October 26 (Thursday), 7pm – Yakima Area Arboretum Office, 1401 Arboretum Dr., Yakima, WA
We are lucky this month to have Dave Fast as our speaker. Dave has a PhD in Fisheries from the University of Washington and is the senior research scientist for the Yakama Nation. Dave will be able to give us an overview on salmon and habitat recovery programs in our area.
Adult sockeye transported from Priest Rapids Dam in July are spawning above Lake Cle Elum. Sockeye change from ocean rearing colors of blue back to a bright green head and red body when they are spawning. The vibrant color of the sockeye and large number have biologists enthusiastic to share the success of the innovative program. The Yakama Nation is in its fourth year of reintroduction work that includes trans- porting sockeye into the lake, monitoring populations, spawn- ing surveys, and developing strategies to maintain the Yakima Basin stock. The number that spawns has increased each year as the tribe negotiated an agreement to take up to three percent of overall run size.
Yakama tribal elders describe the value of sockeye to the people as a winter sustenance food to carry people until new spring food arrives. Sockeye also had a high trade value. Tribal members prize the sockeye for its rich flavor. “We hope to one day have a sockeye season in the Yakima Basin,” said Virgil Lewis of the Yakama Nation Tribal Council.
Come join us at 7:00 pm at the Arboretum on October 26. All are welcome.
November 12 (Sunday)
Scott Downes and Eric Heisey. Vantage and the Columbia River are the focus of this trip. We’ll travel through the Yakima Canyon and Vantage Highway on route to Vantage and keep an eye out for raptors. Late fall can be impressive at Vantage for waterfowl numbers in the hundreds to thousands and often unusual diving ducks or loons are seen at this time of year including scoters, possibly long-tailed duck and Pacific loon plus sometimes a good collection of gulls. The parks along the river also usually host a nice variety of wintering passerines. Field trip will leave Yakima at 7:00 am. Expect a return to Yakima around 5:00 pm. Bring lunch, water and dress for varied weather conditions. We could get nice weather near 60 degrees or it could be near freezing at Vantage. A spotting scope is helpful, but not required to attend. We’ll be carpooling, we’ll stop at several places that need a Discover Pass so drivers should plan on having one. Contact leader Scott Downes for meeting location — downess <at> charter.net.
Christmas Bird Counts
Toppenish NWR — Dec. 16 Eric Heisey (magicman32 <at> rocketmail.com)
Yakima Valley — Dec. 30 Denny Granstrand (dgranstrand <at> gmail.com)
With the Christmas Bird Count season looming on the horizon, it is time to mark your calendar for the 2017 Toppenish NWR and Yakima Valley CBCs. A CBC is a day of great fun to spend with friends, old or new, and enjoy the splendor of a winter’s day birding in our beautiful, if sometimes cold and snowy, county.
The Toppenish NWR Christmas Bird Count, now in its 36th year, is set for Saturday December 16th. Meet at 7:00 a.m. at the Branding Iron Restaurant in Toppenish (junction of US-97 & SR-22). You will be assigned to a team to cover a specific portion of a 15-mile diameter circle in the Lower Valley. If you’re interested, or would just like more information, please e-mail Eric Heisey at magicman32 <at> rocketmail.com.
Birders used to meet on cold mornings at Sportsman’s State Park for the start of the Yakima Valley Christmas Bird Count for many years. We finally smartened up. We now meet for breakfast at the Old Town Station Restaurant at the northwest corner of S. 1st St. and Valley Mall Blvd. on Dec. 30 at 7:00 am and then separate into birding teams for a wonderful day of birding. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count nationwide (and beyond) is the longest running citizen science wildlife survey in the history of the world. And we can all say that we were there and contributed. And we need your help, too. No experience is necessary. Everyone can make a contribution! (Basic birding knowledge, binoculars and warm clothes will help.)