Nov 30, 2022

Bellingham WA: Nov 30, 2022 Update re Wetland views from 2021, 2020 and 2017

This is to update my running log concerning a small but significant wetland area near Bellingham Bay. There are issues pertaining to vegetation and #wildlife that require attention in this rare #greenbelt between the Port of Bellingham and North State Street that I refer to as #Downyland after the #downywoodpeckers who nested in a valuable snag here in 2019. I doubt they will ever return.

Nov 29, 2022

The photo above shows a Nov 16, 2022 view of a bald #eagle perched near the nest used in previous years. It was the first time I saw him/her back since March (photo below is from 3/4/22). I also noticed a #stellarjay on the 16th. I believe the eagle is getting ready for another breeding season. I saw him/her again on 11/26/22. I noticed #woodpeckers, #chickadees, #juncos and #towhees 11/29/22. Sadly - as of Nov 29, 2022 - longstanding debris under the old railroad trestle (pictured below) still has not been cleaned by the City of Bellingham despite numerous pleas for their dutiful protection of #nature. Toxins and solid waste, as well as motor vehicle and #rodenticide (and other "cides") distribution are very serious dangers for most critters in the circle of life. In addition, there is no removal of #noxiousweeds in the area under City of Bellingham jurisdiction. Invasive vines such as #ivy and #clematis as well as other non-natives are left to encroach on and strangle #firs, #cottonwoods, #maples, #alders and other #trees.  

September 11, 2022

Pictured above is private property of the Burlington Northern Railway Company LLC following a cleanup in January 2020. Fortunately, the railroad company cleaned their two private-property wetland parcels of trespassing humans' debris again July 1, 2022. Also fortunately, on August 30, 2022 the City of Bellingham's contractors cleaned the higher stretch nearer E Laurel Street and the small area below the north end of the old trestle (all No Trespassing zones); these are commonly soiled daily by illegal drug users and litterers. The trestle is part of the City's popular, state-supported South Bay Trail and in turn part of the Interurban Trail. It is disappointing that the entire City portion under their trestle never gets cleaned for well over a year. This is despite numerous requests to staff in person, SeeClickFix submittals, via email, and with calls. I have been told it is a low priority.  For wildlife though it is a high priority.  

The photo above shows part of the City's strip of land below their historic trestle near Wharf Street, Bellingham WA on May 28, 2022. 


March 9, 2022 

The eagles are using the nest they built in 2020. I saw one flying over Whatcom Waterway this morning. This photo is from March 4th. I haven't heard from the railway company whether they will pay some attention to this area. I even sent them a photo of a deceased deer who has been there several months. The leaves will burst out very soon and it will be harder to locate the litter etc. than it would be if it had already been done. But it doesn't seem that those in power will maintain or safeguard the property. If they do arrange cleanups after Spring gets further underway it will disturb more birds, rabbits and so on. Many are already tending nests now.
 

February 17, 2022

I am not sure what the eagles are doing this year. Last year they abandoned their nest but I believe they relocated up the hill a bit and raised young.

Sadly, the whole Critical Area I nicknamed "Downyland" (after the Downy woodpecker) is still largely unprotected and unmaintained. I emailed the railway company in January 2022 requesting cleanup of their portion, but there was no reply. The last time the City of Bellingham sent their contractors there to clean their portion of the buffer was early December 2020. Apparently there was no response to subsequent Encampment Activity Forms. Litter remains from previous years, and is added to daily. In the vegetated area there is even human poo, along with egregious litter. There have been fires in Downyland.

Be careful if you walk there since even on the gravel path it is now impossible to avoid getting dog poo on shoes - the rains/snows soaked it in and spread it around like grout. And it gets added to daily.

A wooden fence (such as the one along a portion of Whatcom Creek)  would be nice. In addition, signs instructing people not to trespass and to specifically comply with many pertinent ordinances, as well as clear delineation of private property seem necessary.

January 18, 2021


This is an update regarding the Critical Areas  between East Laurel Street and Wharf Street some of which is under the jurisdiction of the BNSF Railway (see BNSF) and some under the City of Bellingham. 

A Google album contains the above photo re eagles and three other photos of the wetland showing that debris from vagrants still remains. (There is orange construction fencing along the buffer since December 2020 in connection with the City's ongoing Trestle Repair Project): https://photos.app.goo.gl/reJLxZgut3UzGLJm9

Following is my January 9, 2020 post re the wetland buffer between East Laurel Street and Wharf Street. I saw for the first time last year a pair of American Bald Eagles use the area for nesting and at least two babies fledged. Someone told me there was a third as well. Eagle visits to the nest have been observed this year but I haven't observed whether they are actually nesting. I would think there would be reports on eBird or elsewhere - I just haven't researched. 

After BNSF felled many trunks of trees in the area the day the lockdown started, I wrote to the City and received a reply from a planner saying, "I sent your information on to our complaint folks, and they’re following up." Despite my several inquiries re status, I was never informed of any remedial steps taken regarding the tree removals.

January 9, 2020 


A cleanup of trash in this area was begun yesterday. Part of the property is City-owned (South Bay Trail) and the wetland buffer is property of the international Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF). Cleanup will improve conditions for plants and animals in the drainage which is essentially just yards/meters away from Bellingham Bay on the Washington coast. Cleanup should ameliorate air, land and water pollution.

January 8, 2020 1-1/2 minute view:
https://youtu.be/S5KQ3yDEiGc

Compared to 2017:

From April 2017, 40-second clip of BNSF wetland:
 https://youtu.be/C4blQmqnsXQ

 From April 2017, 3-minute view of a particular deer in sunshine:
https://youtu.be/iVIuaMxjIek