Photo Summary of Bybee Lake over the past year.
Photo Summary: Cottonwood trees at Bybee Lake
I’ve decided to post some photos together sort of as a Photo Summary. I think its fun to see the changes over the course of the year.
I’ve been taking pictures for the past year out at Smith & Bybee Lakes. You can read about the project in my first posting here.
Photo Summary: The walking path to Bybee Lake
It was a somber, gloomy day out at Smith and Bybee Lakes. I went out on October 19 as my final visit to the Wetlands, closing out my year-long project of visiting the area regularly throughout the year to document the seasonal changes.
If you’ve read my previous post on the lakes, you will know that the area has been closed since the beginning of September due to a botulism outbreak. Right in the midst of fall migration, one of our area’s most frequented stop-over wetland for migrating birds needed some help. Many of the waterfowl were removed from the area so they could be treated. Many others have died. Bybee Lake was drained to not much more than a giant mud puddle. Loud noises, canons, gunshots, and other disturbances are being carefully used to discourage birds from entering the area.
The botulism will go away on its own, over time. When the weather gets cold enough and the rains are heavy enough, this will pass. We are waiting it out and I am crossing my fingers for the birds.
I saw a pair of bald eagles flying around. I sure hope they can be scared off. There were still some small songbirds in the tree canopy: chickadees, ruby crowned kinglets, song sparrows. While most of the birds getting sick from the botulism are waterfowl, I imagine any bird could get sick. I could still hear plenty of frogs, so they seemed to be doing well. Perhaps due to rapid loss of their predators. Overall the place was extremely vacant, it held a feeling of death.
I couldn’t get out to Smith Lake, the area was all roped off. But I could get out to Bybee Lake. Metro workers were out there doing their hazing. Not the most pleasant atmosphere.
What there was plenty of was leaves. With fall upon us, leaves were all over the ground. I spent my time taking pictures of leaves.
When I went out to Smith and Bybee Lakes recently, I was troubled to find it closed due to disease outbreak.
I’ve found out more of what’s going on, because of my work at the wildlife animal hospital. We have a large number of birds with botulism. There’s a botulism outbreak on the waters and soils. Botulism causes paralysis, so it is sad to see the influx of birds coming in to our hospital paralyzed. The fortunate thing is that botulism is easily treatable and these birds are releasable again in about 4-5 days. The bad thing is that they need to be brought in to be treated, and a lot are dying out there. The other bad thing is that Smith and Bybee Lakes are an important stop-over point for migrating birds, and it is migration season.
I will try to get out there next week or two to see if I can take some pictures and do a wrap-up of my year-long project.
- Disease outbreak kills thousands of Portland birds (sfgate.com)
- Botulism kills 1,200 birds in Portland wetlands (king5.com)
- Deadly avian botulism closes Portland wetlands area (kgw.com)
It was a pleasantly warm 64 degrees this morning, with promise of heating up to a high of 88 today. We’re hanging onto summer here. I went out to Smith and Bybee Lakes today. You can read about my last visit here.
Today was going to be my last, or maybe second to last, visit for this series. But now I’ll need to plan on trying again, since I couldn’t get in today. The area is all roped off and closed due to wildlife disease. I am sad to hear about this. I’ve googled around to try to find details of what is going on, but I can’t find any information other than general announcements, with no specifics.
I took some pictures around to document how the cottonwoods look like right now. They’re looking nice and full still, but the leaves are drying and yellowing just a little bit. I also stopped by a nearby lake, Heron Lake, at the golf course. There was a lot of green scum on the water surface. Perhaps Smith and Bybee have a similar look right now.
The crickets were obnoxious! You could hear constant cricket creaking. I found this unusual. I didn’t stick around to see much wildlife, but could hear chickadees, saw a great blue heron, a cormorant, some ducks, an egret, mourning doves, and scrub jays.
I hadn’t been out to Smith and Bybee lakes for quite some time. You can check out the post about my last visit here.
I didn’t really have a whole lot of time last Saturday to devote to a really nice visit, but I wanted to get out there and take some pictures so there wasn’t too huge a gap in my Smith and Bybee Lakes series, my goal being to document how it changes through the seasons. So this visit was pretty truncated, a quick rush through to take some pictures. My bird/species list isn’t really a list because I wasn’t taking the time to seek stuff out, check them out carefully, etc.
It was 64 degrees and extremely muggy.
I would say the most abundant thing was the Tree Swallows. They were having a fancy flying time and tweeting up a storm. Osprey’s are pretty regular out there and I saw one adult, the nest just across the road was vacant. Their young must have fledged and are out enjoying the world on their own.
The most notable thing about the plant life was the berries. It’s berry season and berries are everywhere. There was also ample evidence of the bird and mammal life consuming a high-berry diet! This time of year the local wild blackberries (and also the invasive species blackberries) have their ripe fruit. Lots of other bushes and trees also had berries on them, I don’t know what kind they are nor if they are edible but the flowers have all now turned into berries. Also notable was the cottonwoods dropping tons of cotton. It looked like spiderwebs dusted all over the trees, bushes, and ground.
Smith Lake was actually accessible this time! This is the first time I’ve been out since I’ve started this series that the water level has reduced again, down to a level where you can actually walk out again to the lake. It had been so flooded you couldn’t even get out near it to take pictures for quite some time. This isn’t surprising, of course, since it’s summer and August is our hottest driest month. But I was pleasantly shocked all the same.
I hope to go out a few more times this fall and then I’ll plan on putting together a little photo-summary of the series for the year. I’m looking forward to doing that because I think it will be pretty cool.