McCown's Longspur turned up once, though I missed it.

The prairie to the east of Main Pond will be planted with "buffers," too, significantly reducing the amount of open grasslands. This is another favored place for nesting Savannah Sparrows. It is also the place where I have seen Chestnut-collared Longspur, Eastern Kingbird, Western Kingbird, Say's Phoebe, American Kestrel, Northern Shrike, Short-eared Owl, Sage Thrasher, Horned Lark, and up to 60 American Pipits.

We have 1,680 signers of Seattle Audubon's petition to ask WSDOT, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the UW to change the mitigation plans so that they restore shorebird and prairie habitat to Montlake Fill. I am proud of our birding community that so many have stepped up to sign this petition. But I ask you now to do a little more to save this unique birding spot: if you haven't signed, please do; if you have signed, please ask at least 10 more people to sign. If everyone who signed could get 10 more supporters to sign, we could boost our numbers to nearly 17,000. - Connie, Seattle

constancesidles at gmail.com <mailto:constancesidles at gmail.com>
www.constancypress.com <http://www.constancypress.com/>




> On Mar 8, 2015, at 2:41 PM, Dennis Paulson <dennispaulson at comcast.net> wrote:

>

> Jane, thanks for the Fill-in.

>

> I assume some of you remember when the Union Bay Natural Area was still Montlake Fill and was the best place around Seattle for shorebirds. The open habitat consistently attracted migrants from eastern Washington, so Sagebrush Sparrows, Loggerhead Shrikes, and Lewis’s Woodpeckers were among the visitors that might turn up on a spring day, as well a variety of open-country migrants such as pipits and longspurs. Those days are no more, with the woody vegetation spreading and growing.

>

> It seems such a shame that a mitigation effort couldn’t very simply include opening up the south end of the Fill again to make the situation we all loved. Instead, more woody vegetation will be provided, turning what used to be an exciting birding spot more and more into a woodland. Woodlands are great, and trees are great, but can’t we preserve just a bit of open country in our urban milieu? Meadow and prairie habitat with scattered freshwater ponds is of tremendous value to wildlife and to nature-lovers, and we already don’t have enough of it. What a shame to be losing still more, as both the UBNA and Magnuson Park become more and more wooded.

>

> Dennis Paulson

> Seattle

>

> On Mar 8, 2015, at 12:00 PM, tweeters-request at mailman1.u.washington.edu <mailto:tweeters-request at mailman1.u.washington.edu> wrote:

>

>> Date: Sat, 07 Mar 2015 14:40:32 -0800

>> From: Jane Hadley <hadleyj1725 at gmail.com <mailto:hadleyj1725 at gmail.com>>

>> Subject: [Tweeters] Re: Fill Update

>> To: "Tweeters, Dear" <tweeters at u.washington.edu <mailto:tweeters at u.washington.edu>>

>>

>> Jeff Gibson asked for someone to provide "a brief synopsis" of the WOS

>> monthly meeting Monday night (March 2). The program was a presentation

>> by Seattle Audubon folks about how WSDOT (Washington State Department of

>> Transportation) and other government agencies plan to "mitigate"

>> wetlands damage from the construction of a new SR-520 bridge across Lake

>> Washington. The current plans call for mitigations in about 15

>> locations around the state, including the Montlake Fill. The

>> presentation Monday night concerned the plans for Montlake Fill, also

>> known as the Union Bay Natural Area.

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