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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Birds 
Thread started 09 Mar 2017 (Thursday) 16:26
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One last Leque Island owl...

 
squirl033
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Mar 09, 2017 16:26 |  #1

The location where this was taken will be undergoing major changes this year and next, and it's questionable whether the owls will return next winter. The state department of fish and wildlife, which manages the site, has elected to breach the levees that keep this meadow relatively dry, and allow it to return to a tidal salt marsh. The levees were built in the 1930s and have been leaking and slowly failing for the last 10 years or so, and the state has apparently decided it's cheaper to breach them and let the meadow flood than to repair the levees and preserve this habitat. The local tribes have supported the idea, claiming the change will help local salmon (the "salmon card" trumps everything else, it seems), though I don't know of any salmon species that lives or spawns in salt marshes... In any case, the state plans to bring in heavy equipment this summer to dig some "tidal channels"; in the process, the habitat for the meadow voles which the owls feed on will be severely damaged or destroyed. As a result, the owls may only return in limited numbers next winter, or they may not bother at all. The summer after this one - 2018 - the WDFW will breach the levees, and the entire area will be flooded at high tide, exposing only mud flats and salt water vegetation at low tide. Safe bet the owls will not return at all after that. With those changes in mind, here's one last portrait of one of the Leque Island short-eared owls...

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txcanon
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Mar 10, 2017 01:21 |  #2

Excellent shot and beautiful Owl Rocky! Hope everything works out for the good.


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dm1215al
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Mar 10, 2017 03:47 |  #3

Nice photo Rocky and thanks for posting the story with it.




  
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Wallace ­ River
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Mar 11, 2017 06:09 |  #4

That's a beaut Rocky. Perfect light!


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Lycomech96
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Mar 12, 2017 22:51 |  #5

squirl033 wrote in post #18296683 (external link)
The location where this was taken will be undergoing major changes this year and next, and it's questionable whether the owls will return next winter. The state department of fish and wildlife, which manages the site, has elected to breach the levees that keep this meadow relatively dry, and allow it to return to a tidal salt marsh. The levees were built in the 1930s and have been leaking and slowly failing for the last 10 years or so, and the state has apparently decided it's cheaper to breach them and let the meadow flood than to repair the levees and preserve this habitat. The local tribes have supported the idea, claiming the change will help local salmon (the "salmon card" trumps everything else, it seems), though I don't know of any salmon species that lives or spawns in salt marshes... In any case, the state plans to bring in heavy equipment this summer to dig some "tidal channels"; in the process, the habitat for the meadow voles which the owls feed on will be severely damaged or destroyed. As a result, the owls may only return in limited numbers next winter, or they may not bother at all. The summer after this one - 2018 - the WDFW will breach the levees, and the entire area will be flooded at high tide, exposing only mud flats and salt water vegetation at low tide. Safe bet the owls will not return at all after that. With those changes in mind, here's one last portrait of one of the Leque Island short-eared owls...

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IMAGE LINK: http://s812.photobucke​t.com …6783%20vert%20s​m.jpg.html  (external link)

the Audubon Society or Sierra Club ought to file a class action lawsuit. Is it on this list? http://rainforests.mon​gabay.com …ed/charts/birds​-owls.html (external link)




  
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Beekeeper
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Mar 12, 2017 23:16 as a reply to  @ Lycomech96's post |  #6

Short-eared owls and Northern harriers aren't uncommon, and both prefer to hunt open grassy/marshy areas. In this case with the tides there won't be any voles for the owls, but this sounds like it will turn into good shorebird habitat--something we are losing all the time.


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SJC ­ from ­ VT
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Mar 13, 2017 09:34 |  #7

Beautiful photo, and quite the story too! Hopefully everything works out in this situation.


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ardeekay
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Mar 13, 2017 18:21 |  #8

Print, hang and have the memories, Rocky. :-(


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squirl033
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Mar 14, 2017 00:45 as a reply to  @ ardeekay's post |  #9

Thanks, everyone! I suspect in the end, all will work out okay. The owls will simply move a bit north, and the salt marsh will eventually attract shorebirds, though there won't be much of any way to watch or photograph them unless from a kayak. The biggest "loss" in this whole thing is that people will no longer be able to view and photograph these owls in such a convenient and accessible location -which may not be a bad thing. It was getting pretty crowded there this winter, though at least some of that was due to the fact that folks knew they might not have another chance to see the owls there again... Meanwhile, I have several years' worth of images, so it's not like I've missed out. And I'll likely be moving out of this area this summer anyway, so whatever happens to this location won't really matter to me one way or the other.


Rocky ~
"Out where the rivers like to run, I stand alone, and take back something worth remembering..."
~ Three Dog Night
www.northwestnaturalim​agery.com (external link)

  
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CaptBob
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Mar 14, 2017 12:07 |  #10

nice one Rocky


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One last Leque Island owl...
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