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.
June 2022 Meeting - presented on Zoom
“Moths – Super Interesting Bird Food!”
Presented by: David Droppers
Tuesday, June 14, 7:00 PM
Watch the meeting on a Zoom recording. Watch HERE.
By providing a landscape for moths, namely their caterpillars, you're setting the dinner plate for birds and their young. But the main course is intriguing in its own right! This presentation is for the beginning moth-er! What makes moths worthy of study? How many moths are there? How do moths do battle with their feathered predators? And how do I provide a landscape to stage such a show? We will introduce you to the world of moths and show you why they should matter to birders.
David Droppers has been teaching courses on topics from birds to butterflies to trees to microorganisms for college biology courses and non-profit environmental groups. He has put his expertise to work for the National Park Service, US Forest Service, University of Washington, and Woodland Park Zoo, among others. He loves sharing his passion for the natural world with others. His enthusiasm is said to be contagious!
Please register for this Zoom event at: https://bit.ly/JUNE2022SAS. 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: Please note the excellent May 10th Zoom presentation “Forage Fish Research and Management” by Phillip Dionne, Research Scientist, WDFW, was not recorded per the presenter’s request. But, we have a PDF of the presentation. View HERE.
President's Message - June 2022
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – Greetings friends and members of Skagit Audubon:
Well, here it is, my last President’s message. When I first agreed to do this job, three years ago already, I was pretty nervous about it. I’m not the best birder in the club, I didn’t know very many members and I didn’t know much about doing the job. Some board members said not to worry; they had done it before and would be willing to help. And thank goodness they did.
Your Board of Directors over the last three years has been outstanding. We have accomplished a lot under challenging circumstances and are a better Chapter for it. John Farnsworth reported at the last member meeting that many of the smaller chapters, similar to ours, have pulled back while we have continued to have presentations, membership gains and generous contributions from people like you. We have given out quite a few scholarships to deserving students and continued on with our education programs. Joan Melcher’s hiking groups continue to draw a lot of hikers every month. And let’s not forget about the wonderful programs that Carla Helm has set up, with good suggestions from other board members helping out. I could go on…
The bottom line is that it has been my absolute privilege to sit in the President’s chair and watch it all unfold. We don’t always agree, but we do move forward for the benefit of our membership, the community, and the resources that we cherish. I would like to thank each and every one of you for your help and support during this time. I have learned a lot in the process.
Now it is time to offer the same support to John Day and John Farnsworth, our incoming President and Vice President. Some Board members have slipped away for now and we would like to thank Alice Turner, Di Hoffman, Kim Nelson, and Sheila Pera for their service. If we are lucky they will stay involved in some of our committee work. And thank you, the membership, for your continued support for your Board of Directors.
Thanks, and happy birding and hiking.
From Your Editor - June 2022
by Mary Sinker
Here we are at the end of another cycle of Flyers and time really seems to fly by. Jeff and I recently returned from a trip over to Olympic National Park and there is something serenely beautiful in seeing a breeding pair of Common Mergansers fly up the Sol Duc River, probably looking for a spot to raise a family. American Dippers were feeding above Sol Duc Falls and along the Salmon Cascades sections of the river. Over on the northern coast, the first lines of Brown Pelicans were spotted flying in formation not far off the beach. Although winter’s grip remains firm at Hurricane Ridge with still over six feet of snow on the ground, at the lower elevations a pair of Great-horned Owls were hooting, and Gray Jays were spotted in picnic areas. We also saw a black bear feeding on fresh vegetation alongside the road into Sol Duc and on the ferry from Port Townsend to Coupeville some porpoises were spotted. We are fortunate to live in such a diverse region where there is something for everyone – hiking, camping, bird watching, wildlife photography – and the list goes on.
Have a wonderful summer and see you in September!
Conservation Report - June 2022
by Tim Manns
Like certain other birds, ospreys take readily to nesting opportunities people provide deliberately or inadvertently. A half century ago a pair of 100-foot towers were built along the Anacortes waterfront to illuminate nighttime construction of modular housing. These units were shipped to Alaska to accommodate workers building the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline System. For many subsequent years, ospreys nested atop these towers and became a familiar sight to observant Anacortians. Decades later, development plans called for removing the towers. The demolition permit which the city issued to site owner MJB Properties in 2020 required erecting a replacement nest platform without specifying when or where. Last fall the towers came down and concern grew that the replacement nest site would not be erected before the ospreys returned this spring. Maybe it was MJB’s plan all along or maybe it was the result of many Anacortians contacting the city government and the developer, but suddenly there was a platform atop a pole in the northeast corner of the MJB property with an osprey pair in residence. Go to the Thrive Fitness parking lot for a good view of the nest. Thank you to all who helped achieve this outcome just in time for the ospreys’ return. They could be the same pair that looked out over Anacortes from the tall towers.
Less happily, so-called Fully Contained Communities (FCC) have once again appeared among the proposed amendments to Skagit County’s Comprehensive Plan (CP). The Growth Management Act requires a yearly call for proposed amendments to county and city CPs. Since 2015, Bellingham-based developer Skagit Partners has repeatedly submitted proposals to change our county’s CP to allow these multi-thousand home developments on rural land outside the county’s incorporated towns and their adjacent, designated Urban Growth Areas. The impacts to habitat and to agricultural and forested resource lands would drastically change Skagit County forever and devastate the bird diversity and numbers Audubon members so value.
Last year when the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) hinted support for an end run by Skagit Partners around the long-standing agreement among county, cities, and towns on how major development decisions are made, an unprecedented coalition formed among farming interests and conservation groups, including Skagit Audubon (Right Growth, Right Place (rightgrowthrightplace.org)). The upshot was a January 2022 BOCC resolution to abide by that 2002 agreement and defer further consideration of FCCs until the Growth Management Act Steering Committee (GMASC) deliberated the issue. The GMASC consists of the county commissioners and the mayors with the mayors’ votes population weighted. At present, enough mayors oppose FCCs to protect Skagit County from this threat.
Skagit Partners is persistent. They yet again submitted an FCC-related proposed amendment (LR22-02) for the 2022 Comprehensive Plan docket, and Planning & Development Services is recommending the BOCC “defer” this proposal rather than simply excluding it (2022 Comprehensive Plan Amendments (skagitcounty.net)). Skagit Audubon sees no reason to defer this renewed proposal and remains strongly opposed to ever allowing FCCs in Skagit County. The deadline for comments to the BOCC was May 26th, but it wouldn’t hurt to let the county commissioners hear about opposition to FCCs whenever you are so inclined: email: firstname.lastname@example.org. As long as Skagit County has undeveloped land, this issue will be with us. The commissioners will announce their decision on what proposed amendments to docket (i.e., to further consider) on June 14th.
For more background on FCCs and other issues Skagit Audubon tracked during the past year, see the Conservation Notes on the chapter’s website: Skagit Audubon Society - Home under the Conservation tab at the top of the page.
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.
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 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.