The 100-Acre Wood Wildlife Habitat

 

 

Whose homes will be bulldozed ??

to make room for invasive high-rise apartments & luxury condos?

 

 

Owl is just one creature in the 100-Acre Wood who will topple with our city’s largest remaining, ecologically and geographically diverse second-growth forest and critical wetlands habitat, if it is felled by “Fairhaven Highlands.” This massive, invasive, publicly subsidized, irresponsibly situated, multi-family, planned residential development, if permitted, will be the biggest such development in Bellingham history. The impacts it will have on the surrounding neighborhoods and all life that shares this space will be devastating.

 

This lowland forest ecosystem is unique because of its large size, its undeveloped rural nature, and the variety and quantity of rare local species of animals and plants that live here.  This biotic richness is a reflection of several different healthy habitat zones that connect with a large area of protected habitat farther south in the Chuckanut Mountains.  These creatures are not only wonders to watch, they are unique because their presence here reflects the health of the recovering forest, nearby salmon-spawning streams, freshwater vernal pools, a large beaver pond & other public resources.

 

 

 

The 100-Acre Wood’s proximity to Fairhaven Park & Interurban Trail also provides countless opportunities for local school children to observe these creatures and their natural habitats without leaving their own neighborhood. Cradled in the heart of our public Greenways park & trail system, the 100-Acre Wood is the last undeveloped place of its kind in the city. It provides a back-up habitat for the Post Point Heron Colony, which is already threatened by development in the adjacent Edgemoore Neighborhood. The 100-Acre Wood as it stands serves as an effective, productive wildlife corridor through south Bellingham for all the creatures whose habitats are rapidly being chopped into bits, buried by paved highways, and covered over by unsightly & unnecessary subdivisions.  “Infill” could more appropriately be located in the already developed urban areas within our city.

       

Isn’t the 100-Acre Wood the type of unspoiled neighborhood

habitat you want to protect in your city?

 

Information from various local, state & federal sources compiled by Responsible Development!


 

Photo souce: www.vernalpool.org/inf_fs.htm

Freshwater Fairy Shrimp (Branchinecta packardi, Branchinecta lynchi, or another unique sub-species; identification pending): Small (about 1 inch) crustaceans which spend their entire lives (a few weeks) in a vernal pool. Eggs hatch in late winter/early spring and adults may be observed in pools in the spring. The presence of fairy shrimp indicates that a water body is a vernal pool. Vernal pool fairy shrimp are threatened by continued human efforts to drain and fill vernal pool watersheds for development purposes. Storm-water run-off containing pesticides, chemical residues and other contaminants are already impacting what’s left of the fairy shrimp here in Bellingham.

 

“Why should we be concerned about a crustacean that is less than 2.5 inches long, and will never be abundant enough to serve on the top of a pizza? … freshwater shrimp occupy a role as detritus feeders that no other stream animal could fill. When you rip an important strand out of a food web, there’s no way to know how much damage will be done. The shrimp’s presence, or absence, can also tell us a lot about the streams. Flowing water is their home, and they are mute witnesses to the condition and history of the streams they inhabit. Continually bathed by the water, they must face whatever flows toward them. Pollution, siltation, introduced species, and other factors will all affect them to some extent. If they disappear, we can be sure that something detrimental has happened to the stream.  We will have lost much more than just the shrimp. ”

--Larry Serpa, Area Ecologist, The Nature Conservancy

Quote Source: www.frankmgreco.com/endangeredshrimp.htm

Quoted Article: The California Shrimp: A ghost-like crustacean we can’t afford to lose

 

Vernal Pool Ecosystem: A temporary wetlands-area pool formed by fall and winter rains that hold the water in land depressions until late spring or early summer, when it dries up. The wetlands hold water long enough to allow some aquatic organisms to flourish, but not long enough for the development of a typical pond or marsh. The resulting winter-wet/summer-dry conditions result in the creation of the specialized, rare, unique variety of plant life observed in the 100-Acre Wood. To survive in a vernal pool, a species must be able to either tolerate a wide range of moisture conditions or grow and reproduce within a short window of favorable conditions. Vernal pools here are seasonal and contain only plants and small animals that have adapted to this unique Northwest Washington environment.

 

“… by far, the most important thing we can do is to ensure that vernal pool tadpole shrimp have enough suitable habitat to be able to continue to hatch, mate and reproduce for the next million years. Then, hopefully, like us, future generations will also have the chance to marvel at this remarkable animal. As a child once responded when asked why we should save endangered species: ‘Because we can’. ”

--Bradley Goettle, Biologist, Endangered Species Division of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento, Calif.

Quote Source: http;//www.frankmgreco.com/endangeredshrimp.htm

Quoted Article: A Living Fossi in the San Francisco Bay Areal


OTHER FELLOW CREATURES

WHOSE 100-ACRE WOODS HOMES ARE THREATENED

BY INVASIVE INTERURBAN SPRAWL:

 

Barred Owl (Strix varia): Also known as the Hoot Owl, a medium-size, long-tailed grey-brown bird of prey streaked with white horizontal barring on its chest and vertical barring on its belly. It has a round head with a whitish/brown facial disk with dark brown trim, brown eyes and a yellow beak. It lives in moist forests, wooded swamps and woodlands near waterways. It can live up to 10 years in the wild if it is not killed by human hunters or drivers. It has been known to swoop down on Interurban Trail users who venture near its nesting areas.

 

Western Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum): A four-legged amphibian with long slender toes, a dull greenish-yellow back stripe & head flecks, and a dark brown belly. It lives in moist evergreen forests and is usually seen under logs or debris near pools. As observed with fairy shrimp in this vernal pool ecosystem, this salamander indicates the unique, significant wetlands fauna particular to the 100-Acre Wood.

 

Coyote (Canis latrans): Also known as the Desert Wolf, a four-legged mammal recognized by its thick bushy tail, long pointy nose, and pointy ears. About the size of a German Shepherd dog but slimmer boned and half the weight, it weighs an average of 31 pounds. It uses ravines and other natural corridors here to travel between Bellingham and the Chuckanuts and helps keep many small mammal populations -- such as mice & rabbits -- in check. If populations of these small mammals were allowed to become too large, habitat degradation would result. Coyotes live up to 10 years in the wild.

 

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus): A 3-foot-high bird of prey with a 7-foot wingspan. Adults age 4 to 5 years are identified by their white head and tail, solid brown body, and large, curved, yellow bill. Juveniles have blotchy patches of white on their underside and tail. It lives & nests in the 100-Acre Wood and other forests near coastlines, rivers and streams. It can live up to 30 years in the wild and is listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened in all but three of the lower 48 states.

Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus): A four-legged mammal found only along the coastal mountain region. It is considered by many experts to be a sub-species of and is smaller than the Mule Deer. It is called Black-tailed Deer because the bottom two thirds of its tail is black. It has a reddish grey-brown coat (with black hairs interspersed in winter). Its underbelly, chin, & neck patch are white. The brownish color camouflages the deer in the fern-filled forest and field edges, where it lives. Neighbors often view this deer grazing their gardens & landscaped areas.

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus): A 15 inch high bird of prey with a 40 inch wingspan.  Adults are primarily grey and white with a distinctive facial mask. A rare local falcon of coast, mountains and woodlands;  nests in nearby cliffs.  Know to occur in the area and visit the one hundred acre wood.  Listed as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus): A four-legged mammal with a coat that is tan-brown in summer and grey-brown in winter. It is white on its throat, eye & nose areas, belly and underside of its tail. It lives in wooded areas and follows well-used trails to its feeding areas. Its home range is typically less than one square mile. In developed areas, it is vulnerable to being struck by cars when it crosses roads in search of food and water during dawn & dusk hours.

Great Blue Heron (Arde herodias): A large (approximately 4-foot-tall) blue-gray bird that lives in and around our salt- and fresh-water environments along coastal waterways. It has a black stripe above each eye that extends as a plume to the back of its neck. It has a long, large yellow bill, long legs and gray-red thighs. It weighs up to 8 pounds and has a wingspan of up to 6 feet. It lives in colonies – such as the Post Point Heron Colony in the Edgemoor neighborhood -- with active nest sites in tree tops, rock ledges & sea cliffs. It is sensitive to the effects of human disturbances and prefers areas isolated from human activity, in this area often seeking refuge in the 100-Acre Wood. Because of this sensitivity, most die in their first year (Hancock & Kushlan, 1984). The oldest known wild Great Blue Heron lived 23 years.

Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki): Like a rainbow trout, it is a fish with an anadromous (ocean migrating) form. Cutthroat trout are often found in forested, salmon-spawning streams. They have a blunt head and black spots that spread from their head and body to their fins. They have a long jaw with reddish yellow streaks on its underside. They are up to 30 inches long and spawn from February through May. This fish has been reported in local ponds, although development-related degradation of the California and Hoag’s Creek feeder streams has significantly reduced its numbers in the 100-Acre Wood ecosystem.

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis): The largest member of the hawk family. A broad-winged, broad-tailed soaring raptor that is easily identifiable because of its reddish tail and habit of circling high in the air or perching in dead trees or on roadside telephone poles throughout the 100-Acre Wood. It weighs up to 4 pounds with a wing span of up to 56 inches. The adult has a dark brown back and wing top. Its underside is usually light with a dark belly band and a cinnamon-color wash on its neck & chest. It has a strong, hooked beak; feet with three toes pointed forward and one turned back; and long, sharp, curved talons. It lives in grasslands, marshy areas and forests. As a raptor, it is protected by state & federal laws in California.

Western Grey Squirrel (Sciurus griseus): Also known as the California Grey Squirrel, the only large grey tree (arboreal) squirrel that lives in forests on the West Coast. It has a white belly and a grey back sprinkled with white-tipped hairs. It has a long bushy tail with bands of grey, white and black. It eats pine cones, acorns and other nuts, some fungi, berries and insects. In the summer, it uses round twig and leaf nests (dreys) built in treetops. In the winter, it uses dens in hollow trees. It lives up to 8 years in the wild. Several South neighborhood residents have named a pair of these squirrels they see on their walks along the Interurban Trail, near the entrance to the Chuckanut Ridge Trail off 24th Street.


Mallard Duck (Anas platyrhynchos): The most common duck in North America. Males have gray-brown feathers, a green colored head, a purple breast and are up to 28 inches long. Females are only brown and white and are smaller. They nest in wetlands areas under boulders, in tree holes, in the crotch of trees, or in open areas. They are omnivores and are known as “dabbling ducks” who usually feed at the surface of the water and don't dive all the way under, but just tip their heads under to feed. Most live in the wild for only one or two years. Many are killed by oil spills and pesticides. Mated pairs such as these are seen throughout the ponds and wetlands in the 100-Acre Wood.

Mountain Beaver (Aplodontia rufa): Not a true beaver; a little-known rodent which occupies a unique taxonomic and ecological niche. It lives underground in burrows and is seldom seen above ground in limited tracts of wetlands along the West Coast. It is a large gopher or tailless muskrat, a herbivore that eats many types of succulent vegetation (such as nettle, bracken fern & salal) that are often inedible to other species. It lives in areas with dense understory vegetation, such as coniferous forests or coastal scrub. There are seven recognized subspecies of mountain beaver, one of which is a federally-listed endangered species. Signs of this rodent were reported in this area in the spring of 2001, but no recent sightings have been confirmed. An increase in the number of domestic dogs in the area has been attributed to this creature’s decline here.

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) One of the largest woodpeckers in North America. It is approximately 15 inches long with a black body, red crest and white stripes on its neck. It lives in coniferous and deciduous forests, nesting in tree cavities. Using its sharp bill to pull off tree bark to expose insects, it pokes its long tongue into holes and drags out carpenter ants & beetle larvae to eat. People walking through the 100-Acre

Wood often hear it “drumming” on trees as it claims its territory.

 

 

OTHER BIRDS IN THE 100-ACRE WOOD

As in the Whatcom & Skagit County portions of the Chuckanut Mountains, there are an estimated 85 bird species – including many wetland-associated birds and song birds -- that share the 100-Acre Wood habitat within the city. Other species local bird watchers have identified here:

 

Herrons & Bitterns

Green-backed Heron (Butorides striatus)

 

Waterfowl

Canada Goose (Branta Canadensis)

 

Vultures, Hawks, Eagles & Falcons

Sharp-skinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)

American kestrel (Falco columbarius)

Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)

 

Grouse, Quail & Their Relations

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasiantus colchicus)

California Quail (Callipepla californica)

Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus)

 

Shorebirds

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferous)

Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

 


OTHER BIRDS (con’t)

 

 

Gulls

Bonapart’s gull (Larus Philadelphia)

Mew Gull (Larus canus)

Glaucous-winged gull (Larus glaucescens)

 

 

Pigeons & Doves

Rock Dove (Columba livia)

Band-tailed Pigeon (Columba fasciata)

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura)

 

Owls

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus)

Western Screech Owl (Otus kennicottii)

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)

 

Swifts

Black Swift (Cypseloides niger)

Vaux’s Swift (Chaetura vauxi)

 

Hummingbirds

Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)

Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna)

 

Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)

 

Woodpeckers

Red-breasted sapsucker (Sphyrapicus rubber)

Downy Woodpecker (Contopus sordidulus)

Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

 

Flycatchers and Horned Lark

Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus borealis)

Western Wood-pewee (Contopus sordidulus)

Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii)

Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum)

Western Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis)

 

Swallows

Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)

Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

 

Crows, Jays & Ravens

Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri)

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)

Common Raven (Corvus corax)

 

Chickadees & Nuthatches

Black-capped Chickadee (Parus atricaillus)

Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Parus rufescens)

Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)

Red-breasted nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)

Brown Creeper (Certhia familiaris)

 

Wrens, Kinglets, Thrushes & Near Relatives

Bewick’s wren (Thryomanes bewickii)

Winter wren (Troglodytes troglodytes

Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)

Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus)

Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus)

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius)

 

Pipits, Waxwings & Starlings

Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Northern Shrike (Lanis excubitor)

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

 

Vireos, Wood Warblers & Towhees

Solitary vireo (Vireo solitarius)

Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus)

Hutton’s Vireo (Vireo huttoni)

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)

Orange-crowned Warbler (Vermivora celata)

Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia)

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)

Black-throated Grey Warbler (Dendroica nigriscens)

Townsend’s Warbler (Dendroica townsendi)

MacGillivray’s Warbler (Oporornis tolmiei)

Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)

Wilson’s Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla)

Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)

Rufous-sided Towhee (Pipilo erythropthalmus)

 

 

 


OTHER BIRDS (con’t)

 

Finches, Grosbeaks & House Sparrow

Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)

House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)

Pine Siskin (Carduelis inus)

American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)

Evening Grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus)

 

 

Sparrows, Blackbirds & Orioles

Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)

Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophyrs)

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco yemalis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

MORE MAMMALS IN THE 100-ACRE WOOD

Animals that live on the ground and in the fields and forests of this majestic old forest are plentiful. They often blend in so well with their surroundings that we do not see them unless we take the time to look closely:

 

 

Marsupials

Common Opossum (Didelphis virginiana)

 

Insectivores

Masked Shrew (Sorex cinereus)

Trowbridge’s Shrew (Sorex trowbridgii)

Vagrant Shrew (Sorex vagrans)

Pacific Water Shrew (Sorex bedirii)

Shrew-mole (Neurotrichus gibbsii)

Townsend’s Mole (apanus townsendii)

Pacific Mole (Scapanus orarius)

 

Bats

Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus)

Keen Myotis (Myotis keeni)

Long-eared Myotis (Myotis evotis)

California Myotis (Myotis californicus)

Silver-haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans)
Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis)

 

Legomorphs

Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)

Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus)

 

 

 

Rodents

Townsend’s Chipmunk (Tamia townsendii)

Bushy-tailed Woodrat (Neotoma cinerea)

Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus)

Forest Deer Mouse (Peromyscus oreas)

Water Rat (Microtus richardsoni)

Long-tailed Rat (Microtus longicaudus)

Oregon Vole (Mictotus oregoni)

Townsend Vole (Microtus townsendii)

Redback Vole (Clethrionomys gapperi)

Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus)

House Mouse (Mus musculus)

Pacific Jumping Mouse (Zapus triotatus)

Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum)

 

Carnivores

Raccoon (Procyon lotor)

Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata)

Shorttail Weasel (Mustela erminea)

Mink (Mustela vison)

Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)

Spotted Skunk (Spilogale putorius)

Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

Feral Cat (Felis domesticus)

Black Bear (Ursus americanus)

 

 


The 100-Acre Wood Wildlife Habitat

 

LOCAL INFORMATION SOURCES:

 

Chuckanut Mountain Trails Master Plan, June 1995, (for Whatcom County Parks & Recreation, et al, Prepared by Ken Wilcox of Osprey Environmental Services, et al, Technical Appendix B, Ecological Consideration Prepared by Ann Eisinger, Consulting Biologist, Nahkeeta Northwest Wildlife Resource Services)
 
Chuckanut Ridge Planned Development Technical Appendices, March 1996
(Draft Environmental Impact Statement)
 
Interurban Wetland Selected Baseline Conditions Report, 3/26/01
(Prepared by Tim Wahl, City of Bellingham, Greenways Program Coordinator)
 
Wildlife observation notes, photographs & videotapes, 1998-2005
(Provided by Gerry Wilbour, 100 Acre-Wood, adjacent property owner)
 
 
STATE INFORMATION SOURCES:
 
Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife, 2005
(Various non-game wildlife biologist notes and appendices)

 

 

FEDERAL INFORMATION SOURCES:
 
U.S. Forest Service Environmental Impact Statement, 2000
(Listing of the region's endangered & threatened species)
 
 
 
Other Information Sources available on request from Responsible Development!