In response to the COVID-19 virus, our member meetings continue to be held via Zoom. Hikes and birding field trips are being organized for vaccinated individuals. Participants need to comply with the activity leader’s guidelines.
May 2022 Meeting - Presented on Zoom
“Forage Fish Research and Management” Presented by: Phillip Dionne, Research Scientist, WDFW Tuesday, May 10, 7:00 PM
Forage fish are critical to the marine food web and support populations of many of the Salish Sea’s most important and iconic species. Learn about the different forage fish in Washington, why they are so important, the research being done, and how we manage them in the face of a rapidly changing ecosystem.
Phillip Dionne is the forage fish research and management lead for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and has been with WDFW since 2011. During this time, he has worked on tagging and telemetry studies of ESA listed green sturgeon, developed spawning biomass estimates for Pacific herring and ESA listed Eulachon Smelt. Phillip has also developed new methods to improve detection of Surf Smelt and Pacific Sand Lance habitat, monitored the effects of shoreline modifications on nearshore habitat, and assisted with surveys of coastal pelagic species. He has also had the privilege to work with and train over 200 hundred volunteers, professional biologists, and AmeriCorps interns in the US and Canada to document forage fish habitat. Photo: Horned Grebe by Christopher Ciccone.
Register for this Zoom event at: https://bit.ly/May2022SAS. Pre-registration is required and limited to 100 attendees. Please only one registrant per household. After you register, you will receive an email with the link to sign in at the time of the event. Questions? Contact email@example.com.
PREVIOUS MONTH’S PROGRAM: If you missed the excellent April 12th Zoom presentation, “Birds of the Olympic Coast” by Chris Williams, you can view the recording at: https://youtu.be/unaeeebFEf8.
Upcoming Board Elections - June 14, 2022
Board elections will be held at our annual meeting on Tuesday, June 14th. The voting process and final slate of candidates will be communicated in a separate email in mid-May. The format of the annual meeting is yet to be determined. The meeting may be held on Zoom only or there is the possibility we will be able to hold a hybrid Zoom/in-person meeting at Padilla Bay. Please save the date and plan to join your fellow chapter members in our annual meeting on June 14th.
President's Message - from Jeff Osmundson, May 2022
By Jeff Osmundson
Greetings friends and members of Skagit Audubon:
Yay – to quote our treasurer, Neil O’Hara, “We have now entered the 21st century!”
Thanks to Neil and a small cadre of dedicated board members, we now have two ways to avoid writing a check when making a payment or donation to Skagit Audubon. On the home page of our website (www.skagitaudubon.org) there is now a DONATE button with access to credit cards and PayPal. Also, on the Membership page you will find a BuyNow button that can be used to pay your annual dues. Neil reminds us that there are a couple of limitations. We can only pay for one year at a time and you may have to agree to renew online. Please be patient with our new process and let us know if it works, or maybe if there is a glitch.
I’m also pleased to share with you that another SAS member has agreed to lead a field trip. Allison Warner has offered to lead a field trip to the upper Skagit later this year. Please thank Allison if you get a chance. Look for field trip details in the coming newsletter. There are more opportunities to help Skagit Audubon with field trips and we can always use more leaders.
I’m going to keep it short this month as I prepare for my first travel in two years. I’m also looking forward to being back for spring migration. We all hope to reconnect again soon at meetings and field trips this upcoming year. Until then…
Thanks, and happy birding and hiking.
Jeff Osmundson, President
From Your Editor - by Mary Sinker
Imagine an entire series of maps designed for birders to find the best birding areas in all parts of Washington State – could something like this exist – yes, it does! Known as the Great Washington State Birding Trail, a project from Washington State Audubon and numerous agencies, communities, and Audubon chapters, seven distinctive routes have been developed covering the entire state.
Produced in full color, maps covering the routes are: Cascade Loop, Coulee Corridor, Olympic Loop, Palouse to Pines Loop, Puget Loop, Southwest Loop, and Sun and Sage Loop. On the front side of each map is a full color map and each birding area has a number showing its location on the route. Turn the map over and you will find the birding areas listed in numerical order.
Detailed information including birds commonly seen, directions, site information, and other tidbits are included for each location. Depending on where you live, some of these sites may be right in your backyard or an easy day trip. Planning a longer trip to string together numerous sites, or even connecting loops together, is another way to use these maps. Numerous rural communities are located along the routes, so if you plan to stay overnight or grab a coffee or a meal from a local business, you are helping to support their economy and to protect the surrounding natural area that birds depend on.
Audubon’s core goal of protecting birds, other wildlife, and their habitat is never finished, but it’s important to pause and note successes. At April’s start, Thurston Superior Court Judge James Dixon affirmed that state parks are not appropriate places for training the Navy’s special forces. The training is vitally important; there are many other places to do it. Audubon’s interest is in protecting the wildlife habitat state parks and adjacent marine waters provide.
Also in April, the company proposing a large quarry at the Cascade Big Bear Mine near Marblemount declined to continue pursuing a mining permit. Changing an earlier decision, the Department of Natural Resources determined an environmental impact statement was needed given the likelihood of significant impacts from this long-term project. The quarry stone, Shuksan greenschist, contains asbestos. Mining it safely requires very rigorous procedures - just one of a litany of problems. This was the second mining attempt Skagit Audubon opposed at this location, both times on the grounds that there would be significant negative impacts to wildlife. The face of the quarry cliff, for example, hosts an active peregrine falcon nest.
Other efforts to protect birds, wildlife, and habitat continue. Skagit County’s draft Shoreline Master Program still ignores effects of climate change on flooding and sea level rise with myriad implications for wildlife, people, and the environment on which both depend. On the bright side, it’s spring, and May’s a terrific time for birding as neotropical migrants return from their wintering grounds and sing to start the breeding season.
Audubon members can advocate for regional and national protection of birds and other wildlife and their habitat through action alerts from National and Washington Audubon. Sign up for Audubon Washington’s Action Network at Join Our Action Network | Audubon Washington (replace my name and address with yours). The National Audubon website (Advocacy & Action | Audubon) describes numerous current conservation campaigns. Sign up there to receive national alerts. Also see the Audubon Washington blog for information about many interesting and important issues: AuduBlog | Audubon Washington
For other issues Skagit Audubon tracked during the past year, some ongoing, see earlier issues of Conservation Notes on the chapter’s website: Skagit Audubon Society - Home under the Conservation tab at the top of the page.
Global BIG Day
Be a part of birding’s biggest team! Global Big Day is an annual celebration of the birds around you. No matter where you are, join us virtually on May 14, help celebrate World Migratory Bird Day, and share the birds you find with eBird. Participating is easy— you can even be part of Global Big Day from home. If you can spare 5 or 10 minutes, report your bird observations to eBird online or with our free eBird Mobile app.
If you have more time, submit several checklists of birds throughout the day. You never know what you might spot. Your observations help us better understand global bird populations through products like these animated abundance maps brought to you by eBird Science.
The Education Committee needs volunteers to help with a number of adult presentations coming up in the next several months. These Power Point presentations are scheduled at libraries and private organizations/clubs in the area. If you can help give part of a presentation (already written), that would be great; or, you can assist with the computer and help answer questions from the audience. If you can lend a hand, please contact Sheila at firstname.lastname@example.org
Skagit Audubon Society holds monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of each month except for the months of July and August. We meet at 7:00 pm at Padilla Bay Interpretive Center (Google map), 10441 Bayview-Edison Rd. Mount Vernon. Meetings are open to all.
The board of directors meets at the same location at 7:00 pm on the first Tuesday of each month, except for the months of July and August.