A Message From the President

Photo Credit: Patty Picket

October 1, 2016

Well, it has happened again. Summer has slipped into fall with very little preamble. This is a good thing. Recent rains (more like downpours) have doused the regions wildfires. The much needed moisture will provide a fall flush of vegetation everywhere, and will help, at least a little, the depleted reservoirs in Eastern Idaho recover from an unprecedented dry and hot summer.

In spite of the summer heat, ponds at Camas National Wildlife refuge fared fairly well this summer. Because of a near normal winter snowpack, the first in years, Camas Creek flowed onto the refuge for several weeks, rather than the handful of days the creek has reached the refuge in the recent past. As a result, the refuge was generally in good condition all summer long.

Friends of Camas was also in good condition this summer. Our Bird-A- Thon, a joint effort with the Snake River Audubon Society, was highly successful. The event raised visibility and funds for both organizations, and Friends gained a few new members. The Starry-starry night event, held at Camas by the Idaho Falls Astronomical Society, was a measured success. After a cloudy evening, the skies cleared and the stars and star gazers both showed up for viewing fun after dark.

For this summer, Friends of Camas is particularly proud of the progress we have made on two long-planned and highly visible projects: The peregrine web cam and the pollinator garden. Both are well on the way to completion.

For the Peregrine Cam, we reached 80% of our funding goal (see https://www.crowdrise.com/camasperegrinecam/fundraiser/friendsofcamasnation1), which allowed us to purchase the camera, solar panels, and other hardware. We intend to put these items in place on the Peregrine Nesting Tower in late October after the birds are gone for the year. The peregrines fledged three young this year. It is exciting to look forward to next year when anyone with internet access will be able to watch the nesting process in real time.

The basic infrastructure for the Pollinator Garden, a joint effort of Friends of Camas and the Idaho Master Naturalists, is nearly complete. The ADA compliant walkway was installed in early September, and the main elements for the sprinkler system were installed two weeks later. Native trees and shrubs have been ordered, with delivery expected the second week of October. These will be planted a few days after arrival and the drip irrigation system will then be completed. In early November the Hamer Elementary students, through a Pheasants Forever Program, will plant 1.3 acres around the pollinator with a mixture of forbs and grasses. It will be fun to watch the garden mature. Friends’ Third Annual Birds, Bugles, and Brunch was again a success. Attendees left with full bellies, new bird houses, an appreciation Camas NWR and an understanding of Friends mission to foster environmental education, conservation, and scientific study for the benefit of the resources and the enjoyment of the public at the refuge.

As the days cool, bird migration and big game activity at the refuge is heating up. Now is a great time to visit your local National Wildlife Refuge.

Tim Reynolds, President

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Timothy D. (Tim) Reynolds, PhD.


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What's New - October 2016

    The whole peregrine family on the nest tower.

    Photo Credit: Errol Mobley

    Peregrine Cam at Camas Update

    The good news: The three Peregrine chicks have fledged! They have been free flying since August.

    More good News: We have purchased the basic Web Cam hardware and will install them on the nest tower later this month.

    Pollinator Garden Update: In September the ADA compliant pathway and the sprinkler system were installed. Click here for photos.

    Refuge News

    September 27, 2016

    Waterfowl migration seems to be starting as we have seen numbers of waterfowl on the Refuge just starting to increase. The annual Sandhill Crane survey was conducted and 179 cranes were seen on the Refuge on September 12th . It would appear these numbers have increased slightly in the past week.

    Refuge habitat is still fairly dry and the summer did not treat us with much for rainfall. Big Pond, Redhead and Sandhole Lakes are the only ponds that still have water in them. We have started to shut down wells and will continue to do so over the next couple of weeks.

    Elk in the area are still active with breeding season. At this time most of the bugling has been happening late into the evening and we are not hearing much during the day.

    Next month the Refuge will be helping the Friends of Camas NWR (FoC) to install a camera on the peregrine nesting tower. A live feed will come from the camera, via the FoC website. Congratulations to the FoC for raising enough funds to make this possible. We look forward to next spring so we can view the nesting peregrine falcons.

    We also have some construction going on around the headquarters building this fall. The FoC has secured various grants and we are in the process constructing a pollinator garden. An addition to the walkway was added and a sprinkler system was installed to keep the garden green. Currently we still have the goal of planting some trees that are all native to Idaho yet this fall. Look for the garden to really come together next year.

    Photo by Patty Pickett




    Friends of Camas NWR Inc. 
    2150 E 2350 N
    Hamer, ID 83425