Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Willow Creek Wednesday Wander

Liz Myers from WREN, Rick Ahrens (local naturalist), and Jason Nuckols and Charlie Quinn from the The Nature Conservancy led a group of about 20 through the (very) wet prairie and upland prairie of Willow Creek Nature Preserve. We covered quite a bit of ground during this hour walk, which was one of the new informal Wednesday Wetland Wanders in the West Eugene Wetlands. We learned about the various projects TNC is doing to monitor the habitat of this nearly 500 acre beautiful site that is nestled up against the southwest ridges of town. TNC staff and their volunteers control several invasive, nonnative plant species to allow a greater variety of species, and promote the growth of rare plants indigenous to the Willamette Valley. They track the birds and animals who call Willow Creek their home, including the Fender's Blue Butterfly (below).

Rick mentioned the Eugene Chapter of NABA, here is a link to their website. We got a brief glimpse of a Red-tailed hawk, and heard the shreik of what Rick believed to be a Red-shouldered hawk, a bird of prey we are seeing more of as they expand their territory to the north.

Many in the group had not experienced Willow Creek Nature Preserve before. This area is a treasure that not too many know about. However, the trails are open to the public, and a great variety of plants and animals await curious visitors. Here is TNC's web page about Willow Creek: Here are a couple of other photos of Willow Creek taken at different times of the year:



Thank you to all who joined us this morning, we enjoyed meeting and seeing you! For the next Wetland Wednesday Wander we will meet at the view point off Stewart Road to explore Stewart Pond. This will be 9 a.m. January 9. We hope to see you there!

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