In response to the COVID-19 virus, some of our general meetings are being held at the Padilla Bay Interpretive Center with an option to attend via Zoom, while others will be available on Zoom only. Please check the monthly program description for meeting details. As with our hikes and field trips, only vaccinated, symptom-free individuals should attend meetings in person.
February Program-Presented on Zoom (no in-person attendance)
“Birds of the Sonoran Desert”
Presented by: Chris Williams, Saguaro National Park
Tuesday, February 14th at 7:00 pm
Every year birders from all over the world flock to the Sonoran Desert to experience some of the best birding in the U.S. With its diversity in habitats and proximity to Mexico, this region receives birds not found in other parts of the country. From roadrunners, trogons, to woodpeckers that specialize in making homes in cacti, the Sonoran Desert is extremely diverse in birds. Join Chris Williams as he explores the diversity of birds in the Sonoran Desert!
Chris Williams is an Education Ranger at Saguaro National Park. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and has worked at North Cascades National Park and Olympic National Park. His favorite hobbies include birding, kayaking, and backpacking and his favorite trail snack is banana chips.
This month’s meeting will be a virtual (remote) meeting on Zoom ONLY. To attend the Zoom event, please register at: https://bit.ly/SASFeb1423. Preregistration is required and please only one Zoom 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The link to the January 10th Presentation “A Bird’s Eye View: Skagit Land Trust & the March Point Heronry” is available at: https://youtu.be/ct7-1vUB8BE
February 2023 President's Message
by John Day
Dear Members and Friends of Skagit Audubon Society,
First, a belated Happy 2023 to everyone! The last three years have been particularly challenging for many of us and I hope this one offers more positive changes.
A couple of weeks ago, on a tip from some friends, my wife Martha and I visited Coal Creek east of Sedro Woolley to see salmon spawning. As we parked by the side of Minkler Road just west of the bridge, two county dump trucks were pulling out after being filled by a front-end loader from a huge pile of sandy, dark sediment that must have been excavated from the creek bed after the November 2021 flood event.
The creek channel downstream from the bridge looked like a construction zone because of the recent excavation, but despite this dozens of coho were splashing in the shallow riffles, with females turning on their sides to scoop out redds in the gravel with their tales and males vying with each other to fertilize the eggs as they were being laid. Fish carcasses in various states of decay lay at the edge of the water.
In the last days of 2022, exceptionally high, or “king”, tides coincided with very low barometric pressure to flood parts of La Conner and overtop a dike, flooding a county road and making Samish Island truly an island again. This has happened before and will happen again and again as climate change furthers sea level rise. Skagit County suddenly decided last year to end its practice of six or more decades and no longer help maintain dikes protecting county roads including the sole road to Samish Island. Also last year, the county forwarded its draft update of the Shoreline Master Program (SMP) for Department of Ecology (DOE) review without addressing the effects of climate change. During last year’s hearings on the SMP, the County Commissioners reacted to concerted public input on this failing by at least implying that Planning & Development Services would apply for a DOE grant to fund amending the new SMP to address sea level rise sooner than the plan’s mandated eight-year update. Whether Planning applied or not we don’t know, but Skagit County is not receiving this grant. DOE will be announcing a public comment period on the draft shoreline plan and will hold a public meeting. Both Audubon Washington (the state office) and Skagit Audubon will continue to work with local partner organizations to ensure that the county’s shoreline planning and regulations stop ignoring the effects of climate change (see Puget Sound Series: A Winning Formula for Coastal Resilience | Audubon Washington).
Among the bills Audubon Washington is supporting during the current state legislative session are Senate Bill 5203 and its companion bill in the House, HB 1181. These bills would require counties and municipalities to address climate change in the comprehensive plans required under the Growth Management Act. They would also require addressing sea level rise in the Shoreline Master Programs mandated by the Shoreline Management Act. A similar bill came close to passing last year and may just make it this time. Other counties have proactively planned for climate change. Skagit County’s ability to duck this responsibility may finally be ending.
The attached list shows the results of Skagit Audubon Society’s 2022 Padilla Bay Christmas Bird Count. Thank you very much to all 72 participants and to Libby Mills, who led a field trip on count day for four beginning birders. Photo credit: Hooded Merganser by Diana Hoffman
All swans that are dead, sick, or injured need to be reported to the WDFW hotline by calling (360) 466-4345, ext. 266. Swans should be taken to the Whatcom Humane Society Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Their phone number is (360) 966-8845. Please let them know if you need assistance with transporting a swan.
SICK OR INJURED BIRDS
Contact one of these organizations if you are sure the bird requires rescuing:
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 Committee Chair Jeff Osmundson at email@example.com.
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.