Posts tagged: Turnbull
WILDLIFE WATCHING — For 22 years through 2009, only one trumpeter swan reliably returned to Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge each winter or spring — whenever enough open water was exposed by ice thawing at the headquarters-area ponds.
Now the legacy of Solo, the lone male trumpeter that finally found love in 2009, lives on in at least a baker's dozen.
Nesting is likely. Broods usually hatch around Father's Day.
Here's today's swan observation from Mike Rule, refuge wildlife biologist:
We watched 13 swans flying down the creek in front of the office this morning . They landed on Winslow Pond and Middle Pine. There were
5 cygnets and 9 adults.
Four of the adults are likely the 2 breeding pairs from last year. The age of other 5 adults is unknown. They could be any combination of the 9 swans fledged in 2009, 2010, or 2012. We potentially have four unaccounted for breeding age swans from Solo's 2 broods. Hopefully we'll get another nesting pair established this year.
This same group was seen for a couple days in mid-January during a short thaw.
UPDATED 11-6-13 at 3:10 p.m.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — This year's crop of trumpeter swans was still putting on a snow last week for visitors to Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge headquarters area.
For the first time in decades, two pairs pulled of clutches of cygnets this spring. The families provided plenty of wildlife viewing entertainment during the spring and summer.
Each family lost at least one of the offspring, but the survivors are looking strong and frisky and ready to migrate to wherever they go when iced-over ponds force them to leave Turnbull during winter.
Local photographer Carlene Hardt, who produced a book about the Turnbull trumpeters that's available at the Turnbull store, snapped these photos of one family and the playful cygnets last week. Said Hardt:
I was at Turnbull Wildlife Refuge last Friday and I was delighted to see both Trumpeter swan families on Middle Pine. It was good to see that one swan pair still has three cygnets. Unfortunately, the other pair has only two remaining cygnets (out of the 4 that hatched). One cygnet was recently found dead.
I started photographing them just before sunset when they were very active and vocal. They were interacting with each other and sometimes chasing each other. It was fun to watch!
Mike Rule, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife biologist at Turnbull offered these encouraging insights into what's going with the refuge swans:
The loss of the 2 cygnets from the Middle Pine Lake pair was unfortunate. One was lost about 3-4 weeks after hatching. We never found the carcass. The death of the 2nd cygnet occurred on the 22nd or 23rd of October. I am not sure of the cause of death , but I don't think it ever fledged like the other two in that brood. I observed the 2 adults and 2 cygnets flying around on the 19th and the one cygnet was still on Middle Pine. We did collect the body and it has been sent to the Madison Wildlife Health Lab. Hopefully we will hear back soon about the cause of death.
We have recently been seeing a group of 11 flying around so the 2 pairs and there young of this year have picked up a couple of swans from the previous years' broods. I expect to see more any day now. We are hoping more of the 2009 and 2010 cygnets will return to nest next year. Winslow Pool, which has been dry for 2 years now because of a failed water control structure, has been repaired and is refilling. This has been an important swan pond, it is the original swan display pond where the first cygnets were released on the refuge. So having it functioning again is a real plus for the swans.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Photographer Carlene Hardt and numerous other wildlife watchers have been watching trumpeter swans at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge south of Cheney as they raise their young that hatched last month.
Here's the photo and the note she sent this week after spending some time watching the family of two adults and four cygnets off the paved walking trail near Middle Pine pond.
The rules say I can't go off trail on Cheever so I will not be able to see the second family.
Isn't it wonderful that there are two Trumpeter pairs and two new families! The cygnets are so adorable and I know they will grow up fast! I watched them imitate their parents eating and preening.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Trumpeter swans are doubling the fun Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge this summer with two nesting pairs, each of which has hatched a brood of cygnets in the past week.
Just seven years ago, only one trumpeter called Turnbull home. I named him Solo in a column documenting his lonely two decades of seeking a mate.
In 2009, Solo, by then a geriatric swan age 35-48, attracted a viable mate. He sired the first brood of trumpeters on the refuge since his first mate was killed on her nest by a predator in 1988
Solo disappeared two seasons later, but his mate bonded with another male to produce a brood last year. This year, it appears that one of the birds produced by the swans also has returned with a mate.
Here's today's report from Mike Rule, refuge wildlife biologist:
Both nesting pairs of trumpeters at Turnbull NWR have hatched. The pair on Cheever Lake hatched 3 cygnets on June 13 and the Middle Pine pair hatched 4 cygnets on June 19 or 20. The female of the Middle Pine pair is likely Solo's (the really old swan) mate who started the ball rolling again in 2009.
WILDLIFE — Turnbull Wildlife Refuge south of Cheney is in a family way this month with critters birthing and hatching young all over the place. (See list of 108 bird species documented at Turnbull in just two weeks at end of this post).
Fans of the late the trumpeter swan named Solo will revel in news that TWO trumpeter pairs are nesting at the refuge this year, up from one pair last year and no pairs for 22 years before 2009.
Solo was one of the original Turnbull trumpeters who lost his mate to a predator in the 1980s. He defended his territory at Turnbull through a 22-year drought without a suitable breeding partner before siring a family in 2009.
The trumpeters are crowd pleasers because they're so visible. The nesting pairs are on Middle Pine and Cheever ponds. If all goes well and their cygnets hatch in June, the attentive parents will parade their families for all to see from the visitor paths all summer and into the fall.
Amateur photographer Carlene Hardt focused on the trumpeters for two years and recently published a nifty book of photos and trumpeter information, “A Swan and His Family.” The book, available at the Turnbull Refuge headquarters store, chronicles Solo's family life for several years.
Also worth checking out at the store is the booklet, “Discover Birds at Turnbull,” published after years of research by students at the former Discovery School. The book has good information about a variety of Turnbull bird species with photos by local expert photographers.
The book is a showcase for Turnbull's service in providing wildlife and nature education for up to 8,000 students who visit the refuge each year.
Meanwhile, don't forget all the other bird species found at the refuge. Click “continue reading” for Tuesday's report report from Mike Rule, refuge wildlife biologist.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Migrating waterfowl are providing plenty of noise and action for birdwatchers visiting Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge this week. Here's today's report from Mike Rule, refuge wildlife biologist:
For the past week there have been over 100 white swans on Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge's Cheever Lake. Mixed in are a few hundred northern pintail, wigeon, and mallards. Common golden-eyes , hooded mergansers, buffleheads, ring-necked ducks, and a few canvasbacks were also observed.
Last year's nesting pair of trumpeter swans and their off spring have been hanging out in Middle Pine Lake. Common snipe have been winnowing the last two mornings.
In case you're not familiar with the northern pintail, it's a subtly-colored puddle duck species that ranks high in eye appeal and aerodynamics. Here's a tip of the hat to The Designer, and to Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson for the photo reminder.
NATIVE PLANTS — Late May is prime time for some of the loveliest wildflowers at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.
Join Northeastern Washington Native Plant Society veteran Sylvia Eberspecher for a leisurely 2-hour walk to learn about some of the wildflowers, trees and shrubs.
She will point out distinguishing features of common plants that can be confused with each other, and share a few stories of how some plants got their names.
A former Master Gardener and garden center employee, Sylvia will point out some native plants that grow well in urban gardens. Although scientific plant names will be given, you don’t need to know Latin or memorize botany terms to enjoy this trip. Sylvia will bring her favorite identification books and explain what is particularly good about each one, from beginner to advanced.
Muffins and bottled water are provided. Meet at 10 a.m. by the Turnbull Headquarters buildings.
For starters, here is a plant list.
Pre-register wtih Sylvia (209) 379-5881 or Louise OLeary (509)235-4531 or email email@example.com.
HUNTING — For the second time since 1937, youngsters can apply for limited permits to participate in a two-day youth waterfowl hunt this fall at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will restrict the hunters under 16 to about eight hunting sites during Washington’s youth waterfowl season, Sept. 24-25.
Two youth hunters accompanied by one or two non-hunting adults will be allowed at each site. The hunters must have state small game and waterfowl licenses.
Hunters will be selected in a random drawing.
Applications will be accepted Aug. 1-15.
Apply on a U.S. Postal Service postcard. Include the youth's full name, address and telephone number.
Youths may apply with a youth friend or youth sibling on the same application.
Mail postcards to Refuge Manager, Turnbull NWR, 26010 S. Smith Road, Cheney, WA 99004.
The Spokane Chapter of the Washington Waterfowl Association will conduct a workshop the week prior to the hunt to help the youths select hunting sites and provide waterfowl identification and hunting tips.
Info: 235-4723; fws.gov/turnbull/
NATURE — Get more out of a walk in the woods by joining a group hike with a nature-related group. Here are two good upcoming options:
Saturday, Bird Walk with Friends of Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.
Join Marian Frobe, 8 a.m.-noon, for a walk around the Pine Lakes and Headquarters Pond areas to look for and listen to the spring migrants, as well as singing resident birds. All the birds are in their breeding plumage now. The local trumpeter swan family might even be around.
Pre-register: 328-0621 to get directions. Bring water, binoculars and lunch in case you want to extend your stay.
June 4, Liberty Lake Park walk with Native Plant Society.
Join John McCormick, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., in a walk into a cedar forest with ferns, shade-loving wildflowers, and possibly some interesting mushrooms. Bring lunch and dress for weather and hiking.
Contacts: Email Darcy Varona firstname.lastname@example.org or James Earl email@example.com.
WILDLIFE – Today’s “Swan song” Outdoors feature in the Sunday Sports section tells the inspiring story of a senior swan at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge.
I dubbed him “Solo” when I wrote the 2002 column about the widower swan that kept returning to Turnbull without a mate.
But his perseverance paid off in 2009 when he finally bonded with a mate and sired the first hatch of cygnets on the refuge in 22 years. They repeated in 2010 with another brood.
Now it appears certain that Solo is gone. I’ve held off on the story since late January, working with refuge biologist Mike Rule to make certain that Solo didn’t show up as he has for about four decades.
A male trumpeter swan was found dead from lead poisoning nearby on Badger Lake in January. Rule does not think it was Solo, but he’s not sure. Unfortunately, the swan was not aged in the WSU necropsy.
Following is a long series of excerpts from my email correspondence with Rule, detailing the reasoning behind his belief that while Solo is gone, the legacy of his mate and offspring are alive and giving hope for a trumpeter swan future at Turnbull.
CONSERVATION — The 4th annual dinner and auction fundraiser sponsored by the Friends of Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge is set for March 27 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St. in Spokane.
The events helps fund Turnbull’s environmental education programs, which have introduced thousands of children to quality nature experiences.
Tickets cost $25 for Friends members and $30 for nonmembers. Price includes a pasta dinner.
Info: CraigCorder, firstname.lastname@example.org