Blue Lakes Sewage Boise – Walk in only for birding

Hi Birders,

Wanted to pass on some access information for Blue Lakes Sewage ponds off of Gowen Road. 
The area is open for birding but the access is only to be on foot. The dirt road that runs on the east side of the ponds looks to be open to driving but is not. They are fine with the area being birded from that dirt road but on foot only. You can park along the side of the paved road leading up to the dirt road that can be entered from the trailer court neighborhood. There are two posts (concrete?) you can walk between. Also, if there is ever an open chain-link  gate at any of the ponds, it is not ok to go inside the chain-link.
If the next few people that visit could note the “walk-in access only” on their ebird checklist notes it would be helpful in spreading the word.
Thanks so much, and happy Spring migration.
Danette Henderson
Boise

Re: Proposed sand and gravel pits in Canyon County

I’m not a fan of growth or gravel quarries enroaching upon prime wildlife habitat, but from my own experience trying to have gravel delivered to my house, many of the quarries are tapped out because of the huge amount of development happening. 10 years ago I had a dump truck of gravel delivered to my house in the Boise foothills, it cost $80 for 10 yards delivered and it came from the Boise area. More recently I called to order another truckload, it was $375, and they were hauling it out of Middleton, telling me  they were no longer providing gravel from the local pits. Every time I head west to the freeway, passing through Star and Middleton, another old farm or pasture has turned into a subdivision.  🙁

Proposed sand and gravel pits in Canyon County

Three sand and gravel pits have been proposed in Canyon County along side the Boise River. The one near Parma has an active bald eagle nest. The one near Notus has a heron rookery readily visible from Highway 20/26. The one in Caldwell would abut Curtis Park, one of the very few nature parks in Canyon County. There are already several active sand and gravel pits in Canyon County in proximity or adjacent to the Boise River. A public hearing for the proposed pit adjacent to Curtis Park is April 18. The public hearing for the proposed pit near Parma has been rescheduled but no date has been set yet. The city of Notus recently gave preliminary approval for the proposed pit near them and a local resident is considering what the legal options are.
Both Golden Eagle Audubon and the Southwestern Idaho Birders Association (SIBA) wrote letters opposing the pit near Parma but we found out about the other two pits too late for that. Cheryl Huizinga, current president of SIBA, is preparing testimony on the proposed pit abutting Curtis Park in conjunction with a local resident. Several letters were sent to the County Planning and Zoning Commission opposing the proposed pit near Parma and local news is interested.
Given the number of sand and gravel pits already operating in Canyon County it makes one wonder why we need 3 more. It also shows the the birding community needs to pay attention to those public hearing notices posted near important areas for birds and other wildlife.

Louisa Evers
Take care of the birds and you take care of the world

Red-naped Sapsucker

A new arrival this weekend has been a Red-naped Sapsucker. He’s been visiting willows, cottonwoods & an aspen tree. Plus, N Flickers are drumming, incessantly! 

And, the first female Red-winged Blackbird arrived at the feeder this morning. I didn’t even see the males, but within minutes, up & down a Snake River channel through the back, at least 4 started calling, vying for her attention! Others: White Pelicans, Forster’s & Caspian Terns along the river, Canada Geese are nesting, Mourning Doves are back & Tree Swallows are checking out last year’s tree cavities. 

Our most common feeder bird remains American Goldfinch, followed by House Finch, BC Chickadee & 2 RB Nuthatches. My Least Chipmunk “colony” is up to at least 5 individuals &, apparently, this is the month when I may soon expect more. I don’t mind sharing the black oil sunflower seeds with them. Like the cottontails, their generations seem to be somewhat boom/bust by my observations over nearing 4 decades here. Counting it fortunate that this is their 3rd year at backyard’s edge to the woodland. Enjoy watching their antics! 

Brian Carrigan 
Blackfoot 

Home of Idaho Birding and the Idaho Bird Records Committee

Idaho Birds