By Jeff Osmundson
I think it is fair to say that winter weather and winter birding have arrived. Snow geese and swans are back in the valley and the snow level has been up and down making the rivers do the same thing. The thousands of ducks in the valley bring out the hunters as well. As members and friends of Skagit Audubon I would encourage you to share the fields and trails with our friends in the hunting community. Many are conservation minded and they all have to buy a duck stamp. I would encourage our members to consider buying a duck stamp as well. Ninety-eight cents of every $1 goes directly to buying habitat for ducks and other birds and the art is generally very high quality. We have lots of options for our winter birding and hopefully we can coexist with our local hunters until the end of January when waterfowl hunting ends.
We also should be mindful of the historic flooding in Skagit and Whatcom Counties recently. Jenny Baker with WDFW said that they had to add some material to an overtopped dike at the Wylie Boat Launch but were otherwise in pretty good shape. The Island Unit east of there had major dike damage and was generally flooded. That area has been slated for restoration within the next few years. The Samish area has had few reports but there seems to be little long term damage there. If you know someone who has been impacted please do what you can to lighten their load.
Lastly, I’d like to make a pitch for more field trips. Libby Mills has been our long-time field trip chair and this year she has enlisted Colleen Shannon as a helper. This dynamic duo will soon meet with the rest of the committee to plan future trips within Skagit County and beyond. We could use your help. If you could consider leading a field trip – even just one – please let any board member know. It’s not hard and you don’t have to be the best birder in the group. If you know where the bathrooms are and how to get back to the cars, you will have covered about 90% of what you need. Maybe you could try a field trip in your favorite birding patch that you know very well. We can keep the secret.
You are also invited to join the field trip committee. Many hands make light work, and we could certainly use fresh energy and ideas. We hope to see you with your binoculars out in the field very soon. Until then…..
Thanks, and happy birding. Be safe, wear your mask, get vaccinated.
Jeff Osmundson, President