Due to the continuing emergency response to the COVID-19 virus, our in-person member meetings, field trips and hikes and most other activities have been cancelled until further notice. This includes the offer of personal field trips for future donations to Skagit Audubon Society of $100 or more. We will update this notice and resume activities when the government health authorities say that it is safe to do so.
APRIL MEETING – PRESENTED ON ZOOM
“A Dead Tree’s Wonderful Adventure” Presented by Ken Bevis Tuesday, April 13, 7:00 PM
Ever wonder what happens when a tree dies in the forest? Lots. This presentation offers an overview of the dynamic of dead trees in the forest; their transition from standing snag, to down log, to soil, and all of the organisms that respond to, and indeed are tied to, this dynamic set of processes. Particular attention is paid to the Primary Cavity Excavators, or woodpeckers, birds who act as keystone species and make cavities in standing dead trees, or snags, providing habitat for themselves and many other species. Management techniques to maintain and create dead wood structures on the landscape are described, and we hope that at the end of this talk, if you weren’t a believer in the many values to dead wood in the ecosystem, you will be. Ken might even throw in a song!
Ken is the Stewardship Biologist for the Washington Department of Natural Resource's Small Forest Landowner office. Ken is originally from Virginia and has lived in Washington since 1986. He has worked for the U. S. Forest Service, Yakama Indian Nation, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (15 years) and now, DNR. He has a Master of Biology from Central Washington University, where he studied woodpeckers and dead trees and holds a BS in Forestry and Wildlife from Virginia Tech. He was a spotted owl biologist for the Yakama Indian Nation for 5 years after graduate school, then moving to the WDFW, working in forest harvest review and grant writing for a decade. A five-year stint in salmon recovery project development followed in the upper Columbia. He now works as an advisor and teacher for small forest landowners across the state, providing habitat consultations on small private forest lands. He frequently gives workshops and programs for Washington State University Extension and various other groups. He is a singer/songwriter, is still fascinated with dead trees and works to find humor in everything.
Please register for this Zoom event at: http://bit.ly/sasapril. Preregistration is required and is 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? Please contact email@example.com.
If you missed the excellent March 9th presentation about Leque Island by Loren Brokaw, or want to watch it again, a recording is now available for viewing at the following link: https://youtu.be/OO-suaZ4KTM.
Conservation Report - April 2021
By Tim Manns
For many Audubon members, birding sparked or deepened an interest in conservation. It makes sense that caring about birds leads to support for protecting the habitat and environmental quality they need, benefitting people too. When development or resource extraction changes places we enjoyed watching birds the message is clear: habitat doesn’t protect itself. Simply valuing a place doesn’t protect it. The latest case in point, and a present opportunity, lies on the flats at the edge of Samish Island. Fifty acres with shoreline on both Alice and Padilla Bays, seasonal ponds, and what’s left of the slough making Samish technically an island, is for sale. Will this piece of Samish Flats end up with Skagit Land Trust and open to the public or become a waterfowl hunting club reserved for members only?
Twenty-nine years ago, three Skagit Audubon members, including Keith Wiggers who many of you know, founded Skagit Land Trust when our chapter was offered a gift of land. Three decades later, our local land trust is a leader in protecting and restoring habitat in Skagit County, with 3,000 acres directly owned and managed and over 5,000 more protected by conservation easements or through transfer to public land-managing agencies. Skagit Land Trust combines government grants with private donations to protect areas important to salmon, birds, and other species as well as places special to the human Skagit community. All too frequently we take for granted that the places important to us will remain the same. We regularly see the results of this mistake here where population is growing rapidly. Unless a place we care about is protected by legal provisions to keep it in conservation, it is liable to change to the detriment of birds and other wildlife and of our interest in protecting and observing those creatures.
Skagit Audubon’s mission calls for protecting and restoring the habitat birds and other wildlife require. On our own, we would be hard put to accomplish this, but fortunately partners who specialize in just this are at hand. One of these is Skagit Land Trust.
Which brings us to Samish Shorelines. Full disclosure – I serve on the Skagit Land Trust board, but I mention this current land protection project because my birding experience tells me that Samish Flats is a place we need to act to protect and restore whenever we can, or crucial habitat will inevitably be lost. The fifty acres for sale are just down the road from the West-90 towards Samish Island. The Land Trust needs to act quickly to acquire the property, and at this writing the prospect is good. A grant from the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation program has been approved. The fate of a grant from Washington’s Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program won’t be known until the state’s capital budget is passed in April. Even with both grants, there will be considerable additional expense to remove extensive trash and restore the property. The sooner this happens, the sooner the area can for the first time be open for birding and other low impact activities. You probably have birded on land owned or otherwise protected by Skagit Land Trust without your knowing it. Consider helping protect the places you appreciate as a birder and thereby fulfill our chapter’s mission. Some ways to help:
2) Write your state legislators and encourage them to approve adequate funding in the Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, part of the state’s capital budget. Funding this program and those which add to state parks and restore habitat is a top priority for Audubon Washington in this legislative session.
For information on issues Skagit Audubon is tracking and how you can learn about the progress of state legislation and contacting your representatives during the current session (ends April 25th), go to “Conservation” on the Skagit Audubon website (www.skagitaudubon.org) and click on “Conservation Notes”. Also see conservation reports in recent issues of the Skagit Flyer.
FROM YOUR EDITOR - April 21, by Mary Sinker
I was recently, and rather loudly, reminded that spring has arrived. One of our resident, Red-breasted Sapsuckers was drumming on the metal exterior fireplace vent. This reverberates through the house like a jackhammer! I don’t mind. Having this handsome fellow feel safe and secure around the house brings a big smile to my face, even if my face is still buried in my pillow before 7 AM on a weekend morning!
Red-breasted Sapsuckers use a wide variety of habitats, including orchards, coniferous forests, mixed woods, and riparian areas. These resourceful woodpeckers diligently maintain their sap wells – a series of small, neatly drilled, and evenly spaced holes around tree trunks. They not only drink the sap that collects here but return to eat insects that are drawn to the sap. We have a lot of snags and dead tree limbs on our property, so I’m confident he and his mate – once he finds one – will select a good home for the nesting season.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.