Tuesday, December 12 ,2017 6:45 Social; 7:30 Program Padilla Bay Interpretive Center 10441 Bayview-Edison Road Mt. Vernon, Washington
Please bring potluck food to share. After the meal we will view favorite nature photos ~ a collective view of how Skagit Audubon Society members see nature both here and abroad.
If you haven’t done so already, email no more than 8 photos in .jpeg format to firstname.lastname@example.org. Videos can be no longer than 1 min. and in .mov, .mp4 or .avi format. Include name of photographer, description of subject, and location. Topics include Wild Nature, Flowers, Birds and other Animals, Landscapes, Trips, Backyard Habitat and Hikes. Photos must be at least 3 megabytes with sufficient resolution to project well.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE ~ DEC. 1, 2017
This show is open to EVERYBODY and is not a contest, but rather a show where we look forward to an evening of sharing. Thanks to everyone participating!
Conservation Report, December 2017
By Tim Manns
Millennium Bulk Terminals – Longview: Last month the Cowlitz County Hearing Examiner denied Shoreline permits which the proposed terminal needs to proceed. This decision could be appealed (as the earlier water quality certification denial by the Department of Ecology), but it’s another blow to this last of 6 coal export terminals proposed for the Northwest.
Washington, DC Lobbyist Robert K. Weidner: By the time you see this report, there may have been news articles about Skagit County’s long-time relationship with Washington, D.C. lobbyist Robert K. Weidner. See my report in the October Flyer. The focus of Mr. Weidner’s advocacy is somewhat mixed, but much of it is on rolling back environmental laws, increasing resource extraction on national public lands, and furthering the cause of “county supremacy.” For more information, contact me (email@example.com). Mr. Weidner’s contract is probably up for renewal at year’s end. Our County Commissioners need to hear from us.
“Clean Products Upgrade Project” at March Point: Fifty-five people spoke at the November 2nd hearing on the Shoreline permit Tesoro needs for at least portions of its “Clean Products Upgrade Project” at March Point. Most speakers expressed concerns: about potential impacts on orcas from increased shipping, effects a xylene spill would have on birds and marine creatures, possible human health and safety problems. The Hearing Examiner’s decision should come in early December.
Long-Term Strategy for Managing Marbled Murrelet Nesting Habitat on State Trust Lands: On November 7th the Washington Board of Natural Resources, which oversees the Department of Natural Resources, chose a preferred alternative for a long-term strategy for managing marbled murrelet nesting habitat on state trust lands. Disappointingly, the board chose the staff-recommended alternative, which, models indicate, does too little to stem the bird’s sharp population decline. Marbled murrelets need large, old-growth trees for nesting, and much of the remaining such habitat close enough to the marine waters where murrelets forage is DNR-managed. Loss of such habitat is the most important reason for this bird’s rapid decline in Washington. It’s listed as “threatened” (with extinction) under the federal Endangered Species Act and “endangered” under the equivalent Washington State law. Next, DNR will write a supplemental environmental impact statement more closely analyzing the preferred alternative, take public comment, and send the final plan to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for approval. You can be sure the timber industry is fighting hard to minimize the acreage set aside for preventing this bird’s extinction in Washington. Skagit County employee Kendra Smith spoke at the November 7th Board of Natural Resources meeting to represent our county as wanting a minimum acreage protected, which shows our County Commissioners’ stance on this issue. A coalition of conservation groups, including Seattle Audubon representing Washington’s 25 Audubon chapters, will continue to push for an alternative that would prevent the murrelet’s demise.
Protecting the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge From Oil Drilling: Last, but very important, let me mention protecting the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil drilling. For years, certain federal legislators have tried to open this vital bird nesting and caribou calving area to drilling for yet more oil (and revenue for Alaska). Next time you see Tundra Swans among the Trumpeters in Skagit fields or a big flock of Northern Pintails, think about their dependence on nesting habitat on that coastal plain. By the time you read this, the U.S. Senate may already have passed a budget bill with a provision tacked on to open the refuge to drilling. What can you do? Read about the issue at the National Audubon website: http://www.audubon.org/conservation/advocacy and take the suggested action. Then please sign up for Audubon action alerts.
Padilla Bay Christmas Bird Count 2017
This year is the 118th for the Christmas Bird Count, sponsored by the National Audubon Society and the nation’s longest-running citizen science project. Each year between December 14 and January 5, volunteers across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Pacific Islands count bird species and individuals within almost 2,500 count areas. Each area is a 15-mile diameter circle. In western Skagit County the count circle centers on March Point by Padilla Bay; hence the name “Padilla Bay Christmas Bird Count” though it includes a much larger area than Padilla Bay. Skagit Audubon Society has organized this count for several decades, each year recruiting up to 20 teams to cover sub-areas of the circle. The National Audubon website has much information about the Christmas Bird Count and how the data gained is used (e.g., predicting climate change’s effects on birds): www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count.
This year’s Padilla Bay Christmas Bird Count is December 30th. For information about participating, contact Tim Manns (firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.336.8753) by December 15.
GOT BINOCULARS? LOVE BIRDS?
Join Ecostudies Institute on Jan. 6, 2018 for their 7th Puget Sound Bird Count! The goal of this annual shorebird survey, which is conducted by citizen scientists, is to better understand shorebird trends and habitat use in Puget Sound. It is also part of a larger flyway-wide survey event. The Institute currently has 23 survey sites in Samish, Padilla, Fidalgo, Skagit, and Port Susan Bays. Please contact Leah Rensel at email@example.com.
LEQUE ISLAND RESTORATION UPDATE:
This popular Stanwood birding area has reopened to the public. The parking area is unchanged and the entire site is accessible by foot. New channels have filled with water and more will fill as the rainy season continues. No pheasants were released on this site this year. The second phase of construction to facilitate removal of the dike is planned for the summer of 2019. For more information email Loren.Brokaw@dfw.wa.gov or visit http://wdfs.wa.gov/lands/wildlife_areas/skagit/leque_island_project.php
If you see a dead, sick, or injured swan, call the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 24-hour hotline: (360) 466-4345, ext. 266. Do not handle the bird. Leave a short, detailed message with your name and phone number plus the location and condition of the swan(s). WDFW collects information to assess the impact of lead poisoning and power line collisions, the main causes of accidental swan deaths.
GARDENING FOR BIRDS
from Libby Mills together with the Xerces Society
Pollinators and birds need you to do less this fall – leave the leaves or rake them around plantings. The insects and spiders underneath will be vital food for small birds. Beneficial insects are protected under that light layer of leaves. Sparrows, siskins, and finches snack on dead flower heads and fruits. A messy and natural yard leaves food and habitat for tiny birds that need all the energy they can find on short cold days. What you leave behind may provide the urgently needed calories that may mean winter survival for the wings that feed our spirit.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE proposes nearly tripling entry fees for 17 popular national parks, including Olympic National Park. 30-day comment period runs until Nov. 23, 2017. To view full proposal and submit comment online, visit https://parkplanning.nps.gov/proposedpeakseasonfeerates or mail to: National Park Service, Recreation Fee Program, 1849 C St. NW Mail Stop 2346, Washington DC 20240. Commentsmust be received on or before Nov. 23, 2017; postmark date is not sufficient.
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.