Events & Field Trips
Chapter Meeting: Polar Regions and Climate – Some Important Linkages
January 23 (Thursday), 7pm - Yakima Area Arboretum Office, 1401 Arboretum Dr., Yakima, WA
We start off the new YVAS general program year with a presentation by Dr. Miles McPhee, a native of Naches, WA. Dr. McPhee has spent his career studying water in its various forms and its relation to Earth’s climate. Following is Dr. McPhee’s description on his background and what he will talk about:
I grew up on an orchard near Naches, attended Naches HS, obtained a BS degree in engineering from Stanford, then a Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Washington. My first Arctic project as a grad student in 1972 became the material for my thesis. I was so hooked by the polar environment and attracted by the novel science that could be done there, that I spent the next four decades doing polar air-ice-ocean research. That included participating in roughly two dozen field projects on drifting sea ice in both hemispheres.
For the talk, I will describe some of the changes we have observed over that time, and how one particular experience drove home to me the immediacy and threat of climate change. I will also discuss how the Arctic warming faster than the rest of the planet may be affecting our weather directly, including some locally important manifestations of global warming.
Finally, I will offer some opinions on steps we could take to slow the rise of atmospheric CO2, in hopes of fostering discussion.
Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Garden: A Class at the Yakima Area Arboretum - Presented by Jeff Kozma
Hummingbirds are truly incredible birds! They amaze us with their boldly colored iridescent plumage, their wild aerial acrobatics, their overly aggressive personalities, and their miraculous migrations. Please join Yakama Nation wildlife biologist and expert birder Jeff Kozma for a class focusing on how to identify and attract the four species of hummingbirds regularly found in Washington to your garden. Jeff has been growing nectar producing plants and providing feeders in his yard to attract hummingbirds for the last 17 years and he looks forward to sharing his techniques with you.
During the class, Jeff will cover 1) a brief overview of hummingbird biology (e.g., habitat, migration, territoriality, etc.), 2) where and when to expect each hummingbird species, 3) how to landscape your yard with the types of plants that are most attractive to hummingbirds, while focusing on native plants that grow best in our warm dry climate, 4) the proper use of feeders (e.g., making sugar water, maintenance/cleaning/location of feeders, etc.), and 5) how to feed hummingbirds through the challenging winter months.
- Saturday, March 7th, 10 am - 12 noon at the Yakima Area Arboretum
- Cost $ 20 (Arboretum and Audubon members) or $ 25 (non-members)
- Register after February 1 with the Yakima Area Arboretum ( 509-248-7337 or www.ahtrees.org )
- For more information, call the Yakima Area Arboretum, or Ellen Stepniewski (509-731-6805).
Feb 8 Second Saturday Bird Walk
Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the Sarg Hubbard Park parking lot. Bird the Greenway and Arboretum trails for approximately two hours. Leader: Renee Navarrete
Feb. 14-17 (Fri-Sun) Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC)
Feb. 14-17 Skagit Trip - Presidents’ Day Weekend
- When: February 14-17. Depart Yakima about 7:30 am Friday, with birding beginning about noon on the Skagit Flats. Those arriving later, plan on meeting 7:30 am Saturday morning, after breakfast, at Mount Vernon’s Best Western College Way Inn lobby. Breakfast starts at 6 am.
- Where: Yakima Valley Audubon heads over to the northwest Washington’s Skagit and Samish Flats, the state’s premier winter birding area. This is a repeat of the several trips we’ve had in the past.
- Who: Leaders: Andy and Ellen Stepniewski
- Logistics: Later, plan on sharing gas expenses if you are riding with someone
- Lodging: You should have reservations at the Best Western College Way Inn for three nights in Mount Vernon February 15 -17th (1-360-424-4287). They have a 24-hour cancellation policy. In the event of dire weather (in my estimation perhaps a 10 % probability of really foul weather at this time of year) we will cancel the trip ahead of time. Go west from I-5 at Exit 227 a few hundred yards. We will begin the return trip by about Noon Monday depending, arriving in Yakima about 6-7 PM (weather can alter this plan).
- Culinary Notes: Full hot breakfast at the Best Western Sat-Monday mornings. Please pack your own snacks and lunches with drinks for two of the days. We might have at least one lunch out at a Subway or other local establishment. Dinner Saturday and Sunday at a restaurant in Mt. Vernon. We’ll do a recap of the day and make plans for the following day.
- Weather: Bring a rain parka and layers for temps between 30-50 degrees. Gloves are very useful and handerkerchiefs for drying lenses. We will try to stay on dry trails but this will not always be possible. It is indeed the wet season on the “Wetside.” Consider bringing waterproof boots to keep your feet dry.
- Birding: Bring binoculars and a scope if you have one. We will search the Skagit Flats for spectacular concentrations of waterfowl for Trumpeter (by the hundreds) and Tundra Swans, Snow Geese (by the many thousands), and many other species of waterfowl. Raptors abound and we’ll especially be on the alert for a Gyrfalcon. We’ll also try to coax into view a variety of sparrows, “little brown jobs,” that hide in the thickets. We won’t neglect forest birds. Nearby are the Samish Flats. There is no better place to observe wintering birds of prey in Washington than this area of wet farm fields. Bald Eagles are everywhere, as are Northern Harriers and Red-tailed Hawks. Lesser numbers of Rough-legged Hawks, Merlins, and Peregrines, and an Accipiter or two can be expected. Short-eared Owls should be seen hunting the weedy fields. We will also visit the edge of the San Juan Islands ecosystem at Deception Pass State Park for species associated with deeper waters such as loons, grebes, murres, and murrelets, and those of the rocky shores such as Harlequin Duck and Black Oystercatcher. We’re planning on a great trip!
- Questions: Please holler. Andy Stepniewski, 509-949-7404; Ellen Stepniewski, 509-731-6805; firstname.lastname@example.org