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5451End of an era at Klopp Lake

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  • AT&T Online Services
    May 29, 2014
      This morning at the Arcata Marsh I looked for something I always watch for, and it was gone: the last piling in Klopp Lake. It was on a skinny stalk and stood near the nw. corner of the lake. The Western Gulls and last few lingering scaup may have heard it splash. It would have been a sound for which they had no known context. How long would they have listened, then, for another splash, which would not come?  

      When I moved here in 1992 there were 14 pilings extending out from Klopp L. into the bay, the last remaining footings of the old railroad wharf. Nine remained before the terrific 12/31/05 windstorm, and that storm took out four of those, leaving five. Now there are two, one of them only 25' or so from the foot of I Street, other some ways out. 

      That last piling close to the levee used to have a twin until a few years ago. In a remarkable coincidence, Jude and I once visited the foot of I Street and I saw that the "twin" (they had been driven side-by-side, as it were) had just toppled, and it lay on the mudflat at low water right where it fell. Had we arrived hours earlier, it would still have stood; hours later, it would have disappeared--having become, the instant the incoming tide roused it, just another anonymous chunk of driftwood--free to end up in a slough around the corner from the Marsh or perhaps entering the ocean and ending up who knows where.

      Thought: the great-great-great grandchildren of the men who drove those pilings are silver-haired.

      I hope to still be birding when the final two pilings topple. That farther one looks like it was slammed in there pretty good, and it has a fairly thick base. Incentive to keep the cholesterol numbers good huh.
      A Swainson's Thrush has been singing at the log pond and another is on an island in Allen Marsh. Also there's a singing Black-headed Grosbeak at the log pond and I saw a begging juvenile Black-capped Chickadee there this morning. Perhaps 4 Yellow Warblers were singing (most likely migrants). Vaux's Swifts have been flying past willows, fluttering to snap off, or to attempt to snap off, tiny dead twigs for their nests. This would be a good year for someone to get their name in lights by confirming breeding by Yellow-breasted Chats at the Marsh. As we joked during the Breeding Bird Atlas project, get patient and watch for an adult Carrying Something (nonexistent code "CS").

      The morning after I saw a big flock of ibis fly northward, 26 were reported at Fern Ridge Reservoir w. of Eugene, so there may have been some late movement happening. 

      David Fix
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