The Daily Bucket– The Creek's Roaring and Billy's Watching

Hard rains just swept across NW Oregon and vicinity. The creeks climbed their banks.

I watch Rock Creek, and its tributaries that flow through Bethany Lake, ten miles west of Portland Oregon.  Upstream of Bethany Lake, a half mile wide grassy meadow has transformed into a nicely braided  creek with a half dozen channels. Elephant-eye-high cattails hide the numerous backwaters but the ducks, herons, nutria, fish, and frogs seek every corner.

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At high water we can see two or more distinct creeks flowing into the Lake. I’d seen another heron fishing on these grassy wetlands, but it wouldn’t let me within a quarter mile (200 meters).

My neighbors and I are fighting to stop a proposed gas station that would cut down adjacent mature trees (Trees at upper left).

The inane gas station consultants keep mis-identifying the creek on the left as Bethany Creek. 

The Park District has diverted storm water runoff from the surrounding neighborhoods into daylighted channels of forgotten creeks that feed into what’s become enormous wetlands.  

It’s deemed the Rock Creek Greenway and the wildlife can now exploit hundreds of acres of ponds, miles of flowing water, back channels, forested wetlands, timber snags, bogs, and swamps.

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I thought these were mallards but now I’m not sure. These Ducks are feeding in the Lake. There were more ducks in the wetland than the lake.

There’s a link to a map through this link.   I open it in a new window.  It shows how Rock Creek snakes along just west of the Lake.

www.thprd.org/…

I pretend it’s my Backyard. 

Sometimes a Great Blue Heron leaves the Lake and comes to my real backyard to eat goldfish from my ponds.

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We named him/her Billy, it visited every day until we ran low on fish.

So when Billy didn’t come to my backyard for a few months, I went looking.  No problem, Billy looks fine and has moved its hunting grounds  to the far west of Bethany Lake. The lead picture of Billy in this Bucket is from Nov. 15.

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Here’s where Billy was fishing in the Creek last week, just west of its intersection with the Lake’s falls.

I’m guessing that the Park District’s recent work drove Billy out of his favorite fishing spots. They repaired berms that control flows from the Lake into the Creek and wetlands.  Their work’s done, and Billy’s back.

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Billy Heron, drenched from rain, perches atop a repaired berm. The Lake is behind the west-facing heron. I send mental messages; there’s easier pickings at my house, just a half mile southwest. Taken 11/19/20.

I like the Park’s hydraulics; the Lake overflows and fill up a big dry wetland west of the Lake instead of flooding the Park paths, if there’s enough capacity. 

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Here’s a look at a half mile of Greenway, facing east. Wetland close, lake further, “gas station” trees upper left-center.  The braided Summerville and Stoller Creeks are right of those trees. 

From the west side of the Lake,  the Park District asks that folks stay out.

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Anglers tell me of a secret pond in here with gigantic carp. That’s not my idea of a state secret.  My closing words in this Bucket will elaborate why I’ll keep my distance.

Today several pairs of mallards cruised the wetland.

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I used my wee voice but few ducks looked at the camera.

If you can open the map in the link, you can see how Rock Creek runs west of, but not into the Lake. Now the Lake flows into the Creek and the wetlands in at least two places, and then the Creek turns south. 

This wetland fills up and then flows south, back into Rock Creek.

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These elusive little brown birds flock to the south end of this wetland and bathe and drink and chase bugs.  The wetlands drains quickly here, with visible current, into the Creek.  I like the bold stripe on these birds’ heads. I want to say nuthatch, but maybe song sparrow.  The white dotted wings are neat.

There’s several acres of oaks just upland from the Lake, with a dozen giant evergreens interspersed, likely firs.

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Mostly oaks, and a few big ones, maybe firs, where the eagles like to sit. Some hardwoods are as tall as the firs.  The eagles nest in a big hardwood, probably maple.

Several acres of scarce oaks border the lake to the west, and shade the creek. When the oaks topple, they create little dams where fish can rest and herons can hunt.

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Here’s the new post-berm creek, flowing towards us, escaping Bethany Lake and flooding new wetlands. The fallen oaks will dam flows, shade waters, and help the fish hide.

Fourth-growth oaks and cedars compete for sunlight south of the lake as the old oaks die.

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I wonder if owls take advantage as the oaks hollow out.

I walked almost to the berm without a problem. But something happened when I tried to walk back out.

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I took the path less traveled
My plans quickly unraveled
On the path ungraveled
My eyes wide with wonder
Into Blackberries I did blunder
Thorns ripped me asunder
Then came lightning rain and thunder
I’m soaking wet, battered by hail
But I know I didn’t fail
to risk the lesser trail.

Gaia saw I’d had a tough time, and arranged some solace.

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I used my wee voice and got to hug a bunny.

Thanks for reading the Daily Bucket.

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