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Remember to get out there to the wetlands and take some pics for the photo contest

PHOTO SUBMITTED BY RON HALVORSON
 - Volunteers take time to pull weeds at the wetlands.

It's been a busy and exciting spring at the Wetlands, especially for the birders. Migrating birds stopped by to feed in the rich waters of the various ponds with mid-May producing the highest numbers. Some of those visitors were quite unusual.

On May 7, two RED KNOTS were found feeding with Long-billed Dowitchers. This is only the second time this species has been noted in Crook County with the first record from the 1980s. They stayed for several days and were seen by many visiting birders.

Ten days later, we were very surprised to find a LITTLE GULL at the Wetlands, the first record in Central Oregon. Normally found in Europe and Asia, it's the smallest gull in the world, measuring only about a foot in length. Unfortunately, it stayed for just a few hours and was only seen by a few people.

You can see photos of the Red Knots, Little Gull, and more than 40 other rare birds that have found their way to the complex by going to the Wetlands website at www.cityofprineville.com/wetlands and clicking on the bird tab at the bottom of the page. To date, 196 species of birds have been recorded since the Wetlands were completed in 2017.

The boy scouts' efforts have borne birds, as the nest platform nearest Kiosk G actually has a pair of OSPREY! Nesting material is on the platform and at least one bird was observed with a fish. Additionally, at least one of the Mallard "hen houses" has a momma duck, a first for this project as well.

People are increasingly aware of the Wetlands and are finding this a perfect place for ORGANIZED ACTIVITIES. Along with guided cart tours (mostly small parties of birders) there are an increasing number of larger birding groups, such as the East Cascades Audubon's "Wednesday birders" and a group from Crooked River Ranch. The Crooked River Weed Management Area held a weed workshop for the public at the pavilion, and many elementary classes from our school system have adopted the area as an outdoor learning lab.

Our WETLAND WALK birding series has been quite successful with participation levels exceeding our expectations. On two of our early walks, more than 40 people took advantage of the free guided tour provided by the Crooked River Wetlands volunteers and the Prineville Bird Club. Numbers have calmed down since then and hover around a more manageable 15-20 people. Open to the public, our walks will continue on the first and third Saturdays of each month through September when we will cut back to once per month for the cold months. We meet at the complex parking lot at 7:45 a.m. and are usually done by 10 a.m. We have loaner binoculars and a golf cart for those with limited mobility. Email Chuck Gates at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like to join us.

The Wetlands will also serve as a venue for the ARRL FIELD DAY over the weekend of June 25-26. This is an annual event put on by the American Radio Relay League, an association for amateur radio operators. The event is touted as "ham radio's open house" where operators' skill and community service are highlighted as they compete to see who can contact as many stations as possible under all sorts of conditions. I got a headache as I tried to understand some of the technical details, but it should be fun to watch as they set up and operate in the pavilion. 10-4 good buddy.

Finally, it's been a literal beehive of activity in the NATIVE POLLINATOR CORNER by Kiosk G. The trees planted in April are flourishing, thanks to TLC on the part of volunteers, the plantings between the path and pond 9, known as the DLT/Student Garden, hosted a volunteer weeding party, and the Bee Garden has been lovingly nurtured and expanded. Additionally, all the gardens were hardscaped, a fancy word for throwing some boulders around to make the area look nice, thanks to the city crew. And in recognition of our drought conditions, volunteers will soon reduce the size of the DLT/Student garden's footprint a bit to conserve water needed for irrigation.

Remember to get out there and take some pics for the ANNUAL PHOTO CONTEST. Even though water levels are down, there should be plenty of photo ops. Questions? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

See you in the tules!


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