Officials from Ada County’s Expo Idaho welcomed twelve experienced birds recruited by the Boise River Enhancement Network onto the Les Bois racetrack and infield on February 18, 2020 to count birds. Nearly 300 birds and 25 species were observed in two hours. There is an open waterway that flows year round through the infield and creates a small, but vibrant, pond and riparian oasis. Black cottonwood and other native plant species provide nesting and foraging habitat for the birds, and the large open spaces are Canada Goose paradise.
Ada County Considers Future of Expo Idaho
According to Ada County, “In November 2018 a vote by Idaho residents effectively did away with horseracing at Les Bois Park. This leaves EXPO Idaho property with significant sections that cannot be used for their original purpose. Additionally FEMA floodplain maps have changed since horseracing started at Expo Idaho. This directly affects how pieces of the property can be used as well. The Board of County Commissioners believes the 240 acre property in the heart of the county deserves to be used in a manner that best reflects the desires of Ada County residents.” Ada County Commissioners have selected a diverse Expo Idaho Citizens Advisory Committee to kick off a multi-phase process by collecting information by reviewing plans and getting input from the people they represent. You can get more information about the process here.
Expo Idaho and the Boise River
45 acres of the site are in the Boise River floodway – an area that must remain free of obstruction so high river flows can spread out there. Much of the rest of the site is in the historic floodplain of the Boise River. Land use at Expo Idaho influences the Boise River. The Boise River Enhancement Network will provide this data to Ada County and the members of the Citizen Advisory Committee. Birders will visit the site again in the spring and summer to collect more bird data.
Winter Bird List
Canada Goose, Gadwall, Mallard, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, California Quail, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, American Coot, California Gull, Great Blue Heron, Red-tailed Hawk, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Black-billed Magpie, American Crow, Common Raven, Black-capped Chickadee, European Starling, American Robin, House Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, Song Sparrow and Red-winged Blackbird.
Red-winged blackbird and birders. Photos by Pat McGrane
Ring-necked duck and great blue heron. Photos by Ceredig Roberts