Little Willamette Bird Walk **FULL – Waitlist Available**

This event is full, please contact Matt Benotsch for the waitlist, mbenotsch@greenbeltlandtrust.org

Join Greenbelt Land Trust and our 2020 Volunteer of the Year, Paul Adamus, for a bird walk and tour of Little Willamette, a 199 acre property protected with a conservation easement in 2009, located in the floodplain of the Willamette River between Corvallis and Albany in Linn County.

 

Ten years of floodplain forest and prairie restoration by Greenbelt at Little Willamette has resulted in a more diverse and productive landscape for birds and other wildlife. Paul has been monitoring birds at Little Willamette and our other Willamette River floodplain restoration sites to document their numbers and use of different habitats and will share his expertise and observations as we bird the property.

 

No birding experience or bird knowledge necessary! We will tour at a leisurely pace, covering a few miles over a few hours, including over some possibly soggy and uneven terrain. Dress for the weather, and bring snacks and water.

 

Group size is limited and masks are required, but may not need to be worn the whole time as we spread out on the property.

 

This event is FULL, to be placed on the waitlist please contact Outreach Manager Matt Benotsch, mbenotsch@greenbeltlandtrust.org

 

Egg Hunt

Western pond turtle at Harkens Lake.

Naturalist Lisa Millbank has been working for Greenbelt this summer conducting nest surveys for Western pond turtles. These shy creatures of wetlands, sloughs, streams and ponds are on the decline and Greenbelt is among the many organizations in Oregon and Washington working to identify and restore the habitat they need to make a comeback. We asked Lisa to share some of her knowledge about the turtles and her experience searching for their nests.

Egg Hunt

Life’s not easy for western pond turtle eggs and hatchlings.  Female turtles dig nests into sandy or gravelly soil, but turtle eggs are a feast for striped skunks, coyotes, raccoons and other native predators capable of sniffing out and digging up the nests.  When the quarter-sized hatchlings emerge from the surviving nests, they must evade more predators like otters, herons and mink.

Western pond turtles evolved alongside these native predators, but now they contend with an array of new problems.  Bullfrogs and bass are introduced predators that eat young turtles.  Western pond turtles must compete with introduced red-eared sliders from the southeastern US.  As they walk slowly over land to disperse to new places or to find nesting sites, they are killed by cars.  Agricultural practices can destroy nests or eliminate nesting habitat, and dense stands of invasive plants can smother the sunny, open places turtles need for nesting.

And as if those problems weren’t enough, recently, a novel fungal pathogen was isolated from ulcerative lesions on western pond turtles’ shells.  Western pond turtle populations have disappeared entirely from many sites and have declined overall, and the species is now considered critically sensitive by the Oregon Natural Heritage Program. In Washington, they are listed as endangered, with only six remaining populations.

Greenbelt Land Trust has three properties with known populations of western pond turtles:  Little Willamette, Harkens Lake and Horseshoe Lake.  All three sites have undergone nest monitoring for three years so that nesting sites can be identified, preserved, enhanced or created.  More than 60 nests have been identified, most of which had been dug up by predators.  The broken eggshells left behind can be used to identify the turtle species, so the number of native western pond turtle nests vs. introduced red-eared slider nests can be estimated.  Our other imperiled native turtle species, the western painted turtle, hasn’t been found at these sites.

 

In the 3-year monitoring period, about 75% of the identifiable nests were western pond turtle nests.  There are quite a few nests that can’t be identified, either because the nest is intact, (we don’t dig up the eggs to identify them) or the predator that dug up the nest didn’t leave any eggshells.  We don’t know for sure, but it may be that coyotes are the ones who gobble down eggs, shell and all, so that no identifiable shell pieces remain.

 

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Bonneville Power Administration have promoted and funded restoration and protection of nesting habitat, as well as a captive rearing program at the Oregon Zoo which has had success rearing and releasing turtles into suitable protected habitat.  Turtle nest monitoring on Greenbelt properties provides some of the information we need to plan for enhancing specific areas of turtle nesting habitat, and we are beginning to plan for this process.

Lisa Millbank, July, 2020

 

Want to learn more, and find out how you can help? The Oregon Native Turtle Working Group  would love to hear from you!

Members Wildflower Walk and Picnic

 

 

 

 

 

Calling all Greenbelt members! You are invited to this special members-only walk with us as we explore Little Willamette, a privately-owned conservation area stewarded by Greenbelt Land Trust near the Willamette River in Albany. This site has an abundance of spring wildflowers, ponds, and wildlife. We’ll walk through prairies and oak woodlands and enjoy a brown bag picnic at sunset.

GLT Restoration Manager and resident plant expert, Matt Blakeley-Smith, will help identify native wildflowers while sharing information about GLT’s efforts to restore native habitats and species on the property. This walk is a rare opportunity to walk a conservation area that most folks don’t get to see!

This was is part of a series of ‘Members-Only’ outings … just one of the many incentives to become and renew your membership. If you are not a member, simply become one and you are eligible for these fun events! Become a member HERE.

Turtle Walk at Little Willamette **FILLED**

This walk has filled. To reserve a spot on the waitlist, please email Rebecca.

Join us on a walk at the Little Willamette conservation area as we search for Western pond and Western painted turtles.  Both turtles are listed as “critical” on Oregon’s sensitive species list. As we explore various habitats near the Willamette River, Greenbelt’s Restoration Manager, Matt Blakeley-Smith, will talk about turtles and Greenbelt’s habitat restoration efforts to protect these reptiles and other wildlife.

Little Willamette is a beautiful 200-acre conservation area that is privately owned. Together with the landowner and funders, Greenbelt Land
Trust actively stewards this land in Albany. This walk is kid- and family-friendly, and is a rare opportunity to walk a conservation area that most folks don’t get to see!

For more information or to RSVP, please email Rebecca.

Wildflower Walk & Picnic **FILLED**

*This event is currently full. To add your name to the wait-list, please email Rebecca. You’ll be contacted immediately should a spot open up.

Come explore Little Willamette, a privately-owned conservation area stewarded by Greenbelt Land Trust near the Willamette River in Albany. This site has an abundance of spring wildflowers, ponds, and wildlife.  We’ll walk through prairies and oak woodlands and enjoy a brown bag picnic at sunset.

GLT Restoration Manager and resident plant expert, Matt Blakeley-Smith, will help identify native wildflowers while sharing information about GLT’s efforts to restore native habitats on the property. This walk is a rare opportunity to walk a conservation area that most folks don’t get to see!

For more information or to RSVP for this free, family-friendly event, email Rebecca.

This event is brought to you by Greenbelt Land Trust and the Corvallis Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Oregon.