[birding] Still just Killdeer & herons at Toketie Marsh, meadow knapweed going berserk

Joel Geier clearwater at peak.org
Sat Jul 28 17:14:26 PDT 2007

Hi All,

Good to see a few shorebird reports at least. I stopped by Toketie Marsh
(remedial wetland for Coffin Butte Landfill) on my way back from town
today. A KILLDEER was the only shorebird in sight. I did see a GREEN
HERON and probably a second (unless the first one snuck around to a
different location), and an immature GREAT BLUE HERON that has been
around. Also a juvenile SONG SPARROW was hopping around behind its
parent by the recycling bins, making begging sounds, fun to watch.

Our nesting VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS disappeared sometime in the last week
or so. I guess I haven't been paying attention, since I just realized
this when I saw a big flock of 300+ along the wires on the back side of
Coffin Butte yesterday. LAZULI BUNTINGS also seem to have disappeared
but BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS are still around and I saw a fly-by RUFOUS
HUMMINGBIRD female yesterday.

The last part of this is about invasive weeds, not birds so please
delete if not interested:

MEADOW KNAPWEED has been going nuts out here. This is a non-native,
invasive species, which seems to be especially thick around the Camp
Adair area. If you drive/bike along Tampico Rd. or Rifle Range Rd., all
those pretty purple flowers in the ditches and spreading out into the
adjoining fields are Meadow Knapweed (scientific name is Centaurea
something-or-other). You can also see it along Hwy 99W in front of Adair
Village, and in some parts of E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area.

There is so much this year, I called the county roads department
yesterday and was on the phone with their weeds person Laurie Starha for
about 15 minutes, a good conversation but sort of discouraging. It turns
out that they are very aware of the problem but they are lacking in
resources to deal with it, because of the county funding crisis. 

They have been working with some OSU folks on a biocontrol idea for the
past couple of years, but it doesn't seem to be effective. General
roadside spraying with herbicides is out because some of the same areas
that have infestations also may have threatened/endangered native
plants, and their inventory for the Habitat Conservation Plan is not yet
complete. They don't have enough money for spot-spraying crews. Hand-
pulling is a possibility but they don't have access to convict labor
crews until mid-August (by which time it will all go to seed), and they
don't have funds for volunteer organizing.

I would go out and pull some myself but I am too swamped to do anything
for the next half week at least. I did ask them to keep me in the loop
for next year. If anyone else is interested in helping on this problem,
please let me know. I think 50 or so volunteers working for a day or two
could do a lot to contain this "beautiful menace" to native habitats,
but it needs to happen before the plants go to seed.

It sounds like this weed is also popping up in other parts of the
county, but Camp Adair is the worst area by far. From what I've seen,
this has potential to be one of our worst invasive weed threats.


Joel Geier
Camp Adair area north of Corvallis

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