Southwest - Region 5
 
Guy Norman

Regional Director

2108 Grand Boulevard
Vancouver, WA 98661

Office Hours: Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
excluding legal holidays

Telephone (360) 696-6211
Fax (360) 906-6776
TeamVancouver@dfw.wa.gov

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Southwest Washington Wildlife Reports Archives
March 2006

March 6, 2006

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Daren Hauswald, the new Wildlife Area Assistant Manager for the Shillapoo Wildlife Area.
Daren Hauswald has accepted the position of Wildlife Area Assistant Manager for the Shillapoo Wildlife Area.

Assistant Manager for Shillapoo Hired– Daren Hauswald has accepted the position of Wildlife Area Assistant Manager for the Shillapoo Wildlife Area. He will begin working later this month. Daren's duties will include implementation of the wildlife area plan, biological monitoring of both plant and animal response to management changes assisting with management of public use, and future planning. Daren has held several temporary jobs with the agency in the past including a period where he worked at Shillapoo (see attached image). We look forward to having Daren join the region's wildlife management team.

Shillapoo Waterfowl Use– Scientific technician Lauren Ridenour has been working with Wildlife Area Manager Calkins to monitor Waterfowl and sandhill crane use of selected sites in the North and South Units of the wildlife area. Use of these wetlands and fields has increased dramatically over the past month. On several occasions thousands of geese and ducks have been counted on individual fields. She is also encountering large numbers of sandhill cranes on a regular basis. Viewing: In order to keep them on the wildlife area, persons wanting to see these birds and other wildlife are asked to do their viewing from the parking areas and roadside locations where a vehicle can be safely moved to the shoulder. There are several locations that combined afford views of well over half of this part of the wildlife area.

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Mountian goat. Mountian goat.
Photos of a Mountain goat at Silver Star Mountain in Clark County taken by Camas residents, Don and Carol Kohl.

Watchable Wildlife: Hikers see goat at Silver Star– The front page of the Columbian reported a sighting of a Mt. goat at Silver Star Mtn in Clark Co. Biologist Holman has some nice quotes in the article. Wilson Cady also forwarded to us two photos taken by Camas residents, Don and Carol Kohler, on Feb. 26, 2006 of a Mountain Goat on Pyramid Rock on Silver Star Mountain. Thanks to all for their interest and for forwarding their reports. x View whole article [PDF format]

Western Pond Turtle Management– Biologist Anderson held a meeting to brainstorm, plan and organize the Columbia River Gorge portion of the 2006 western pond turtle program. The meeting was attended by Biologists Anderson, VanLeuven, Slavens (Kate), and Holman along with volunteers Frank Slavens and Americorps worker Leah Estep. This year's effort will include population monitoring and headstarting at the Sondino Ranch site, along with population monitoring at the Bergen Road and Pierce National Wildlife Refuge sites. Additionally, this summer will feature an increased effort to locate more western pond turtles on Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge where one individual was found in 2005.

March 13, 2006

REGION 5 WILDLIFE AREAS

Cowlitz Wildlife Area: Cowlitz Trout Hatchery Tree Planting– CWA staff utilizing a local reforestation crew planted 4800 trees and shrubs into 10 acres of wildlife area fields. The fields were planted with a variety of trees including red alder, black cottonwood, bitter cherry and Oregon Ash. Additionally several brush species were planted as well including snowberry, salmonberry, Pacific willow and red-osier dogwood. The hopes are that survival will be high and that the area can be returned to a mixed deciduous forest habitat with a forested wetland regime. In addition to the deciduous planting, 1100 conifer were planted to augment the existing visual barrier that borders the fields along the trout hatchery road.

Cowlitz Wildlife Area: Artificial Nest Box Annual Maintenance and Inventory– Habitat Technician Morris and Assistant Manager Vanderlip performed the annual inspection, maintenance and survey on the artificial cavity nest boxes. Use data was on average with previous years but mortality was higher. Several clutches were laid in Swofford Pond nest boxes but hatches were unsuccessful. Additionally Oxbow Lake, a usually heavy producer, had a starling problem. Also, predation had occurred in a large percentage of the boxes. Attrition and vandalism accounted for the loss of 8 boxes across the wildlife area. 2006 plans are to identify key areas in the Tilton River arm of Mayfield Lake and place several new boxes in those identified locations.

Cowlitz Wildlife Area: Weed Control Activities– Assistant Manager Vanderlip hand pulled approximately 250 scotch broom plants on the Swofford Pond unit of the wildlife area. The plants were located along Green Mountain Road near the outlet of Swofford Pond and on the recently acquired property adjacent to Blue Road (was Tacoma Power recreation lands). This is a small population and is targeted for eradication. The area will be monitored often and any plants observed will be pulled before they can set seed.

Recreation Information: Riffe Lake Water Levels– Tacoma Power updates lake levels and other recreation information on its toll-free Fishing and Recreation Line every weekday at 1-888-502-8690.

Elk mortality provides opportunity to collect detailed samples. Elk mortality provides opportunity to collect detailed samples.
Wildlife Biologist Miller and Wildlife Area Manager Calkins conducted a second elk winter mortality survey of the mudflow portion of the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area on March 8th with help from Toutle High School students.

Mt. St. Helens Elk Winter Mortality Survey– Wildlife Biologist Miller and Wildlife Area Manager Calkins conducted a second elk winter mortality survey of the mudflow portion of the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area on March 8th. About twenty volunteers helped with the survey by systematically walking sections of the wildlife area in search of elk that had died on the site. This included students from Toutle High School that have been helping with the effort throughout the winter. A total of 20 new mortalities were found bringing this winter's total to 25 for the site. This total is consistent with what should be expected considering the conditions this winter and the high number of elk that have been seen using the site. The effort was covered by the Longview Daily News in a story that was published on March 10th.

One of the elk that had died was fresh enough to offer the opportunity to collect more detailed samples through a Necropsy. Miller preformed the procedure with the help of three of the students and their instructor. Samples were collected from the lungs, heart, intestine, liver and muscle tissues and one leg for lab analysis. Pat did an outstanding job of explaining the process he was following and how winter stress effects the animals ability to survive. This will undoubtedly be an experience the students will remember for many years as part of their education.

GAME DIVISION

Region 5 Deer Management– The annual Spring survey of black-tailed deer on and near the Klickitat Wildlife Area was conducted on the 7th and 8th of March. Biologists Anderson and Holman, Klickitat Wildlife Area Manager Ellenburg, Fisheries Biologist Gray, and Department of Natural Resources WCC Crew Leader Matt Adams conducted the survey. A total of 476 deer were observed during the effort with 450 classified. The number of classified deer was similar to the 15-year average of 559 deer.

GMU 588 Spring Deer Survey Summary 1980-2006

Klickitat Wildlife Area Spring Deer Survey
GMU 588 Deer Harvest
  Does Bucks Total F:A KWA
1992 156 810 966 0.42
1993 83 497 580 0.13
1994 242 339 581 0.34
1995 55 737 792 0.56
1996 125 725 850 0.42
1997 87 530 617 0.18
1998 83 809 892 0.47
1999 127 955 1082 0.58
2000 183 1180 1363 0.46
2001 139 982 1121 0.54
2002 200 749 949 0.52
2003 171 525 696 0.52
2004 107 799 906 0.52
2005       0.60
2006       0.66

GMU 588 Spring Deer Survey Summary 1980-2006
Click to Enlarge

More significant than the total number of deer observed, however, is the annual ratio of fawns to adults. Young deer are more likely to succumb to harsh winter conditions and food shortages, therefore the ratio provides a barometer for winter severity. During severe winters, fawns suffer mortality at a greater rate than adults thereby reducing the ratio of fawns to adults.

This year's survey resulted in a ratio of 66 fawns per 100 adult deer. Reflective of the latest in a series of mild Klickitat County winters, 66 fawns per 100 adults represents the second-highest ratio observed in the 27-year history of the survey and is significantly higher than the long-term average of 47 to 100. The 2006 survey indicates, that the deer present on or near the Klickitat Wildlife Area suffered little in the way of winter losses during 2005/06. Please see the attached figure illustrating the fawn to adult ratio recorded on the annual Spring Survey during the past 27 years and the number of deer classified during the past 15 years. Thanks to all those that participated in the annual spring survey.

March 20, 2006

DIVERSITY DIVISION

The Oregon Zoo pygmy rabbit enclosure. The Oregon Zoo pygmy rabbit enclosure.
The Oregon Zoo pygmy rabbit enclosure.

Pygmy Rabbit Artificial Propagation– Biologist Sue VanLeuvan has been doing work for the pygmy rabbit restoration program. She reports that this week she finished screening the gable end of the Oregon Zoo pygmy rabbit enclosure that has double doors at one end. There is no more major work to do there. The only work remaining is to caulk the empty screw holes in the roof, but the weather has not been agreeable for that. We assume that she is done there for the time being.


Male Rufuos hummingbird.
The first sighting of a male rufous hummingbird was made near Centralia.
Small winter elk group.
Small winter elk group.

Peregrine Falcon– District Biologist Anderson and Wildlife Biologist Woodin attended WDFW's Peregrine Falcon 2006 survey meeting for Western Washington. This years' survey is the second of five surveys that will be conducted on known and potential Peregrine Falcon nesting territories. These surveys occur every three years, and are intended to monitor falcon populations since they were de-listed from Federal Endangered Status in 1999.

Surveys will be conducted at all known nesting sites. Observers will be watching for courtship behaviors like food exchanges between adult peregrines and attempting to located nesting sites. If possible, visits later in the year will be made to attempt to determine if young have been produced.

Watchable Wildlife– The first sighting of a male rufous hummingbird was made near Centralia on Monday, March 13th. Males arrive earlier than females and are typically coincident with the blooming of the native shrub, Indian plum, and the first salmonberry blooms.

GAME DIVISION

Winter Elk Survey– Wildlife Biologist Woodin participated in a winter elk survey of the Upper Cowlitz River Valley. The survey was being conducted by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians as part of their research on elk in the area. The Cowlitz valley from Randle upstream through Packwood is an important wintering area for elk.


Cackling Canada Geese
One group of approximately 2,000 Cackling Canada Geese were seen near the Chehalis Airport recently.

Watchable Wildlife– Flocks of geese have been seen heading north the past weeks. One group of approximately 2,000 Cackling Canada Geese were seen near the Chehalis Airport recently. See them in a pasture with cows and moving northward in the photos to the right.

March 27, 2006

DIVERSITY DIVISION

Bald Eagle Management– Bald eagles are confirmed to have returned to the majority of their nesting territories in District 9. The recovery of eagles represents a tremendous wildlife management success, with the eagles now occupying large amounts of their historic range, especially in Western Washington. The occupation of shoreline areas by eagles puts them at odds with both residential and industrial development proposals. Biologist Holman is currently in the midst of four proposals immediately adjacent to bald eagle nesting territories that would potentially result in the construction of several dozen homes and new Port facilities.

Bald Eagle Survey– Wildlife Biologist Woodin assisted with a survey of Bald Eagle Territories along Washington's Lower Columbia River from the mouth to Vancouver. This annual survey is done by Frank Isaacs for the Army corps Of Engineers and it gives us an opportunity to monitor local conditions around some Washington nest sites. Observers were looking for adult bald eagles tending nests. See photo to the right for an example of what they hoped to find.

Bald Eagle on nest.
Bald Eagle on nest.

Of the 48 known territories surveyed 28 had birds present on the nest in "incubating" posture. An additional 8 territories had adults perched near their nests giving a high likelihood they will soon be incubating eggs, also. The remaining 12 territories had either unrepaired nests or no nest was found.

This year's survey saw had a bit higher number of missing nests, most likely due to the several high wind storms this winter. A second survey will be flown in June to determine nesting success of these territories.

Columbian white-tailed Deer Capture– Biologist Miller reports that WDFW, ODFW, USFWS and volunteers had a very successful relocation of Columbian white-tailed deer this weekend. There were no mortalities during this project and all the deer looked really good in comparison to the 2004 effort. Our hard work and planning really paid dividends.

Region 5 is very thankful for the assistance of Scott McCorquodale, Bryan Murphie and Greg Schirato in helping direct crews at the he capture site. We moved a total of 25 deer to 3 islands in the Columbia River near Longview. We will provide details in future weekly reports with pictures of the process.