Seattle Parks and Recreation acquires land to expand Kiwanis Memorial Preserve Park

Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) purchased a 4,400 sq. ft. property at 4451 33rd Ave. W, expanding Kiwanis Memorial Preserve Park in January 2017. The Seattle Park District provided $158,000 for the acquisition of this parcel which SPR has been trying to purchase since the mid-1990’s.

This property expands the protection of Kiwanis Ravine, which provides significant open space benefits including DSC06173wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, and a buffer between the industrial and residential land-use. The Kiwanis Memorial Preserve Park was once the home to the largest heron colony in the northwest. In May, 2013 due to extreme eagle predation, the Kiwanis Ravine heron colony moved to Commodore Park. For more information or to volunteer with Heron Habitat Helpers, visit http://www.heronhelpers.org/.

This is the first purchase funded by the Seattle Park District. Approved by Seattle voters in 2014, the Seattle Park District provides more than $47 million a year in long-term funding for Seattle Parks and Recreation including maintenance of parklands and facilities, operation of community centers and recreation programs, and development of new neighborhood parks on previously acquired sites.

For more information, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/kiwanis-memorial-preserve-park

Shhh! Nesting herons need peace and quiet

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Great Blue Herons are nesting in the tall trees in Commodore Park, and we’d like to keep them there.

In February, the herons returned to their nesting site and spent several weeks courting mates for the season. On average, female herons lay three to five eggs and the male and female take turns incubating them. The eggs typically hatch in June or July, but those laid later in the season may not fledge until late summer.

The herons in Commodore Park built their nests in an area exposed to passersby, but that doesn’t mean they’re asking for visitors. Herons are easily frightened by loud noises or sudden disturbances and have been known to abandon their nests if spooked.

Seattle Parks and Recreation Resource Conservation Coordinator Barbara DeCaro asks park visitors be as quiet as possible and not make any sudden movements while the babies are present. The herons’ nests are very close to public viewing areas, sometimes as little as 30 feet, and it’s easy to unintentionally disturb them.

The Heron Habitat Helpers are monitoring the herons in Commodore Park this year. For more information about their work, click HERE.

Ospreys return to Seattle for spring

The osprey nest in Commodore Park.

The osprey nest in Commodore Park.

 

If you build it; they will come.

Ospreys have returned to two different manufactured nest sites near Seattle parks.

Three years ago, Seattle Parks and Recreation Facilities Maintenance crews, Natural Resource Unit crews and staff, Planning & Development staff, Parks Surveyors, Seattle City Light staff, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist, Burlington Northern staff and a  U.S. Coast Guard employee worked on getting a replacement nest site for ospreys at Commodore Park in Magnolia.

The old nest had been dismantled because it was located on a telegraph tower on rail lines above the park. The tower was in disrepair and was in jeopardy of falling into the Ballard Locks below it. Staff worked together on siting the new nest, getting permits, fabricating a nest platform and installing a 70-foot pole and platform.  Two ospreys showed up at the platform the month after it was built, and two babies were born that year. A pair returned last spring from their wintering grounds in Central America and had one offspring. This year, another pair has been spotted adding nest material to the platform.

An Osprey spotted near the nest by Magnuson Park.

An osprey spotted near its nest by Magnuson Park.

 

Across the city, there have been reports of three different adult ospreys returning to a nesting site near Magnuson Park. Two years ago, ospreys made their home in the crow’s nest of a National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration ship. A power company constructed a new pole and platform for the birds on land to lure them away from the boat. The first year the birds did not produce any offspring in the nest, but last year, two adult birds returned and produced at least two young.

Many volunteers have been monitoring the nest to see if these birds will produce offspring this year. Since the birds are not banded, it isn’t clear if the same birds are returning each spring. The nest can be seen from Kite Hill in Magnuson Park or from the parking lot of Building 27.