Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Are fires pushing birds to new areas? New species spotted at Silver Creek

For the past nine years, a group of local volunteer birders have conducted bird counts at the Silver Creek Preserve.  These are some of the most interesting and consistent data we have at Silver Creek. Occasionally they see an unusual species- as was the case this weekend. A Northern Waterthrush was sighted along Stalker Creek, a first for Silver Creek as far as I know.  In addition to the usual list of suspects, a Peregrine falcon and a Sora were also seen. 
The birders, in this case Poo Wright-Pulliam, Kathleen Cameron, and Maria, think the possible reason for the density and diversity of birds this month at the preserve could be due to the fires and the drought in the area.  “The birds are more condensed, they are moving out of burned areas and areas that don’t have food to places that do.  They are relying more on gardens and places like Silver Creek than usual,” said Kathleen Cameron.  
 -Dayna Gross, Silver Creek Preserve Manager

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Restoring land for sage grouse, cattle and wildlife


Western juniper trees have been steadily encroaching on meadows and valleys in the greater Owyhee County area over the last 50 years, and in the last 10-15 years, it's been getting even more pronounced. As a result, juniper trees are consuming habitat that normally would be used by the greater sage-grouse, wildlife and cattle.

Ranchers, citizens, conservation and government groups are working together to tackle the issue. Collaboration, as they can attest, is key to making a difference in large landscapes such as the Owyhees.

The Owyhees' expansive and beautiful sage brush landscape provides habitat and forage for a variety of Idaho's wildlife and domestic species. For this reason it has drawn attention from a number of groups who want to restore the landscapes' native vegetation. 

In the series "Life on the Range" by Steve Stuebner, TNC Idaho's Art Talsma, spoke about the work being done now on the ground to remove juniper. Talsma works in the Owyhees, a stronghold for sage grouse. "Life on the Range" is sponsored by the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission. 

Check out the video here, and learn more about our work in the Owyhees.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

How's the fishing Silver Creek?

Dry fly fishing has been very productive from the preserve, top to bottom. The tricos are coming off strong in the morning around nine, then tapering off until about 10 or 10:30. Be armed for PMDs coming off throughout the day, and come with a variety of blue damselfly patterns. For those hot and windy days and just before sundown, certain hoppers can catch the attention of aggressively feeding fish. Late afternoon, baetis alongside PMDs have been showing up on a daily basis. Good luck! 
- Ham Wallace